PSCI 308
In Search of the American State Fall 2017
Division II Writing Skills
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Ronald Reagan’s pronouncement in 1981 that “government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem” has defined American politics for more than three decades. Skepticism of government has deep roots and strong resonance throughout American political history, yet in many ways the American state has grown steadily larger and stronger. This course explores this conundrum by examining the American state, and its growth, in various arenas. We will assess traditional theories about the weak American state in light of arguments about the state as: regulator of family and “private” life, adjudicator of relations between racial and ethnic groups, manager of economic inequalities, insurer of security, and arbiter of the acceptable uses of violence and surveillance.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 14
Expected: 14
Class#: 1642
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: several short papers on class readings and a longer, 15- to 20-page paper with oral presentation
Prerequisites: at least one class in American politics
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Attributes: POEC U.S. Political Economy + Public Policy Course
PSCI American Politics Courses
PSCI Research Courses

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