Mark A. Smith
POL S 550
Systematic survey of the American government and politics literature; focuses on national politics.
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
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 %.