American Politics

GOVT 83.06

Political Communication

Course Description:

The seminar provides an overview of research in political communication with special reference to work on the impact of the mass media on public opinion and voting behavior. Students are asked to submit three papers. Two will be critical syntheses of a designated subset of the readings. These short papers (3 pages, double-spaced) will set the agenda for in-class discussion. The fourth paper will be more extensive; you are asked to propose a line of research that extends the state of knowledge in a particular sub-field of political communication. The research proposal will account for 40 percent of the course grade with the remainder being divided (evenly) between the two review papers and class participation.

GOVT 83.09 (Identical to QSS 30.08)

Misperceptions in Politics: When Do They Matter and Why?

Course Description

GOVT 83.21 (Identical to QSS 30.03)

Experiments in Politics

Course Description

Note: Depending on the instructor, this course will adopt a different focus. When Prof. Crabtree offers the course, the focus will be on racial and gender discrimination. Prof. Costa will focus on voters' evaluations of politicians. Prof. Nyhan will focus his seminar on misinformation.

GOVT 83.24 (Identical to PBPL 84.04)

Inequality and American Democracy

Course Description

GOVT 83.27 (Identical to PBPL 83.02)

Public Policy and Politics

Course Description:

This course explores political factors that influence the development of public policies as well as possible attitudinal and behavioral policy feedback effects on the population after their implementation. Public opinion will be central to the course with students encouraged to analyze survey data and polls. In most years, the class will have a topical issue focus (e.g., health care, climate change, retirement, immigration) depending upon world events and trends. GOVT 10, or equivalent, is a prerequisite for this class.

GOVT 83.28

Persuasion and the Policy Process

Course Description:

This class examines how people form policy preferences and the process by which those preferences do—or do not—get translated into public policies in the United States. The course examines three aspects of this process:  elite rhetorical strategy, the media routines that generate coverage of policy debates, and mass opinion.  We will assess the way political elites, the media, and ordinary people interact to create policies that can be either intelligent or pathological. GOVT 3 is a prerequisite for this class.