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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Christopher S Parker
POL S 405
Seattle Campus

Advanced Seminar in American Politics

Intensive reading and research in selected problems or fields of political analysis.

Class description

We know lots about left-wing movements. The importance of the Women’s Movement, the Labor Movement, and the Civil Rights Movement are well known. Each went a long way towards making good on an important part of the American dream: equality. We know precious little, however, when it comes to right-wing movements. Where left-wing movements work toward the expansion of democracy, right-wing movements work to contract it. Consider the Know Nothing Party, the Ku Klux Klan, the John Birch Society, and now, the Tea Party. Each of these movements claim to represent the concerns of “real Americans,? people who are “true patriots.? If this is the case, why do they work so hard to subvert the values they purport to revere? What, in other words, motivates the membership and supporters of right-wing movements to refuse to honor the principles on which their beloved country was founded? If your first impulse, as students, is to believe these people are crazy, let me assure you they’re not. This course will explain why your impulse is wrong, and why this should concern you.

Student learning goals

Students will learn the varieties of patriotism, and their historical roots.

Students will learn how patriotism applies to contemporary political debates, and public policy.

General method of instruction

Since this is a seminar, class will be conducted as such. That is, we will read and discuss the different perspectives on patriotism during class.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites necessary.

Class assignments and grading

The four short papers will be critiques of the weeks reading. The take-home final will require students to respond to a prompt in which will ask them to make an argument concerning whether or not patriotism remains a useful concept in contemporary American society.

There is NO midterm.

Grades are assigned on the basis of the written work and class participation.


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.
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Last Update by Christopher S Parker
Date: 04/15/2014