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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Luis R. Fraga
POL S 334
Seattle Campus

Topics in American Politics

Class description

This course introduces students to actors, institutions, processes, and policies of substate governments in the United States. Through an intensive comparative examination of historical and contemporary politics in city governments, we will gain an understanding of municipal government and its role within the larger context of state and national governments.

The study of city governments in the United States is distinct from the study of state and national politics in several respects. One, unlike state and national governments, city governments have made major structural changes in their systems of representation and administration in response to changes in the distribution of political influence. Such institutional transformations have had immediate consequences for the capacity of different segments of their populations to affect public policy. Two, due to their limited formal authority within the American federal system, many municipalities have not had the resources to resolve major problems that exist within their boundaries. As a result, economic growth has been the primary focus of much urban policy making. The focus on economic growth has not served all segments of the population equally. Lastly, metropolitan areas in the United States have included the most diverse class, racial, and ethnic groupings of the citizenry. Effective strategies of managing intergroup conflict and facilitating intergroup cooperation have always been of great importance to local governments. Responses to this interaction at the urban level have often set the pattern for subsequent state and national action and inaction. Much can be learned about American politics generally by studying urban politics in the United States.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Meera Roy
Date: 11/19/2010