POS 2041 Syllabus


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POLITICAL SCIENCE 2041 AMERICAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENT Instructor : Dr. Alan B. Beck Office : A207K Class Meetings : Section 1: MTWHF 9:25-10:40 Phone : 395-352-5009 Section 2: MTWHF10:50-12:05 Office Hours : MTWHF 1:45-3 pm E-mail : [email protected] Web Site : http://people.sfcollege.edu/alan.beck/ Goals of this course : For Political Science majors, the importance of this course is obvious: it is a foundational course that will provide an essential knowledge base for your further studies in the field. But even for the vast majority of students in this course who are majoring or planning to major in other fields, this course is vital to your education. It is part of a well-rounded liberal arts education that aims to help you to develop a well-rounded intellect and understanding your world. A democratic society requires a wise, knowledgeable, engaged, and active populace. It needs people who think critically about what is just, what is fair, what it means to have liberty and what needs to be done to ensure it. It needs people who can hold powerful actors in our society accountable. It needs people who have a historical context for understanding the meaning of what is going on today, a knowledge of how their political system works, an interest in ideas regarding what we should do as a society and an ability to think critically and meaningfully assess these ideas. For everyone here, this course provides an opportunity to obtain a base of knowledge of American politics and tools of analysis to help you to understand political phenomena, the reasons they occur, and how they affect people. The knowledge and intellectual tools you gain here will enhance your ability to understand the importance of political matters, to stand up for yourselves politically, to think in a sophisticated way about politics, and to participate meaningfully in democratic governance. An ignorant and uninvolved public will inevitably result in a loss of liberty and democracy. Public ignorance of politics will inevitably lead to destruction of our environment; massive poverty; and the rich and powerful getting away with everything, at the expense of the rest of us. This course is aimed at fighting ignorance and building the tools of citizenship. The first tool you need as a citizen is to understand the basic workings of our political system, and as this is an introductory-level course, a lot of our time will be focused on that. We will cover the foundations of American government, such as the Constitution and the concept of Federalism; the institutions of national government, their organization and their processes; political processes; and how elections, campaigns, the media, public opinion, public interest groups, and mass movements affect politics. Essential to understanding all of this is an understanding America’s unique political culture, and of the historical, economic, intellectual, and social contexts in which these institutions and processes exist. In the study of politics, the
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2011 for the course POS 2041 taught by Professor Beck during the Spring '10 term at Santa Fe College.

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