American Politics

CAS PO 300 Topics in American Politics
Prerequisites: Junior standing or consent of the instructor. Topics vary. Possible offerings include American Congress, Campaigns and Elections, Separation of Powers, Use of Force, Race and Politics, Gender and Politics, Primaries and Caucuses.

CAS PO 301 Presidential Leadership
Presidential power and functions; relations with Congress, political party, and the public; personality and leadership; and comparative study of selected presidents.

CAS PO 302 Congress and its Critics
Is Congress the “broken branch”? Can it be fixed? How congress works; legislative process; interactions  with other branches; congressional elections; campaign finance; how Congress has changed and may  evolve in the future.

CAS PO 304 The Judicial Process
Prerequisites: CAS PO 111. Introduction to the judicial process. Topics include the role of lawyers and judges, the structure of the court system, juries, and legal reasoning. Primarily intended for student who have little or no exposure to law courses.

CAS PO 305 United States Political Parties
Detailed consideration of the political party as a functional organization: party leaders and followers, partisanship and electoral strategy, shifts and realignments in party politics.

CAS PO 306 Media and Politics in the United States
Prerequisite: PO 111 or consent of the instructor. Explores the relationships among the mass media, politicians and the public. Topics include the organization and kinds of media; the shaping of news coverage; the effect of media coverage on public opinion, political participation, voting behavior and campaigns; and developments in new media.

CAS PO 308 The Politics of Race and Ethnicity
Definitional hypotheses of race and ethnicity based on cultural, sociological, and biological determinants tested against concrete examples of plural societies in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Correlations between racial/ethnic differentiation and sociopolitical stratification and cleavages examined.

CAS PO 313 The Politics and Policy of HBO’s The Wire
HBO’s television series The Wire is used to explore politics and policy.  A number of interdisciplinary topics  are covered, including the war on drugs, urban elections, bureaucracy, rational choice theory, and the decline of American cities.

CAS PO 507 Development of American Constitutional Law
Prerequisite: PO 111. A survey of the development of constitutional law and the exercise of power by the US Supreme Court. The course is drawn entirely from decisions of the US Supreme Court and the principal theme is the development of national constitutions and power.

CAS PO 508 The Judiciary and Civil Liberties
Prerequisite: PO 507. First Amendment rights of speech, press, assembly, religion; rights of defendants in criminal cases; and the constitutional protection of racial minorities. Supreme Court decision making processes and modes of compliance with its decisions are also considered.

CAS PO 511 Voting Behavior
Prerequisite: PO 111 and junior standing or consent of the instructor. The scientific study of elections and political participation with emphasis on voting in U.S. presidential elections. Topics include partisanship, ideology, voter turnout, political participation, campaign organization and strategy, and the effects of campaigns on voters.

CAS PO 514 Political Movements in America
Prereq: CAS PO 111 or consent of instructor. Study of historical and current political movements in United States, including populism, environmentalism, civil rights, peace, and welfare. Why movements arise, why they fail, or why and how they are transformed; what role strategies, values, and leaders play; and what impact these movements have on political institutions and public policy.

CAS PO 515 American Politics and the Use of Force
Prerequisite: PO 111 and junior standing or consent of the instructor. Examines how domestic politics drive the use of force in the postwar United States. Explores how Congress, courts, interest groups, media, and public opinion define Presidential action in times of crisis, as well as the kinds of crises that evoke action.

CAS PO 517 Urban Politics
Explores the impact of American urban politics on the implementation of local policy. Topics include  deindustrialization, white flight, neighborhood effects, housing policy, schools, regionalism, and factors  that constrain policy-making capacities.

GRS PO 711 Approaches to the Study of American Politics
Graduate Core Course. Introduces students to major theoretical, substantive, and methodological problems in the study of American politics by examining two sets of literature: scholarly debates and discussion of theory and research, and the concrete research of leading Americanists.

GRS PO 911 Directed Study in American Politics