POSC 120 American Government
A basic introductory course in American federal government which emphasizes its structure and operation. Special attention is given to the executive, legislative, and judicial processes.
POSC 244 Public Opinion
Examines the origins, nature, and impact of public opinion in the United States. The ways that the public's attitudes are shaped and used by interest groups, politicians, and the mass media will be discussed. Methods of measuring public opinion, with special attention to polling, will be studied. Prerequisite: 120, or permission of the instructor.
POSC 390 Campaigns and Elections
The purpose of this seminar is to examine and analyze the role of the political campaign in the American political system. We will look at key aspects of campaigns – candidates; money; polling; advertising; and media – as we read current research on the state of campaigning in the United States. Since this seminar occurs during an election season, students should expect to actively engage with current events, relating course topics to what they are observing in the day-to-day campaigns of candidates currently competing for office. Political pundits and commentators generate a tremendous amount of analysis, commentary, and predictions about American elections; however, in this class we will move beyond these types of comments and attempt to understand how voters decide and how campaigns persuade.
POSC 242 Political Behavior
Cultural, social, and psychological factors which contribute to forms and directions of political behavior. Special attention is given to American voting behavior, ethnic political behavior, and personality influences on politics. Field surveys are undertaken to illustrate contemporary trends. Prerequisite: 120, or permission of the instructor.
POSC 290 Polarization in Amer Politics
American politics is contentious. Many people believe this country is more political, socially, and culturally divided than it has been at any time since the Civil War. But, is this true? Are there two Americas – a red American and a blue America? In this course, we will examine the nature of political divisions in American society and their partisan roots. We will ask questions about the definition of political polarization and how to measure it. We will also examine the causes and consequences of political polarization. In doing so, we will spend time thinking about racial, economic, and other schisms in American society. Additionally, we will read classic and contemporary work considering the role of institutions in creating, perpetuating, or alleviating political polarization, including political parties, campaign finance rules, and innate human characteristics. Prereq POSC 120 or permission of instructor.