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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: POLS511 Course ID: 3552 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course examines the organization and behavior of political parties and interest groups within the American political system. The course emphasizes the extent to which these organizations operate differently across the national, state, and local levels of government.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/28/20 - 06/04/21 06/07/21 - 08/01/21 Spring 2021 Session D 8 Week session
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session
06/28/21 - 12/03/21 12/06/21 - 01/30/22 Fall 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Course Objective 1: Analyze the past and future of the American party system.

Course Objective 2: Investigate the role of race, age, gender, class, and occupation in voting behavior.

Course Objective 3: Consider the advantages and disadvantages of various party nomination systems.

Course Objective 4: Debate the role of political parties in presidential nominations.

Course Objective 5: Understand the history of major party performance in the Electoral College.

Course Objective 6: Dissect the theory and practice of responsible party government.

Course Objective 7: Apply pluralist theory, disturbance theory, and collective action theory to contemporary American politics.

Course Objective 8: Identify the four major types of political action committees, with examples.

Course Requirements: You final grade is a compilation of the following:

Forum Participation. Questions are posted for you to research and discuss. You are expected to post your initial response by Friday at 11:55 pm and reply substantively to your classmates by Sunday at 11:55 pm.

Research paper: A 3000-3500 word research paper is due Sunday at 11:55 of the seventh week. Topics must be approved by the professor. Possible topics include:

-campaign finance

-super PACs

-party in the electorate

-party as an organization

-parties in government

-Congressional parties

-presidents and political parties

-critical elections/ partisan realignment

-third parties

-independent voters

-theories of interest groups

-interest group society critiques

-interest group entrepreneurs

-lobbying regulations

-analyze the goals and strategies of a specific interest group

Final Exam. There will be an open book essay final exam, with two essay questions. The exam is due Sunday at 11:55 pm of the eighth week.

Recommended reading

Political Parties

Leon D. Epstein, Political Parties in the American Mold (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986).

Marc J. Hetherington and Bruce A. Larson, Parties, Politics, and Public Policy in America, 11th edition (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2009).

Paul S. Herrnson, Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington, 6th edition (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2011

Sidney Milkis, Political Parties and Constitutional Government: Remaking American Democracy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999).

James Reichley, The Life of the Parties (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000).

Interest Groups

Jeffrey M. Berry, The Interest Group Society (New York: Longman, 2009).

Allen J. Cigler and Burdett Loomis, Interest Group Politics (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2011), 8th edition.

Matt Grossman, The Not-So-Special Interests: Interest Groups, Public Representation, and American Governance (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012).

Paul S. Herrnson, Clyde Wilcox, and Ronald G. Shaiko, The Interest Group Connection: Electioneering, Lobbying, and Policymaking in Washington (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2004).

Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965).

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Links provided inside the classroom.
Author: No Author Specified
Book Title:A History of the U.S. Political System : Ideas, Interests, and Institutions (e-book available through the APUS Online Library)
Publication Info:ABC CLIO
Author:Tichenor, D. and Harris, R.
Unit Cost:$326.40

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.