PSCI 414
Senior Seminar: Leadership and the Anxieties of Democracy Spring 2024
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed LEAD 425
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

This course, the senior capstone for both Leadership Studies and the American Politics subfield in Political Science, examines the challenges and opportunities facing political leaders in contemporary liberal democracies. We will begin by surveying institutional constraints confronting contemporary political leaders: globalization, sclerotic institutions, polarization, endemic racism, and a changing media environment, among others. Then, we will look at some important factors that shape how followers approach would-be leaders: inequality and economic precarity; identity and group consciousness; notions of membership, community, and hierarchy; and declining local institutions. While the course will focus primarily on the United States, our conceptual framework will be global; though our main interest will be contemporary, we will also examine previous eras in which democratic leadership has come under great pressure. Our primary questions will be these: Why does transformative leadership seem so difficult today? How does political leadership in the 21st century differ from leadership in earlier eras? What conditions are necessary to sustain effective leadership in the contemporary world? As a final assignment, students will craft an 18-20-page research paper on a topic of their choice related to the themes of the course.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3187
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Seminar participation, research proposal, peer workshop, research paper, in-class research presentation
Prerequisites: LEAD 125 or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Open to Leadership Studies concentrators or with the permission of the instructor; preference given to Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
LEAD 425 Division II PSCI 414 Division II
WS Notes: Students receive iterative feedback on their research projects: Their initial proposals receive substantive feedback from fellow students as well as substantive and stylistic feedback from the professor looking toward a formal proposal; and their formal proposals receive extensive comments from both the professor and a student colleague looking toward the final paper. The students will submit writing for feedback the third week of March, the third week of April, and the third week of May.
Attributes: LEAD Facets or Domains of Leadership
PSCI American Politics Courses
PSCI Research Courses

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