Mark A. Smith
POL S 405
Intensive reading and research in selected problems or fields of political analysis.
Description: What is distinctive about how Americans view the political world? From where do American values originate, and how have they changed over time and adapted to new circumstances? Is the United States in the middle of a “culture war” based on fundamental differences over religion, values, and public policy? How do Americans’ beliefs about politics affect political processes and outcomes? These are among the questions this course will address. After surveying the development and expression of the nation’s core values, we will examine how these values set the context for political debates and public policy.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Texts: Tocqueville, Democracy in America; Kingdon, America the Unusual; and a collection of articles and book chapters.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments: 1 paper, a midterm exam, and a final exam.
Grading: Exams: 60 %; Papers: 30 %; Class participation: 10 %.