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Liberal Arts Honors

LAH 102H • The Idea Of The Liberal Arts

29365 • Carver, Larry D
Meets M 400pm-530pm WEL 2.246
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Restricted to students in the Freshman Honors Program in the College of Liberal Arts. An overview of the liberal arts disciplines.

Offered on the pass/fail basis only.

LAH 305 • Reacting To The Past

29370 • Lang, Elon
Meets TTH 930am-1100am GAR 0.128
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COURSE DESCRIPTION:  “Reacting to the Past” seeks to introduce students to major philosophical ideas and texts. Because ‘compulsory learning never sticks in the mind,’ as Plato noted, this course introduces these major philosophical concepts with role-­‐playing games, letting the students re-­‐create the historical context in which these ideas acquired significance. During this semester, students will play three role-­‐playing games: “Democracy at the Threshold:  Athens in 403 B.C.;” “Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wan-­‐li Emperor, 1587 A.D.;” and “Rousseau, Burke, and the Revolution in France, 1791.

In these games, students will be assigned different character roles, including some prominent historical figures and some fictional characters typical of their age and social positions, all derived from the historical setting. Each role is defined largely by its game objective, which corresponds to a political position in a country during a time of crisis. In the course of the semester, each student will play three or more roles, so the student who begins the semester as a radical may end it as a conservative. Students must determine on their own how best to achieve their victory objectives, drawing upon the course texts for intellectual guidance, as well as strategic advice from the instructor, the preceptor, and each other.

COURSE FORMAT:  For the first few sessions of each game, the class will meet in a traditional seminar setting, where we will discuss the historical setting of the game and the philosophical issues that will animate the debates. After these introductory studies for the game, the class will break into competing groups, where students with similar roles join forces to accomplish their objectives. Then, as debates begin, students will come to class in their character roles and will lead the sessions.  The instructor will evaluate all student writing and will serve as the Game Master, stepping in only to resolve technical issues concerning the operation of the game and ensuring the game stays true to the historical context. The student preceptor, Miranda Adkins (a former ‘Reacting to the Past’ student herself), will help the Game Master keep track of each game and will provide students with feedback on their public speaking. Both Dr. Lang and Ms. Adkins will be available at appointed times to offer students assistance and advice on sources and strategy, and you are urged to email them with questions. 

The heart of each game is persuasion.  For nearly every role to which you will be assigned, you must persuade others that your political and philosophical views make more sense than those of your opponents.  Your views will be informed by the texts cited in your game objectives; the more you draw upon these texts and the more cleverly you draw upon them, the better. You have two ways of expressing your views: verbally and in writing. Both will be graded.



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LAH 350 • Amer Tech/Victory Cold War

29385 • Mark, Hans
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CRD 007B
(also listed as T C 325)
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A good case can be made that one of the vital factors in bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the communist ideology on which it was based, was the consistent superiority of American technology for the forty-six year duration of the "Cold War". It is the purpose of this course to examine this proposition. Many of these technologies had their origins during World War II when they were developed on a "crash" basis because of the exigencies of war. The institutions that developed these technologies were then converted to new work of a military nature that turned out to be important during the Cold War. Thus, the course will start with a discussion of the situation as World War II ended in the summer of 1945.

A number of examples of American technological developments will be presented, and the effect that they had on Soviet-American relations will be evaluated. One of the first was the Berlin Airlift, which broke the Soviet blockade of the city in 1949. We astonished the Soviets with our technological capability to supply a city of three million people with aircraft alone. It was the first "peaceful victory" in the Cold War. Next was the use of U-2 aircraft to gather credible information about the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba. The high-resolution U-2 pictures permitted President Kennedy to persuade a skeptical public that the Soviets were indeed doing just that. The development of the technology for defense against ballistic missiles was another important element. President Reagan 's refusal to trade away the work on missile defense at the Reikjavik summit meeting with President Gorbachev in 1986 was one of the critical turning points in U.S.-Soviet relations during the Cold War. The meeting persuaded Gorbachev that we were serious, and some believe he lost his nerve at that point. Gorbachev himself has actually said so. The continuing work on cryptology and other information systems were also a decisive element in winning the Cold War. This work was an extension of what was started in World War II and profoundly influenced computer development.

Perhaps even more important, the unclassified work on information technology, transistor radios, Xerox machines, FAX machines and VCR technology made it impossible for the Soviets to operate the closed society that the communist philosophy demanded.

The lectures will be presented roughly in chronological order of events during the Cold War. There will also be some discussions of how the legacy of the Cold War affects current events.


Course packet of articles about the Cold WarSupplemental readings for term paper (guided by the professor) 


The course consists of twenty-four lecture sessions supported by video presentations. There will be a mid-term and a required term paper. The students' grades will be determined by their performance on these  assigments.

About the Professor:

Dr. Mark specializes in the study of spacecraft and aircraft design, electromagnetic rail guns, and national defense policy. He has served on the faculty of the Cockrell School of Engineering since 1988. He served as chancellor of The University of Texas System from 1984 to 1992. He previously taught at Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford University.

Dr. Mark has served as director of the NASA-Ames Research Center, Secretary of the Air Force, deputy administrator of NASA and most recently, the Director of Defense Research and Engineering. He has published more than 180 technical reports and authored or edited eight books. Dr. Mark is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is the recipient of the 1999 Joe J. King Engineering Achievement Award and the 1999 George E. Haddaway Medal for Achievement in Aviation. He holds six honorary doctorates.

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LAH 350 • American Novel Before 1920

29390 • Kevorkian, Martin W
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CAL 221
(also listed as E 340)
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E 340  l  The American Novel before 1920-HONORS

Instructor:  Kevorkian, M

Unique #:  34465

Semester:  Fall 2015

Cross-lists:  LAH 350

Flags:  n/a

Restrictions:  English Honors; Liberal Arts Honors

Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: In our readings of earlier American novels, we will pay attention to religion as a thematic element as well as a structuring principle. For example, while reading early instances of the sentimental, the gothic, and the picaresque, we will conduct a speculative inquiry into how these novelistic genres might express some of the tendencies of conversion morphologies, including Puritan-approved and antinomian varieties. The tradition of the captivity narrative, which often overlaps with conversion narrative, will also play a part in our account. Although the question of religion as such will not command our entire focus, we will attempt to sustain a consistent concern with the interplay between narrative, genre, and conversion.

