Political Science 790:349
Topics in American Politics: Women in Congress
Mon. and Wed., 4:30 – 5:50
Prof. Irwin N. Gertzog
212 Murray Hall
Spring Term, 2009
Office Hours: Wed., 11:00-12:30,
and by arrangement, Room 11A,
lower level, Milledoler Hall
This course will begin with a discussion of the United States Congress as a
We will next look at the factors influencing the election of women
to Congress – factors affecting 1) their decision to run for office, 2) their acquisition of
strategic resources; 3) their degree of success in gaining major party nominations; 4) the
nature of the campaigns they undertake, and 5) their fate in the general election.
of how congresswomen are integrated into the workings of the institution they serve will
Topics include their adaptation to the committee system, the party leadership
structure, House and Senate routine procedures, and the demands of interest groups,
especially groups claiming to represent American women.
We will then examine the
nature and extent of congresswomen’s efforts to promote public policies calculated to
Emphasis will be on policies falling under the general headings of equal
rights, social welfare, and reproductive rights, with attention given to efforts
congresswomen have made to shape legislation addressing these concerns.
will conclude with a discussion of the future of women in Congress.
Books containing the assigned reading are listed below.
They are available in the
Ferren Mall College Book Store.
Karen O’Connor (ed.), WOMEN AND CONGRESS: RUNNING, WINNING AND
Cindy Simon Rosenthal (ed.) WOMEN TRANSFORMING CONGRESS, 2002.
Four examinations are scheduled during the term, including the one administered
during finals week.
The exams are of equal value, i.e., each is valued at 25% of the grade
for the course.
Numerical equivalents of letter grades are as follows: 90-100 = A; 88-89
= B+; 80-87 = B; 78-79 = C+; 70-77 = C; 60-69 = D; and 0-59 = F.
Class attendance is