John W. Gastil
Exploration of philosophical and empirical writings on political deliberation in small groups, campaigns, and other public settings. Contemporary deliberative theory. Participation in face-to-face discussions on current issues. Recommended: either COM 273 or COM 373. Offered: jointly with POL S 455.
A wave of theory and research has developed the idea that the ideal form of government is a deliberative democracy. This course introduces you to a wide range of perspectives on political deliberation and sharpens your skills at a wide range of deliberative processes—from informal political conversation to legislative debate. You will participate directly in forums discussing current issues, analyzing and critiquing media coverage of the Presidential election, and write about different forms of deliberation that could help us address difficult public policy issues.
Student learning goals
If the course is successful, you should end the quarter with: (a) a clearer understanding how deliberative processes work; (b) a bit more talent at taking part in deliberative processes effectively; (c) the ability to recognize when contemporary practices fall short of the deliberative ideal; and (d) some ideas for how to make our political process more deliberative.
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading