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PSCI 201
Power, Politics, and Democracy in America Spring 2021 (also offered Fall 2020)
Division II

Class Details

This course will introduce you to the study of the American political system. We will examine how the components of the system — political institutions (Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court), organized interests, ordinary citizens, and the media — operate together to produce the outcomes we read about in the news. A central question we will return to throughout the course is: to what extent can the United States be considered a democratic society? We will examine what leading scholars and practitioners of American politics have said about this fundamental question. Along the way, we will consider other important questions, such as: why did the framers design the Constitution as they did, and how do their choices influence politics today? Why do the actors in the political system — the president, members of Congress, judges, and interest groups — behave as they do? Do the people have coherent political views? To what extent do decision-makers listen to the views of the public? Where do people get their political ideas from? And what factors influence election outcomes?
The Class: Format: lecture; For spring 2021, this course will be taught remotely, with twice-weekly synchronous Zoom sessions as a class.
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 5409
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three 5-7 page essays, a final essay or exam, and participation in class and on GLOW
Prerequisites: this is an introductory course, open to first-year students and sophomores; juniors and seniors may enroll only with the permission of instructor and under special circumstances
Enrollment Preferences: first-years and sophomores
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: POEC Required Courses
PSCI American Politics Courses

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