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Pol. Sci 0200 Fall 2008 Syllabus

Pol. Sci 0200 Fall 2008 Syllabus - Political Science 0200...

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Political Science 0200 AMERICAN POLITICAL PROCESS Fall 2008 Wednesday 9:00 - 11:25 a.m. Dr. Stanley J. Kabala 412-396-4233 [email protected] [email protected] Introduction The United States is referred to as the world’s oldest democracy. Its constitution is one of the first three “modern” constitutions in the world. As such, the U.S. political system pioneered elements of politics and governance that have become commonplace: government by consent of the governed and rule of law. This straightforward statement belies a world of complexity whose characteristics and components include governmental institutions, separation of powers, the federal system and division of powers, lawmaking, implementation of policy, political parties, interest groups, and public opinion and the media, and voting. Course Objectives and Approach This course will examine the U.S. political system as made up of both institutions and processes that evolve over time. It will introduce students to the institutions and practices of American politics and government policy making and provide them with the analytical tools to understand and assess decision making in the U.S. political system. To accomplish this, it will rely on a combination of lectures, text material, outside reading, class discussion and, if possible, films. Course Requirements and Grading Attendance is not optional. Too much takes place during class in terms of lectures and discussion to waste this time. As a result it constitutes part of the grade. Attendance will be assessed by means of random attendance checks. Coursework falls into the following five categories: 1. two (2) exams based on the lectures and readings; 2. two (2) essays of 3 pages relating a published article to its coverage in the text; 3. essay on a social/political movement 4. a research paper of 12 -15 pages on a topic appropriate to the course and approved by the instructor, and;.
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