GOV 381L • Political Parties
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
This course reflects the beliefs expressed above. Our focus is on parties as electoral connections. Some appreciable portion of the class contains non-American material that analyzes party system themes (allowing us to sample the variance in institutional forms and processes). We do dwell on the American example, however, particularly in the latter stages of the course. It is also worth observing that some important topics are not covered, or are covered only incidentally, due to time constraints. You are invited to read extensively about one of these "missed" topics and write your paper on it. Class meetings will run a maximum of three hours with a 15-minute break about two hours into class. (A typical week consists of reading around 175 pages of material. Some weeks will be less and some will be considerably more). At the beginning of each class, you will turn in a 1-2 page, typed, double-spaced overview of the week's readings. The first two hours of class meetings will be run as a pro-seminar on various topics. Within broad subject areas we will discuss several perspectives and contributions. In this sense, the format of the class will be fairly typical; weekly reading assignments will serve as the basis for critical inquiries into a range of issues. Discussion leaders will be designated each week to provide critical overviews and facilitate discussions. The third hour of the class is dedicated to aid the development and execution of students' research papers. This design is to ensure that the course teaches you something about what it means to do research in political science. Most of us can readily identify the short-comings of the political science we read, but far fewer can pose interesting alternatives, formulate testable hypotheses and research designs, acquire pertinent data and carry out convincing tests and analyses. This course aims at focusing your abilities and talents on these endeavors as well as bringing you up to speed on the literature.
I anticipate 6-8 books and a course packet.