Texts: Brown, The Power of Sympathy (online and in dual Penguin Classics edition with Foster, below) • Foster, The Coquette (0140434682) • Brown, Wieland (0140390790) • Melville, Typee (0140434887) • Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (0312256930; Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism, 2nd ed., used) • Fern, Ruth Hall (0140436405)

Recommended secondary text:

Cathy N. Davidson, Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (0195148231; Expanded Edition, 2004)

[supplementary readings – “selections” on the schedule – will be handed out in class during the semester, and/or made available online]

Requirements & Grading: Two short (4-5 page) papers and one slightly longer (6-8 page) term paper will make up the bulk of the final grade. At least one of these papers (the third) will include research drawn from secondary sources (such as articles to be found using the MLA International Bibliography). Papers will be graded on a “portfolio” basis to afford opportunity and incentive for revisions. Attendance is mandatory; repeated unexcused absences and tardiness will affect your grade. Brief focused response writings will be a regular feature of the course, to be used as catalysts for discussion and the generation of essay ideas; the response writings will be due in class each Tuesday, except during weeks when a formal essay falls due. Also, on some occasions you may be asked to facilitate discussion be preparing a “question of the day / word of the day.”

Attendance and participation, 30%; paper 1, 20%; paper 2, 20%; paper 3, 30%

Papers are due in class no later than the date listed on the syllabus. Late papers will be penalized at a rate of one letter grade per class meeting.

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LAH 350 • British Hist, Lit, And Polits

29395 • Louis, Wm. Roger
Meets F 300pm-630pm HRC 3.204
(also listed as HIS 366N, T C 325)
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This seminar is designed as a reading course in history, literature, and politics, and as a class in professional writing. Its scope will include not only the literature, history, and politics of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, but also the interaction of British and other societies throughout the world. One point of emphasis will be the history of the British Empire and Commonwealth in its Asian and African as well as early American dimensions. Another point will be a focus on historical, literary, and auto-biography (Disreali, Woolf, Lawrence, Orwell, Gandhi, etc.).

In a general way, the seminar upholds the principles of the Modern History Faculty at Oxford-to enhance (1) intellectual curiosity, (2) conceptual clarity; (3) flexibility, that is, the capacity to engage with alternative perspectives and new information; (4) accuracy and attention to detail; (5) critical engagement; (6) capacity for hard work (7) enthusiasm for history, literature, and politics; and (8) historical imagination and understanding, that is the ability to speculate and compare, alongside the possession of appropriate historical knowledge and the capacity to deploy it.


Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians is required, then a choice of five other books from the list below plus six others to be decided upon in consultation with the instructor:

Robert Blake, Disraeli

Michael Holroyd, Lytton Strachey

Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf

T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Bernard Crick, George Orwell: A Life

Judith M. Brown, Gandhi: Prisoner of Hope


Professor Louis teaching fields are the British Empire/Commonwealth and the history, literature, and politics of nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain.

Professor Louis has recently published Ends of British Imperialism: the Scramble for Empire, Suez, and Decolonization (2006). He has written or edited more than thirty books including Imperialism at Bay (1977) and The British Empire in the Middle East (1984). His edited publications include The End of the Palestine Mandate (1986), The Transfers of Power in Africa(1988), Suez 1956 (1989), The Iraqi Revolution (1991), and Churchill (1993).

LAH 350 • Criminal Trials In History

29400 • Levack, Brian P.
Meets W 300pm-600pm CLA 0.124
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This seminar will explore the ways in which crime was prosecuted in Europe and America from ancient times to the present. The first three weeks of the course will be devoted to reading about accusatorial and inquisitorial systems of criminal procedure, the administration of judicial torture, and the punishment of offenders. The second part of the course will begin with a study of trials in the ancient world (focusing on the trials of Socrates and Jesus) and then study trials for witchcraft in the sixteenth and seventeenth

centuries, trials involving the conflict between religion and science (Galileo and Scopes) , trials for treason, prosecutions for sexual crimes, including adultery, incest, bestiality and rape; trials for infanticide, mainly in the eighteenth century; trials involving issues of race (the Scottsboro Boys, Ossian Sweet, and 0. J Simpson) , trials for Satanic ritual abuse in the 1980s, and trials for crimes against humanity in the twentieth century (Nuremberg, Eichmann and Milosevic) . The third part of the course will involve presentations of reports to the seminar on the topics of their research papers.

Required Texts: 

All common readings will be made available in a course packet. Reading assignments will average about 150 pages per week. 

Grading Policy: 

Each student will select a trial or a set of related trials, which will become the subject of a research paper. The paper will deal with the historical context of the trial, the procedures used in it, the issues that were debated, the reasons for the outcome of the trial, and its broader significance in the history of crime and the law. The first section of the paper, dealing mainly with the historical context of the trial, will be due in early October. The second part, dealing with the course of the trial, including procedures and the issues debated, will be due in early November. Students will have an opportunity to rewrite either or both of these parts of the paper in light of the instructor' s comments. The entire paper, including the third and final part ( dealing with the outcome and significance of the trial), together with any rewritten versions of the first two parts, will be due on the day on which a final exam would be given. (The paper is technically a take-home final.)

Each student will also present a 1 5-minute oral report to the seminar on the topic of the research paper. These reports will be given on the last three weeks of the course. The paper, which should run between 18 and 25 pages, will count for 753 of the course grade. Class participation, including the oral report, will count for 253. The instructor will assign plus but not minus grades in this course.



