John D Wilkerson
POL S 382
Focus on the structures, processes, and policy outputs of state governments in the United States.
States play important policymaking roles and differ in important ways that have important consequences for a state's citizens. However it is one thing to observe that states differ and quite another to explain those differences. Culture? History? Institutions? Economics? Politics?
I assume that students in this class know much less about state and local politics than they do about national politics. As a result, the class covers not only theoretical issues related to state politics, but also more basic facts. In addition, we consider divide our time between boarder comparisons of the 50 states, and more intensive examinations of politics and policy in Washington state. And to make the class more interesting, we will have a number of invited speakers.
Student learning goals
An appreciation of the alternative explanations offered for why states differ in terms of their politics, and the implications of those differences for citizens
An appreciation of the structure and operation of Washington State government.
The ability to write thoughtfully about a contemporary issue and its implications for state politics and policy
General method of instruction
The class is primarily lecture-based. There will also guest lecturers.
Texts: "Politics in the American States: A Comparative Analysis, 10th Edition", Virginia Gray and Russell L. Hanson; "Inside the Statehouse: Lessons from the Speaker", Ralph Wright
Class assignments and grading
A draft of the syllabus can be found here: