American Government

GOVT 30.02 (Identical to PBPL 52)

Leadership and Political Institutions

Course Description

GOVT 30.04

Political Misinformation and Conspiracy Theories

Course Description:

Why do people hold false or unsupported beliefs about politics and why are so those beliefs so hard to change? This course will explore the psychological factors that make people vulnerable to political misinformation and conspiracy theories and the reasons that corrections so often fail to change their minds. We will also analyze how those tendencies are exploited by political elites and consider possible approaches that journalists and civic reformers could employ to combat misperceptions.

GOVT 30.12 (Identical to PBPL 027)

Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Course Description:

Since John F. Kennedy's 1961 executive order to implement affirmative action policies, institutions of higher education have looked for ways to encourage minority and low-income students to matriculate.  Some public and private institutions have experienced lawsuits against the policy's implementation.  As universities stress their desire for a diverse, well-rounded, high achieving student body—and a healthy balance sheet, there is disagreement about which method of selecting students is both effective and fair.  How can educational administrators, parents and community members work together to improve college access?  Has affirmative action outlived its original purpose or must we continue taking "affirmative action to ensure that applicants are…treated…without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin"?  Has the college access gap widened or shrunk?  Do students' lived experiences match the goal of equal opportunity?  In this course, students and guest lecturers from a full range of political perspectives will explore the topic of affirmative action through some traditional classroom techniques (reading/ writing/ discussion) as well as experiential education techniques (creating public policy proposals, conversing with affirmative action professionals at Dartmouth, and pitching proposals to a panel of policy experts). 


Congress and The American Political System

Course Description:

This course introduces students to the analysis of public policy making in the U.S. Congress. Special attention is paid to the evolution of the House and Senate as institutions, to elections and to the interactions among elections, institutional arrangements, and policy making. Prerequisite: Government 3, or instructor permission.


Political Psychology

Course Description:

This class examines the psychological origins of citizens' political beliefs and actions. We analyze different aspects of human psychology, including personality, motivation, values, information processing and emotion. This course is for anyone who has ever wondered how people form their political opinions, why they vote the way they do, and whether ordinary citizens are well suited to democracy.  Readings will be drawn from political science and psychology. GOVT 3 is a prerequisite for this class.