LAH 350 • Germany In 20th Cen-Honors

29410 • Crew, David
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as HIS 337N, REE 335)
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FLAGS:   Wr  |  GC  |  EL


Hitler and the Nazis have given twentieth-century Germany a world-historical significance it would otherwise have lacked. Even from our vantage point, the Nazi regime is still one of the most dramatic and destructive episodes in western European, indeed, in world history. Nazism is synonymous with terror, concentration camps and mass murder. Hitler's war claimed the lives of tens of millions and left Europe in complete ruins. The danger resides in the temptation to view all of German history from the end of the nineteenth-century onwards as merely the pre-history of Nazism, thereby failing to deal with each period on its own terms. And what do we do with the more than half a century of German history since 1945? With the defeat of  Nazi Germany in 1945, the course of German history appears to have experienced a radical break. New political and social systems were imposed upon the two halves of the divided Germany by the victors. The hostilities of the Cold War appeared to ensure a permanent division of Germany, which in 1961 assumed a compelling symbolic form, the Berlin Wall. But in 1989, the dramatic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe revolutionized East Germany as well. The Berlin Wall came down, East and West Germany were once again joined together in one nation. What exactly this newest version of the German nation will look like in ten or twenty years is still unclear. 

In the first half of the course, we will begin by discussing the origins and effects of  World War One(1914-1918), then move on to the German Revolution(1918-1919) and the Weimar Republic(l9l8-l933), the Nazi regime (1933-1945) and the Holocaust. The questions we will focus on here are: Was Germany’s first experiment with democracy between 1918 and 1933 doomed to failure? What factors contributed to the rise of Nazism and how did the Nazi regime affect Germany and Europe? Were all vestiges of Nazism destroyed in 1945? In the second half of the semester we will discuss the history of  Germany in the Cold War(1945-1989). We will end by talking about the consequences of the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989 to the present). Here, the main questions will be: Did, West and East Germany follow fundamentally new paths? What clues can be found in the histories of the Federal Republic in West Germany and the German Democratic Republic in East Germany since 1949 that may indicate the possibilities for change in the future? How does the unification of East and West Germany affect Germany's future role in Europe and the world?

Required Reading:

Mary Fulbrook,The Divided Nation
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
Richard Bessel(ed.) Life in the Third Reich
Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
Peter Schneider, The Wall Jumper
We will be working extensively with materials on this site:


(1)Two longer essay assignments (each 6-8 pages typewritten, each worth 30% of your final grade) which ask you to think critically about some of the major issues in twentieth century German history. The first assignment will deal with the period up to 1939. The second will focus on the period from 1939 to the present. Essay 1 will be due in mid-October. Essay 2 is due no later than the official exam date for this course.

(2)In addition to these two longer essay assignments, you will be asked to write one shorter essay (4-5 pages typewritten—worth 20% of the final grade) on any one of the books by  Remarque, Bessel, Levi, or Schneider.

(3 Finally, you will be asked to write two short (2-3 page) analyses of  visual evidence (photographs, propaganda, election posters, etc.) that I will include among the class materials, or  internet sites on twentieth century Germany that you yourself have found(each of these 2 assignments is worth 10% of the final grade).


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LAH 350 • Jewish Identities: Americas

29414 • Abzug, Robert H.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 2.606
(also listed as J S 363)
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Jews of the Americas comprise 47% of the world’s Jewish population and, though a small percentage of the countries in which they live, have greatly influenced the shape of high and popular culture in the United States, Canada, and Latin America (including both the Spanish-speaking countries and Brazil). In turn, their varied experiences throughout the Western Hemisphere have challenged traditional Jewish identities in many significant ways. This course will compare and contrast aspects of Jewish presence in the Americas—literature, music, art, dance, photography, filmmaking, and journalism—in order to understand the nature and variety of cultural interactions from the nineteenth century through the present. We also examine the work of Jorge Luis Borges, the celebrated non-Jewish Argentine writer known for his highly imaginative use of Kabbalah and magical Jewish folk beliefs.

The course is being offered in Fall 2015 so that students can attend a major symposium on Jewish Life in the Americas sponsored by the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, scheduled for November 1-2, 2015, here at UT. All non-English sources are presented in translation and, in the case of films, with subtitles.

Some of the artists, writers, photographers, musicians, and filmmakers referred to in the course include:


            Leonard Cohen—songwriter, singer, poet

            A. M. Klein—poet

            David Cronenberg—film director

            Mordecai Richler—novelist

            Robbie Robertson—lead singer of The Band

            and more           

United States:

            Leonard Bernstein—composer and conductor, classical and Broadway

            Bob Dylan—singer-songwriter, poet

            Steven Spielberg, film director

            Regina Spektor—singer—songwriter

            Helen Frankenthaler—abstract expressionist artist

            Michael Chabon—novelist

            Philip Roth—novelist and short-story writer

            Jon Stewart—satirical broadcast journalist

            George Gershwin—composer of both classical and popular music

            and more 

Spanish America and Brazil: 

           Ilán Stavans, Tropical Synagogues: Short Stories by Jewish-Latin American Writers


           Moacyr Scliar, selected short stories

           Jorge Luis Borges, "Death and the Compass," "The Golem," "Emma Zunz" 

           Cao Hamburger, director (The Year My Parents Went on Vacation)

           Daniel Burman, director (Waiting for the Messiah; The Lost Embrace)

           José Judkovski, tango DJ and historian of Jews in Argentine tango. 

Grading Criteria: 

Required ungraded weekly journal entries on readings and class discussions. (all journal entries required on time with penalty for late entries)

Term paper and in-class presentation on term paper topic 40%

first exam 20%

In-class second exam 30%

Faithful attendance and participation in class discussion 10% 

No final examination during finals week. 

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LAH 350 • Johnson And Boswell

29420 • Garrison, James D
Meets MW 330pm-500pm CAL 221
(also listed as E 349S)
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E 349S  l  Johnson and Boswell-HONORS

Instructor:  Garrison, J

Unique #:  34520

Semester:  Fall 2015

Cross-lists:  LAH 350

Flags:  Writing

Restrictions:  English Honors; Liberal Arts Honors

Computer Instruction:  No

E 349S (Topic: Johnson and Boswell) and 379N (Topic: Johnson and Boswell) may not both be counted.

Prerequisite: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: This course will consider Johnson as the author of a remarkable array of works in different genres and as the subject of the greatest biography ever written. We will proceed chronologically, taking the year 1763 – the year in which Boswell met Johnson – as the hinge of the course:  the first half will be devoted to Johnson as poet, essayist, fiction writer, and lexicographer; the second half will focus on Boswell’s journals and his Life of Johnson. We will bring the two together in reading the contrasting accounts of their journey in 1773 to the western islands of Scotland, and will conclude by comparing their approaches to biography by reference to Johnson’s last great work, the Lives of the Poets.


Johnson, Samuel Johnson: Selected Poetry and Prose, ed. Brady and Wimsatt (University of California Press); Selected Essays from the Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler, ed. Bate (Yale University Press)

Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, ed. Womersley (Penguin); The London Journal, ed. Pottle (Yale University Press); The Journals of James Boswell, ed. Wain (Yale University Press)

Johnson and Boswell, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, ed. Levi (Penguin)

Requirements & Grading: 

Reading journal (25%)

Two short papers (20% each) One longer paper (25%)

Attendance and contribution (10%)

Prerequisite: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing. No exceptions

LAH 350 • Johnson Years

29425 • Lawrence, Mark Atwood
Meets TTH 930am-1100am LBJ 10.150
(also listed as HMN 350)
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Nearly 50 years after it ended, the presidency of Lyndon Johnson continues to inspire enormous interest and controversy. What sort of person was Johnson? What motive underpinned his greatest achievements and biggest errors in both the domestic and foreign-policy arenas? How can we reconcile the triumphs of civil rights with the setbacks of the Vietman War? What is LBJ's legacy, and what place does he deserve in the long flow of American history? These will be among the major questions at the heart of this seminar. In addressing them, we will read and discuss scholarship on the Johnson administration and the 1960s. We will also meet with various participants in - or close observers of - the Johnson administration who live in and around Austin.The central course requirement will be a research paper of approximately 25 pages based on materials in the LBJ Library archive. We will devote considerable time early in the term to identifying promising topics and learning how to use the library's reading room. Over the remainder of the term, students will be expected to conduct research and, in consultation with the instructors, produce a polished scholarly paper.

Required readings will likely include Mark K. Updegrove, Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency; Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, American Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s; and Fredrik Logevall, Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam, as well as a packet of photocopied chapters and documents.


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LAH 350 • Leadership And Ethics

29430 • Drumwright, Minette E
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BMC 3.206
(also listed as HMN 350)
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Course Description:

The central purpose of the course is to examine business and the professions in the,larger context of society.  Such an examination requires consideration of a multitude of issues ranging from normative philosophical positions to practical day-to-day decision making by managers, professionals, and  leaders.  The goal is to raise important questions and issues and to help students think about how to think about them.  The course is neither a course in ethics nor a course in management per se, but it prompts students to approach the issues of business and society in a more integrative and systematic way.

The course should be of interest to a wide range of students, and it does not presume previous courses in ethics or business. 

Texts List: 

Drumwright, Business Professionals & Society  (these are cases and readings in a course packet)

Course Requirements: 

Class Participation 30% Two 8-page case write-ups

One 15 page paper (group project) (papers comprise 70% of final grade)


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LAH 350 • Leadership Strategy In Sports

Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CRD 007B
(also listed as T C 325)
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Leadership Strategy in Sports

In February of 2014, Michael Sam, a former outside linebacker for the University of Missouri and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, announced that he was gay. The announcement did not come as a surprise to his former teammates - Sam had shared his sexual orientation during a fall practice session the previous year - but the news sent shockwaves through the news media. His declaration was met with both scorn and praise. With the NFL Draft nearly four months away, would Sam become the first openly gay player in the NFL?

 His courage attracted international media attention and drew the support of First Lady Michelle Obama via Twitter: "You're an inspiration to all of us, @MikeSamFootball. We couldn't be prouder of your courage both on and off the field." But some NFL players, including  Jonathan Vilma, voiced uneasiness about Sam's reception in the locker-room. "I think he [Sam] would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted," Vilma cautioned.

 The Sam Saga underscores the extent to which sports reflect ideological divides in our culture. In this course, we will frame our discussion of contemporary issues in spotis through a historical lens that examines the introduction of athletic contests into American society. Next, we will use this backdrop to wade through complex social, economic and cultural issues including: compensation of college athletes, use of analytics to inform decision-making, minority representation among players and managers, introduction of openly gay athletes and the health implications of player safety.

Most importantly, we will take on the role of key decision-makers (e.g., athletic directors, head coaches and general managers) and construct our own ethical framework for dealing with these issues in the spotis context.

 Assignments and Grading Policy:

Grades will be based on the following: (!) regular class attendance, careful preparation of the readings, and active participation in the class; (2) timely submission of all work; (3) a term paper.

Final grades will be calculated using the following formula: (!) shoti response papers - 35%, (2) term paper and presentation - 35%, and (3) class participation - 30%. There will be no final examination.


Michael Lewis, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (2004).

William Rhoden, 40 Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete (2007);

Mark Faninaru-Wade & Steve Fainaru. League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth (2013).

There will also be a course packet comprised of short readings. 


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LAH 350 • Literary And Cultural Thry

29440 • Murphy, Gretchen
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 310
(also listed as E 364D)
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E 364D  l  Literary and Cultural Theory-HONORS

Instructor:  Murphy, G

Unique #:  34585

Semester:  Fall 2015

Cross-lists:  LAH 350

Flags:  Writing

Restrictions:  English Honors; Liberal Arts Honors

Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisite: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: This class surveys problems in interpretative theory, paying special attention to issues of representation, authority and reception. In other words, we’ll consider the problem of determining where authority to determine a text’s meaning located: in the author, the text, the culture, or the individual reader/viewer? How can we understand the role of the reader/viewer in the act of making and making sense of cultural production? Readings will examine critical approaches to literature, film, television and other media.

