Spring 2008 American Government - Honors POLA 210-01 Professor Brian J. Brox Call # 12292 Telephone: 862-8325 Room: Norman Mayer 101 Email: [email protected]Office Hours: MW 11-12, Th 2:30-3:30Web: http://www.tulane.edu/~bbrox Office: Norman Mayer 302 Harold Lasswell, a prominent American political scientist, defined politics as “who gets what, when, and how.” The structure of the American political system, as well as the participants who operate in that system and the values those participants hold, have a large impact on how that definition takes shape. Particularly important in the case of the United States is the prominent role elections play in helping to decide “who gets what, when, and how.” This course will introduce students to American government, the structures and participants that make it work, and the role of elections in binding citizens to their government and in controlling the behavior of elected (and un-elected) officials. Students will leave this course with not only an understanding of American government but also with the tools necessary for them to be responsible citizens, informed voters, and critical consumers of political information. As befits an honors course, this course will provide several unique learning experiences for students to explore the nuances of American government. Minimal time will be spent in “lecture” – instead, we will focus our time on discussing important concepts from the textbook in more of a “seminar” format. In addition, students will be expected to lead a class seminar once during the semester to present information from an outside reading (more on this below). Finally, we will read three works of literature that will help us move beyond the social sciences and address important issues in politics and government from the perspective of the humanities. Required Texts: There are four required texts for this course, available at the Tulane Bookstore: ¾Fiorina, Morris P., Paul E. Peterson, Bertram Johnson, William G. Mayer, and D. Stephen Voss. 2008. America’s New Democracy. Fourth Edition. New York, NY: Longman. ¾Golding, William. 1954. Lord of the Flies. New York, NY: Perigee. ¾Shakespeare, William. 1608. Coriolanus. New York, NY: Signet Classics (2ndrevised edition, 2002). ¾Sophocles. 440 BC. Antigone. Clayton, DE: Prestwick House (translation by J.E. Thomas, 2005). Course Format:Generally speaking, class will consist of me leading discussion on course topics. I will lecture if I believe there are important concepts that need to be addressed; otherwise we will engage in discussion about any concepts students find interesting, challenging, confusing, or thought-provoking. About once every two weeks class will consist of a student-led discussion of an outside reading related to a course topic.
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