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PSCI 413
Senior Seminar in American Politics: Polarized America Fall 2020
Division II

Class Details

With red states and blue states, partisan divisions in Congress, and even disputes about wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus, few question the fact of a polarized America. But what is the polarization about and what caused it? Is it manufactured by a political elite using the rules of the game to maintain power while ignoring the concerns of the people? Is it a capitalist strategy to divide the public in order to advance the interests of the wealthy corporate elite? Does it reflect a polity divided by racial and ethnic tensions with different visions of the nation’s past and future? Does it reflect increased inequality in a fast-changing global economy? How can a government of separated institutions operate and come to collective decisions given this discord? Can the framers’ vision of deliberative, representative government meet the challenges of a polarized polity?
The Class: Format: seminar; For fall of 2020, this course will be remote, with twice weekly online discussions. Students will submit discussion questions through Glow and those will be used to set the agenda for our conversations. Each student will be responsible for planning and leading one class meeting.
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 2608
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, weekly writing assignments, two short papers, final project
Prerequisites: At least one course in American politics
Enrollment Preferences: Seniors majoring in political science with concentration in American politics
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: PSCI American Politics Courses

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