Required course text: Julie Rifkin and Michael Ryan Literary Theory: An Anthology, second edition (Blackwell Publishing)

Requirements & Grading: Grades will be based on participation in class and on-line discussions, quizzes, and two 6-8-page papers.

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LAH 350 • Politics In Fiction

29445 • Sparrow, Bartholomew
Meets MW 330pm-500pm BAT 1.104
(also listed as GOV 379S)
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What is at stake in politics and government?  Why do political events unfold as they do?  Why do politicians and public officials make the choices they do?  Theories of politics and government, statistical analyses, and archival research take us only so far.  Many say that the best way to capture politics and government—and especially the personal and emotional nature of politics—is through fiction.

In “Politics and Fiction,” students read some of the best extant fiction writing on American politics and government, past and present.  The reading list is based on the quality of the texts, rather than on focusing particular authors, addressing particular subjects, or covering particular time periods.  Fortunately, particular topics and time periods do come into play.  The books’ subjects range from accounts of 19th century America, to works on Vietnam and the 1960s, to novels about city and state, and to contemporary lobbying and radicalism.

Students are asked to read critically, that is to uncover the assumptions of and perspectives of each text with respect to ideology and partisanship, to consider how politics function and the political system operates, to think about the role played by individual and social psychology, and to assess what the relevant institutions are each case.  What are the political foundations and philosophic premises of the texts?  What is the author’s writing style and the effect of that style on the reader’s understanding of the text?

Texts (required) 

Vietnam and the 1950-1990s

Graham Greene, The Quiet American ISBN: 0140185003

Philip Roth, American Pastoral ISBN: 0375701429

Tim O'Brien, In the Lake of the Woods ISBN: 0140250947 

Local and State Politics

Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men ISBN:0156031043

Edwin O’Connor, The Last Hurrah IBSN: 978-0316626590

Contemporary Society

Christopher Buckley, Thank You for Smoking  ISBN: 0812976525

Ward Just, The American Ambassador  ISBN: 978-0618340781


Book Reviews, two (1500-2000 words): 2 x 15 = 30 percent (graded)

Editorial memos, six (600-750 words): 6 x 5 = 30% (high pass, pass, low pass, fail)

Class Participation: 30% (includes quality and quantity of discussion, attendance)

Presentation/Discussion leadership: 10% (high pass, pass, low pass, fail) 


The two book reviews and the six editorial memos are to be posted to the class (and your group’s) Canvas website. 

Each of your two book reviews is to be revised, with the help of your classmates.  The first draft of the book review is due by 9:00 p.m. the Sunday before the Monday the book is to be discussed, to be posted on your team’s Canvas website.  The revised draft is to be posted by 9:00 pm on Thursday after the second class day, Wednesday, of discussion. 

The book reviews are to be graded on their understanding and analysis of the text, their use of evidence from the text, and their coherence and polish.  The first draft will be evaluated on a high passpass/no pass basis and will count for one-fifth of the book review grade (3 points).  The second and final draft will count for four-fifths of the paper grade (12 points). 

The editorial memos, which are to be posted by Wednesday at noon, are to be your reactions/remarks on the book review written by one of your teammates.  You are not responsible for a comment paper on the two weeks when you are writing your book reviews, but you may make a presentation and also write an editorial memo.  The comment papers are to be your own considered comments (with textual evidence and text page number) with respect to the book review’s ideas, its argument, its organization, its composition (such as transitions, phrasing, syntax, and grammar), and any other matters you think relevant to improving its overall quality.  The editorial memos should reflect evidence of a careful reading of the text.  Your grades on the comment papers depend on the seriousness, thoroughness, and accuracy of your comments.  First and foremost, they are to be written to help your classmate write the most effective book review possible. 

Late book reviews and late comment papers will either be penalized, depending on how late they are submitted, or not accepted. 

You are responsible for attendance and participation.  Your regular presence and engagement in class discussion is expected.  Your participation will be graded on the quality of your contribution matters more so than merely the quantity, and should reflect a thorough reading of the text and be relevant to the discussion on hand.  Your instructor may call on you if you are shy or remain silent during class discussions. 

Three tardy appearances (coming more a few minutes late to class or regularly coming late to class) counts as one absence.   Early departures or absences within class are counted as tardies.  Four or moreabsences total—whether excused or unexcused—will result in a 2 percent reduction in your overall course grade, with another 2 percent off for each additional absence.   Seven or more class absences may result in automatic failure. 

Let your instructor know in advance if you know you will be late for class or if you have to leave early (e.g., job interview, court appearance).  Also let him know ahead of time if you have miss assignments for extraordinary reasons or cannot otherwise participate as expected. 


• As a student in the class, you are expected to demonstrate the following:

- intellectual engagement in the texts and topics of the course - honesty, responsibility, self-motivation, and hard work

- self-reflection and on-going assessment of your own learning

 - respect for your fellow students and teacher             

•  Specific student assignments:

- reading the week’s assigned text in advance of Tuesday’s class

- participating in class discussion (including attendance) - making oral presentations                    

- writing book reviews and comment papers

- keeping up with the course’s Canvas site and your own email

•  Email correspondence is welcome and convenient.  Please format your emails as business correspondence (with a title/greeting and signature), and I shall try to get to you emails within 24 hours—and usually much sooner—unless I am indisposed.  I may also answer on Canvas should you voice a general concern, one that it might be more useful to share with the class rather than keep to personal email.  

•  Your instructor is available during office hours, and by appointment if you can’t make office hours.  He will be usually available a few minutes before class, as well.

•  Computers, mobile ‘phones, and other electronic devices need to be turned off unless with the express permission of your instructor: using devices in class counts as a tardy, and after the third violation it will count as an absence from class and the student may be asked to leave the classroom.

