American Politics

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 landmark opinions of the United States Supreme Court in the context of the constitutional and political structures of American democracy. Significant topics of traditional and contemporary concern covered include the tension between authority of the federal government and states’ rights, politics of the Supreme Court, issues arising out of the balance or imbalance of powers among branches of government, the right of judicial review, government regulation, and protections and limitations on civil rights. Legal analysis and legal reasoning are taught, as well as case analysis and application. 

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
This course addresses what the United States Constitution, courts, judges, attorneys, and scholars tell us about such profoundly complex legal, political, and moral issues as whether California can ban same-sex marriage, whether Arizona can regulate immigration, what the proper and improper role of the court system is in forming public policy, and how political power is distributed in America. We explore the meaning, and the price, of full citizenship in our democratic and pluralist American republic. This course examines the story of how our government and “We the People” have struggled, and still struggle, to fulfill the common good and realize the American dream of liberty and justice for all.

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 Agency 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, executive-legislative relationships, the military in American politics, and legal-political issues of the intelligence apparatus. May be repeated for credit as content varies.

110Minority Politics
An examination of the racial and ethnic dimensions of American politics. Topics include the growing diversity of the American population; government policies on civil rights, affirmative action and immigration; political participation by, and political conflicts among, racial and ethnic groups; and the impact of ethnic and racial subcultures on contemporary politics. Offered in alternate years. Satisfies Community Engagement of the Core Curriculum.

130 Introduction to Public Administration
A basic introduction to the theory and practice of public administration. Major works in organization and decision theory are read, and particular attention is given to the creation and implementation of programs in the U.S. federal government.

135 Environmental Politics
A political analysis of environmental problems such as polution, energy shortages, population growth, climate change and the distruction of wilderness areas. Public policies to address these problems both here and in other countries are examined. Ethical aspects of environmental issues are explored.

136 Environmental Law and Regulation
Examination of alternative legal mechanisms for protecting the environment. Topics include environmental torts and remedies; environmental criminal law; private property rights and the "public trust" doctrine; administrative regulations and standards; economic incentive statuses; federal vs. state environmental jurisdiction; and the international environmental agreements.