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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mark A. Smith
POL S 550
Seattle Campus

American Politics Core

Systematic survey of the American government and politics literature; focuses on national politics.

Class description

Description: The core seminar in American Politics attempts to survey the players, processes, and institutions of the American political system. Using a mixture of both classical and contemporary works, we will review the major topics that have been addressed. We will also assess the theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches through which scholars have investigated these topics.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Texts: Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The Federalist Papers; Zaller, The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion; Baumgartner and Jones, Agendas and Instability in American Politics; Mayhew, Congress: The Electoral Connection; Arnold, The Logic of Congressional Action; Rosenberg, The Hollow Hope; Wilson, Bureaucracy; and a course pack.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments: Students will write two papers that integrate and critique the course readings.

Grading: Papers: 90 %; Class/quiz participation: 10 %.


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 02/19/2009