•  Misconduct will detract from your participation grade.  Misconduct is any behavior disruptive to learning and includes the following: activated cell phones, iPods, laptops, etc.; personal conversations in class; studying for another class; or exhibiting other behavior as interpreted by your instructor.  Inappropriate classroom behavior may also result in your dismissal from the classroom (with that class day being counted as an absence).

•  Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259, Please inform the instructor of your condition by the 2nd week of classes. 

• Special arrangements for the assignments may be considered on an individual basis in exceptional circumstances, but only if you discuss this with the instructor in advance.

•  By UT Austin policy, you must notify your instructor of your pending absence at least fourteen days prior to the date of observance of a religious holy day. If you must miss a class, an examination, a work assignment, or a project in order to observe a religious holy day, you will be given an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time after the absence. 

Course Schedule

You are to read the book assigned the preceding week, thus on the Monday and Wednesday classes for which the book is assigned and discussed, students will have read the book (and be starting the next week’s book). 

Each week—not including weeks one and two—will proceed as follows, except for the two longest books that will take up three class days instead of two.

By Sundays at 9:00 p.m., book reviewers post their reviews on their team’s Canvas website. 

On Mondays, two students (not the book reviewers) will select passages from the text, no more than three, and read from a few sentences to a paragraph or two out loud to the class, and say what it signifies for them.  Each presentation should last five-to-ten minutes in all, but it should be tightly composed and professional: direct and to the point.

After both students have done so, they will open class discussion with a question (one each) based on the text and the presenting student’s reaction to/interaction with the writing. 

On Wednesday by 12:00 p.m., noon, the students in each team will submit their editorial memos on their teams’ online forum—responses to each “thread” that is a book review—in response to their teammate’s first draft of her/his book review.  Students may give feedback on the ideas, organization, clarity, omissions, and/or other points they think relevant.  Note that these comments themselves need to be well-argued, substantiated (page numbers, examples, quotations, etc.), and precise so as to be the most helpful to the book reviewer—as an editor would to a young writer for the newspaper/magazine/blog.

The students who write editorial memos are not those writing the book reviews, of course, and vice versa.

Part of Wednesday’s class will involve you meeting in your teams to go over the book reviews that have been printed out and brought to class by the reviewer. 

By Thursdays at 9:00 pm (at the latest) the students writing the book reviews post their polished copies on their team’s website.  The class will be taken up with further discussions about the text as well as about, where appropriate or relevant, the writing process. 

When the books do not coincide with one per week, then the schedule will be adjusted accordingly.









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LAH 350 • Self & Society In Renais Cul

29450 • Rebhorn, Wayne A
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 310
(also listed as T C 357)
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Description: This course aims to introduce students to the civilization of the Renaissance in Europe from Petrarch and Boccaccio in mid-fourteenth century Italy to Molière in mid-seventeenth century France.  Although our primary focus will be on the literature of the period, we will also consider politics, philosophy, and art, as well as social and intellectual history.  Since we cannot hope to do justice to all these subjects or to a period as immense as the Renaissance, we shall focus on two of its central preoccupations, both of which are harbingers of the modern world: first, its notion of a flexible or protean self and of identity as something shaped and manipulated by the individual; and second, its sense of the historical contingency of the social order, of society as something man-made and hence transformable.  Proceeding in chronological order, we will follow the first of these notions in autobiographical writings and in books which aimed to prescribe just how the self should be fashioned.  At the same time, we will also examine the preoccupation of the Renaissance with society in the utopian literature of the period and in a variety of works concerned with the alienation of marginal groups and with social change.  Actually, these two concerns were never really distinct from one another in the minds of Renaissance people, nor were they kept apart in the works we shall read.  Finally, we shall consider the growth of rationalism and absolutism in the course of the period which ultimately led away from the Renaissance and into the Enlightenment.   

This course aims to help students improve their writing by having them write and re-write their essays, with abundant feedback from the professor at each stage.

Texts: Boccaccio, The Decameron (Norton); More, Utopia (Barnes & Noble); Erasmus, The Praise of Folly (Penguin); Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier (Norton); Machiavelli, The Prince and Other Writings (Barnes & Noble); Lazarillo de Tormes and The Swindler (Penguin); Marlowe, Doctor Faustus (Signet); Jonson, Plays and Masques (Norton); Shakespeare, The Tempest (Signet); Molière, Tartuffe (Harvest); and a packet at the Co-op, containing Petrarch's "Ascent" and the Montaigne’s “Of Cannibals.” (Note: I have ordered new, not used, copies of the books by Boccaccio, More, and Machiavelli, and as their translator or editor, I will happily inscribe your copies for you.)

Requirements and Grading:

1. Attendance 

Students are expected to attend class. If you miss more than four classes, your grade average for the semester will be reduced by one-third of a letter grade for each additional class you miss (e.g., a B+ will become a B, a B- will become a C+). There are no excused absences. Attendance also means attending the entire meeting of the class; if you leave early without getting permission, you will be marked absent for the class. Every two latenesses will equal an absence.

2. Quizzes

There will be brief, unannounced quizzes given at the start of class throughout the semester. Each quiz will be short answer in format and will cover the reading assigned for that day. One quiz grade may be dropped without penalty. If you are absent on a quiz day or miss a quiz because of lateness, your grade for that quiz will be a zero. There will be no make-up quizzes.

3. Essays

Students will write two essays during the course of the semester, determining the topics for those essays on their own. They may derive their topics, however, from the set of study questions provided by the professor, who will also distribute general guidelines for writing essays. One essay will be shorter (at least 6 pages) and one longer (at least 12 pages), and the longer one will include references to at least two or three secondary articles or book chapters. There will be opportunities for consultation with the professor about the essays at various stages of their composition as well as an opportunity to re-write each essay. However, all re-writes will be due within a short period, usually no more than about five days after the original essay is turned in (the specific deadlines will be arranged with the professor)

All essays must be written in 12-point Times or Times Roman, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins on all sides; pages must be numbered. Footnotes must be numbered with Arabic numerals and placed at the bottom of the page. Put page references to texts (after the first reference) in a parenthesis within the body of the essay itself.

