GOV 310L • American Government
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
This course introduces you to the structure and functions of American government and the conduct of foreign policy. A significant part of the course examines the nature of Texas Politics. The course provides an overview of fundamental concepts in American government such as the American constitutional framework, federalism, separation of powers, civil rights and civil liberties and ties these concepts into current debates. It further examines the functioning of different institutions such as the Presidency, Congress and bureaucracy and provides a glimpse into the nature of party politics, campaigns and elections. A major section of the course will also introduce you to basic principles governing America's foreign policy abroad with special emphasis on events post 9/11. The primary objective of the course is to give you a comprehensive understanding of American government, politics and foreign policy as we understand it today.
There will be two examinations and one policy paper for the course. The examinations will consist of multiple choice questions and short essays. The policy paper should not be more than 5-7 pages in length, 12pt. Font and double spaced. The paper will ask you to make an argument with regard to a specific decision, policy, or crisis. You will have the freedom to choose the topic for your policy paper but emphasis will be placed on making a coherent argument. First Exam: 20% Second Exam: 20% Policy Paper: 30% Class Participation: 20% Attendance: 10% No incompletes or late papers will be accepted. Make-up exams will be allowed only if you have a legitimate reason for absence and provide documentation in support of your absence. This course places a lot of emphasis on class participation. Your class participation grade will be evaluated on the basis of presenting class lectures, engaging in discussions and participating in class activities.
Theodore J.Lowi, Benjamin Ginsberg and Kenneth Shepsle (2006) American Government (New York: Norton) http://www. laits.utexas.edu/gov310 (section on Texas Politics).