GOV 381L • 7 - The American Presidency
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary. The course has three aims. The first is to provide a coherent introduction to the important literature on the presidency, with goals like preparing for prelimiary examinations, developing one's own courses on the presidency, or preparing to conduct specialized research, in mind. The second aim is to encourage analytic ambition. We discuss the most fundamental and timeless questions we can frame, e.g. what is the presidency for? How much presidential power is enough? How can presidential performance be reasonably and fairly judged? What difference does it make who is president? What does the job do to the president? How could the institution be redesigned to work better? How does varying historical context affect answers to such questions? Reading, thinking, writing and talking about such issues helps to advance the third course aim: identification of questions important enough to be worthy of thesis or dissertation research.