American politics classes focus on the nature of political struggles in the U.S. analyzing political culture, interest groups, elections, institutions, and law
101 State and Urban Politics
Survey of current issues and problems in state and city government. Analysis of the evolutionary nature of such issues and problems through a comparison of the historical and contemporary experiences of cities and states. Topics include the distribution of power in the community; the organization of city government; state executive and legislative processes; and community responses to law enforcement, social welfare, education, and taxation.
102 Political Parties and Pressure Groups
An investigation into the theory and practice of political groups. Analysis of the nature of political behavior within and among groups through reading and discussion of classic texts on groups. Topics include the influence of the political environment on group activity; the roles of leaders and followers; the identification and pursuit of group goals; the organization and function of American political parties; and the phenomenon of party loyalty.
103 Elections and Voting Behavior
A study of the electoral process in America with emphases on the organization and the conduct of elections, and the behavior of the electorate. Topics include campaign organization, primaries and nominations, the role of the media, the impact of issues and personalities, and electoral realignment. Depending on the year, the course will focus on presidential elections or the midterm congressional elections. Politics 102 is not a prerequisite for this course.
104 United States Public and Constitutional Law
A study of the landmark opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court. Topics include separation of powers, federalism, judicial review, government regulation of business, and civil rights. Methods of legal reasoning and case analysis are taught. Prerequisites: Politics 1 and 2 or consent of the instructor.
105 Presidency and Congress
An investigation of the institutional and behavioral characteristics of the Presidency and the Congress. The course focuses upon the development of the office of the Presidency, the nature and scope of presidential power, and the interaction of the Presidency with the cabinet, bureaucracy, media, political parties, and public opinion. It also considers the operation of the modern Congress through an examination of the committee system, congressional procedures and customs, and the relationship between the representative and the constituency.
106 Politics of Labor
A study of the American labor movement from its early economic militancy through its later political passivity to its renewed vigor in the present time. Topics include de-industrialization and the transformation of work, the changing gender, ethnic and racial composition of the work force, the plight of immigrants and undocumented workers, and how the employer offensive and labor laws affect unionization. We also look at student-labor relations, labor and the environment, the role benefits play in contract negotiations and strikes, the impact of globalization on labor, and the struggle to democratize the unions. The readings chronicle and analyze the history of the American labor movement, study the connections between labor struggles and politics, and how labor is perceived by the larger public. A special feature of this course is a series of speakers from the Labor Movement who address the issues they face.
107 American Legal Institutions
A survey of the American judicial process. The role of the courts in the political process is described, with special emphasis on the Supreme Court. Topics include: how judges are selected, how courts decide cases, the limits of the courts’ power, and the impact of court rulings.
108 CIA and the Intelligence Community
An investigation into the role of the intelligence community in the formulation and conduct of American foreign policy. The course focuses on the Central Intelligence Agency but also considers other members of the intelligence community such as the National Security and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Topics include covert operations, intelligence collection and analysis, counterintelligence, and oversight and control of intelligence activities.
109 Topics in American Politics
A detailed analysis of selected problems in American politics involving the investigation of such contemporary issues as campaign reform, morality in politics, executivelegislative relationships, the military in American politics, and legal-political issues of the intelligence apparatus. May be repeated for credit as content varies.
109-01 The Politics of Imprisonment
TheUnited States not only has the highest incarceration rate in the world, but also the largest prison population, surpassing evenChina. This course seeks to explore the politics behind the criminal justice reforms and the tremendous prison explosion over the last 30 years that brought us to this point. Is mass incarceration “solving” the problems it was designed to address? What are prison conditions like? Who’s really pushing for all this incarceration? Can the trend be reversed? Students will tour San Quentin State Prison, theMartinez jail, and theOakland Juvenile JusticeCenter, hear from ex-cons, psychologists, and other specialists in the field, and visit non-profit organizations working against incarceration and for prisoners’ rights.
109-02 Political Communication
The 2012 Presidential Election is underway -- and has special impact on college students, immigrants, the unemployed, those living on Social Security, those living on the streets, and the power brokers on Wall Street.
Consequently, the focus for this course will be the presidential campaign and election; and the interplay of the press, politics and public policy.
We will study the path to nomination with primary elections, state caucuses, the national party conventions. We will examine the history and forms of political communication in campaign strategy, televised debates, commercial advertisements, and the door-to-door efforts to “bring out the vote” on election day.
We will consider an array of current works by George Lakoff. Jill Lapore, Eli Pariser; and we will consider topics such as the psychology of political persuasion, the place of the “Tea Party” in American Politics, and how Facebook and Twitter will affect the 2012 electorate. We will take a special look at presidential leadership and courage in the writings of John F. Kennedy and his “Profiles in Courage;” and examine films like Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man.”
To keep up-to-day with the current 2012 campaign we will invite to class an array of guest speakers from the ranks of campaign managers and consultants, political journalists, and pollsters.
Cross-listed with COMM 107, this course offers a full upper division credit. Also, those students who wish to come to the final hour of the evening session – for the public program of invited speakers – may apply for ¼ unit credit. Enrollment cap: 10
114 Politics in Film and Fiction
Examines ideas and ideals that are fundamental to the study of politics by analyzing situations portrayed in novels and film.