POL 295 - Special Topics in American Politics
Credits: 3 in fall and winter, 4 in spring
Prerequisite: May vary with topic. A seminar in political science for students at the introductory or intermediate level. Topic, hour, and instructor are announced prior to registration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Spring 2019, POL 295-02: Special Topic: Minority Rights and Gerrymandering (4). An introduction to the history of voting-rights discrimination in the United States with a particular focus on gerrymandering. The course begins with a study of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and how it has evolved through congressional amendments and Supreme Court decisions. We then investigate theories of minority representation and democracy. To place the theoretical aspects of the course into practical perspective, the course includes a lab component in which students learn to use redistricting software (ArcMap). We use Virginia elections and census data to produce alternative election maps of Virginia to demonstrate how we can make elections fairer and more competitive and create more opportunities for minority representation. (SS2) Rush, Kuettner.
Spring 2019, POL 295-03: Special Topic: Campaign Journalism in the Age of High-Tech Populism (3). Experiential Learning. An examination of how to cover the men and women who run for President of the United States, beyond the outside-the-Beltway method of "parachute journalism". Topics include "pack journalism" and its impact on how Americans view the candidates and the issues; the role of national and political parties and whether they have any meaningful impact on the voters; how local issues shape votes; and the influence of the national media on voter's sentiments. The instructor, an active journalist, leads the students in their real-time fieldwork, with each student assigned to research and prepare a remote story in a primary-election or general-election state, one to be published in the Washington Examiner. The student's work receives the same full edit, fact-checking, and follow-through as any other print story. (SS2) Zito.
Winter 2019, POL 295A-01: Topic: The Administrative State - Law, Ethics, and Change (3). An introduction to the legal framework of American constitutional and administrative government. This course covers the development of principles of separated legislative, executive and judicial functions; the combination of those functions in the modern administrative agency; and the predominantly procedural responses of the legal system to the continuing questions of legitimacy raised by this allocation of authority. (SS2) Murchison.
Winter 2019, POL 295B-01: Special Topic: The Material Culture of Protest (3). What is the meaning of that rainbow sticker on your friend's computer? Does the slogan on your t-shirt make history? Why did millions of women don hand-knitted pink pussy hats for the 2017 Women's March? Objects from 18th-century anti-slavery medallions to 21st-century bumper stickers have long been important tools for social, economic, and political change. Students investigate the relationship between this kind of material culture and political protest, curating an exhibit about the objects of protest they have studied. Students should plan on a required, fully funded field trip to Washington D.C. to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History. (SS2) LeBlanc, Fuchs.
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