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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2010

GOV 325 • Political Parties

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38780 MWF
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
MEZ B0.306
Shaw, D

Course Description

This course focuses on the role political parties play in representative democracies. We will study the variables that distinguish party systems in different countries, the historical development of parties, and the nature of parties in contemporary democratic societies. We will also explore how parties mobilize mass populations for political purposes, as well as the character of party elites, activists and supporters. The first four weeks of the course are largely general and theoretical. Examples will be drawn from different countries to illustrate questions and arguments. The remainder of the course deals almost exclusively with the American parties. My approach will be thematic. By studying institutions and processes that are generally characteristic of parties in democratic systems, you will recognize that many features of the American parties are a particular configuration of more general phenomena. Through the readings and lectures on the U.S. party system you will develop a conceptual and theoretical understanding of not only the American parties, but of political parties across the globe.

Grading Policy

Your grade will be determined by your score out of 300 possible points. The break-down is as follows: 1. Take-Home Exams Take-Home 1 75 points 25% Take-Home 2 75 points 25% 2. Midterm Exams Midterm 1 60 points 20% Midterm 2 60 points 20% 3. Attendance and Participation Attendance and Participation in class 30 points 10%. We will develop a curve based on total points to ascertain an A-F letter grade.


Beck and Random, Party Politics in America. Longman, 13th ed. Ware, Political Parties and Party Systems. Oxford


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