GOV 384N • Core Readings in Public Law
12:00 PM-3:00 PM
This course is the graduate core course in public law for the Department of Government. It is required for those who take prelims in public law. The course is designed primarily for graduate students seeking to become professional political scientists; however, students in other disciplines with an interest in legal institutions are welcome and may find the course interesting and helpful. The main purpose of the course is to give students an overview of the field of public law in political science. Consequently, most readings are by political scientists, though public law is an interdisciplinary field. A one semester course cannot include all topics in the field, nor can it assign all the "classics" or important works on the topics that are covered. Nevertheless, this course attempts to do some of both. A reading is selected for one or more of the following reasons: 1) it is a classic, or it is familiar to most students of public law, or it is part of the intellectual history of the field; 2) it is currently seen as important by the profession, e.g., it has recently been published in a major journal, or it has won the American Political Science Association's award for the best book in public law; 3) it is an example of an area or method of research. Given these criteria, all readings are not equally good, or interesting; indeed, you may consider some dreadful. Nonetheless, attention to all of these criteria are important for a core course. The course should provide students with a good sense of this very broad field, both for the qualifying examinations and for opportunities in research and teaching.
Class participation: You are expected to review the materials carefully and to participate actively in class discussions. You will be asked to write several one-page single spaced papers that focus on the readings for the week. You may choose the weeks with a few exceptions. You must make copies of your paper available to your classmates and me no later than noon on the day before class. Late papers are not accepted. These papers will not be graded per se, but they will serve as part of my evaluation of you. More details will be given in class. Because your future will involve teaching, presenting papers, and of course, job talks, you or a group of you may be asked to lead all or part of the weekly discussion. Research prospectus: You will submit a research prospectus of approximately 10-20 pp. It will involve a proposed plan of study for either a dissertation or a major article. More details will be given in class. The requirements and readings are subject to change depending upon class size, composition, or pedagogical considerations.