All students will be asked to compose a list of at least 5 or 6 texts (ranked in order) they wish to write on, and the professor will attempt to assign them two texts from among their top choices. They may decide to make their first essay the longer one of the two, either by composing it as such from the start, or by expanding a shorter version of that essay innitially. Alternatively, students may chose to make their second essay their longer essay. In the first case, students will have approximately three weeks to turn that first essay into their longer essay by adding secondary materials they might read. The first draft of that longer essay will be due on the date when the class reads the text involved, and students will have five days after the essay is returned to them to complete any necessary revisions.

4. Oral reports. Students will present oral reports (about 5 minutes long) on both of their papers to the class, presentations that should ideally help to initiate class discussion.

5. Grading. The final grade will be determined by the short essay (25%), the longer essay (50%), the quizzes (15%) and class participation, which will include the students' oral presentation of their essays (10%).

6. Exams. There will be no exams.

7. Final Grades. Final grades will use the plus/minus system. 


Course Schedule

(If a text is assigned for a given day, the entire text must be read for that day, unless otherwise noted.)

Aug.      27.   Introduction. Machiavelli's letter to Francesco Vettori.

Sept.       1.    Petrarch, "The Ascent of Mt. Ventoux" (packet).

               3.    Boccaccio, The Decameron, Preface; Day 1: Introduction, Stories 1-5, Conclusion.

               8.    The Decameron, Day 2: Stories 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, Conclusion.

              10.   The Decameron, Day 3: Introduction, Stories 1, 2, 10; Day 4: Introduction, Stories 1, 2, 5, 9.

              15.   The Decameron, Day 5: Stories 4, 8, 9; Day 6: Introduction, Stories 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, Conclusion.

              17.   The Decameron, Day 7: Stories 1, 2, 4, 9; Day 8: Stories 3, 5, 6, 7, 9.

              22.   The Decameron, Day 9: Introduction, Stories 2, 3, 5, 10, Conclusion; Day 10: Stories 4, 6, 10,

                         Conclusion; The Author's Conclusion.

              24.   More, Utopia, Book 1.

              29.   Utopia, Book 2.

Oct.           1.    Erasmus, The Praise of Folly.

                 6.    The Praise of Folly.

                 8.    Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, Book 1.                                               

                13.   The Book of the Courtier, Books 2 and 3 (you may omit sections 51-58 of Book 2 and 24-37,

                         42-50, and 65-73 of Book 3).

                15.   The Book of the Courtier, Book 4.

                20.   Machiavelli, The Prince.

                22.   The Prince

                27.   Lazarillo de Tormes.

                29.   Marlowe, Doctor Faustus.

Nov.            3.   Doctor Faustus.

                  5.   Montaigne, “Of Cannibals” (packet).

                 10.   Shakespeare, The Tempest.

                 12.   The Tempest.                                                                                                             

                 17.   No class.

                 19.   Quevedo, The Swindler, Book 1.

                 24. The Swindler, Book 2.

                 26. No class (Thanksgiving).                                                                                          

 Dec.           1.   Moliere, Tartuffe.

                  3.   Tartuffe and Teaching Evaluations.

Other Policies:

Honor Code: The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.

Academic Integrity: Any work submitted by a student in this course for academic credit will be the student's own work. For additional information on Academic Integrity, see

Documented Disability Statement: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with dis­abilities. For more information, contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (video phone) or

Religious Holy Days: By UT Austin policy, you must notify me of your pending absence at least fourteen days prior to the date of observance of a reli­gious holy day. If you must miss a class, an examination, a work assignment, or a project in order to observe a religious holy day, I will give you an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time after the absence.







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LAH 350 • The Graphic Novel

29455 • Doherty, Brian
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CAL 323
(also listed as E 324C)
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E 324C  l  The Graphic Novel-HONORS

Instructor:  Doherty, B

Unique #:  34430

Semester:  Fall 2015

Cross-lists:  LAH 350

Flags:  Writing

Restrictions:  English Honors; Liberal Arts Honors

Computer Instruction:  No

E 324 (Topic: Themes in the Graphic Novel) and 324C may not both be counted.

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Some of the more exciting forms of literary expression in the past decades have come from Graphic Novels. We’ll look at some theories and examples of the emergence of the Graphic Novel, possibly through the career of Art Spiegelman, and discuss basic graphic novel literacy. We will look at a sample of the graphic novels that have had a great impact on readers here and abroad. In our reading, we will identify several kinds of themes: historical novels, speculative, socially engaged novels, and novels that work as queries into the intensely personal. Our analysis will involve the combination of prose and graphics, as well as the sequencing that defines the graphic novel against other kinds of literature. Some specific topics be literature into graphic novel and the graphic novel as world literature.

Texts (A partial list, subject to change): Bechdel, Allison. Are You My Mother • Crumb, R. Kafka • Hergé. The Adventures of Tintin • Kafka, Franz (and others). The Castle: A Graphic Novel • Lutes, Jason. Berlin, City of Stones and Berlin: City of Smoke • Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis, I and II • Spiegelman, Art. Maus I and II • Vaughn, Brian. Pride of Baghdad.

Students will write one paper on a series of their choosing, subject to approval.

Requirements & Grading: Participation in Class discussion, 10%; Quizzes on Reading, 10%; Independent reading paper (politics, history, and culture), 15%; Independent reading paper (literature into graphic novel), 15%;Occasional Writing: Canvas posts, short assignments, 10%; Prospectus, bibliography for final paper, 10%; Final Paper (8-10 pages), 30%.

LAH 350 • Writing Nonfiction

29465 • Curtis, Gregory B
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ 1.104
(also listed as T C 325)
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Overview – This is a rigorous course for students who want to learn to write well. We focus on writing profiles and narratives based on research and personal experience. This is decidedly not a course about writing journals, diaries, or self-revelation. Students’ work is read and discussed in class. The assigned reading, with one exception, consists of work by contemporary writers. All this work is legally available for free on the web or on reserve in PCL. The one exception is A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner 1964), which is available at the Co-Op as well as in used book stores. The readings are also discussed in class.

This course carries the Writing Flag. Writing Flag courses are designed to give students experience with writing. In this class, you will write regularly during the semester, complete substantial writing projects, and receive feedback from me to help you improve your writing. You will also have the opportunity to revise one or more assignments, and you will be asked to read and discuss your peers’ work. Your grade will mostly depend on the quality of your written work. Writing Flag classes meet the Core Communications objectives of critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and personal responsibility, established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This course may be used to fulfill three hours of the communication component of the university core curriculum.

If you must miss class or an assignment in order to observe a religious holy day, you should notify me at least fourteen days in advance. You will be allowed to complete the missed work within a reasonable time.

Any student with a documented disability who requires academic accommodations should contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 471- 6259 (voice) or 512-410-6644 (Video Phone) as soon as possible to request an official letter outlining authorized accommodations.


Grading Information

Assignment   % of Final Grade

Self-portrait     3  

Quizzes           12           3 Profiles         25

3 Narratives     25 

3 Free Choic    35I read, comment on, and grade your work the way a professional editor would. I’ll be looking at the overall organization of each assignment, at its shape and rhythm, and at the structure of sentences and paragraphs. I am very particular about grammar and usage. Your words should really mean what you think they mean; your sentences should really say what you are trying to say. Proofread your papers carefully. Remember, running spell check on your computer is not a substitute for proofreading. It annoys me to find, for example, “night” when the intended word is “knight” or “witch” when the intended word is “which”.

All other things being equal, a paper that is clear, interesting, savvy, coherent, and surprising gets an A. A paper that is clear and interesting enough gets a B. A paper that is organized just well enough but is otherwise work-a-day and plodding gets a C. Beyond that lies the abyss. I do not give plus/minus grades.

I do not accept late assignments except… Those exceptions are rare.

Don’t take the chance. Work is due at the beginning of class.

Most classes will begin with a short quiz about the reading. The quizzes will not be hard. They will be true/false questions and the like. It won’t be necessary to study for them. If you have simply read the assignment, you will get every question right.

If a final grade is on the borderline, I will look for a reason to raise it.

I’m not promising I’ll find such a reason, but I am promising to look. One reason would be consistent, helpful comments during class discussion.

Another reason would be a pattern of improvement. I don’t want a low grade, or even two, to be fatal, especially if those grades are on assignments early in the semester.

I consider plagiarism a serious offense. Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s writing as your own. Do not do so.

Please come see me whenever you wish, especially if you havequestions or are having problems. You are welcome to stop by my office on the spur of the moment. If I am free, I will be happy to see you. It is best, however, to make an appointment by seeing me before or after class or by contacting me by email or telephone. I am in my campus office between 9:30 and 11 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and between 9:30 and noon on Tuesday and Thursday. It is also sometimes possible to arrange appointments outside those office hours. Let me emphasize again, don’t hesitate to come see me

Assignments – Please turn in a hard copy of your assignment at the beginning of class on the indicated date and email the assignment to me as a Word or Pages attachment (not a pdf). Please put your name, a title, and the word count at the beginning of each assignment. Do not exceed the assigned word count. Number your pages!!!

Always bring a copy of the reading assignment to class. You will need it during class discussion.




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LAH 350 • Money In Amer Politics

29470 • Roberts, Brian
Meets W 330pm-630pm WAG 208
(also listed as GOV 379S, HMN 350)
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     This course explores the nature and consequences of money in American politics and why, at this point in history, we find ourselves embroiled in the most significant debate over campaign finance reform in over thirty years.   The debate goes to the heart of the U.S. Constitution, pitting the First Amendment rights of speech and assembly against the perceived fairness and efficacy of a republican government awash, some claim, in increasingly unaccountable money.

     Campaign finance issues lie at the crossroads of a bewildering number of analytical perspectives.  We (must) examine the work of historians, social scientists, legal scholars, and interested parties on all sides of the debate in an effort not only to assess current policy debates but also to understand how we got here.  During the course we confront and seek answers to a host of questions, including, but by no means limited to,

- How will corporations respond to the Supreme Court’s recent decision permitting unlimited political advertising?

- Why did most 2008 presidential candidates abandon the system of public financing for presidential elections? -Why does the public believe that corporations play such a large role in funding federal election campaigns?

-Why does the Supreme Court allow public perceptions to determine the constitutionality of campaign finance laws?

-Why do U.S. Senators refuse to report their campaign finance activity electronically to the Federal Election Commission?

-How and why is the Internet treated differently than other means of political communication by campaign finance laws?

-What are the consequences of unlimited individual contributions to state election candidates in Texas?

Texts and Works:

Corrado, Anthony, et al. The New Campaign Finance Sourcebook. 2004. Washington D.C.: Brooking Institution; Corrado, Anthony and David Magleby Financing the 2008 Election. 2010. Washington D.C.: Brooking Institution; McChesney, Fred. Money For Nothing: Politicians, Rent Extraction, and Political Extortion.  1997. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; Urofsky, Melvin., Money & Free Speech: Campaign Finance Reform and the Courts. 2005. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press. Other readings as assigned

Grading Policy:

     In addition to a midterm exam and meeting expectations of strong class participation, students engage in two significant projects over the course of the semester, first in the role of campaign finance consultants advising either a candidate or a political action committee, and second as members of a legal team preparing for a (marginally fictitious) Supreme Court case confronting the constitutional challenges posed by campaign finance laws.



LAH 358Q • Supervised Research

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Supervised Research. Individual instruction. Prerequisite: A
University grade point average of at least 3.50 and consent of the
liberal arts honors program adviser. Only one LAH 358Q may be applied towards college honors. Course may be repeated.