History | Modern Presidential Elections: Substance and Image in Political Campaigns
J300 | 14034 | Sandweiss

A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class COLL intensive writing section
Above class open to undergraduates only

This class will use the 2008 election as an opportunity to study
history in the making. As we analyze the issues, debates, and press
coverage of the campaign’s final weeks, we will also place this
year’s contest into a tradition--beginning with the 1952 election--of
campaigns played out through the electronic mass media.  What is the
political substance of these contests, and how important is the image
presented by candidates through television, radio, newspapers, and
magazines?  Has the new-media explosion given us greater access to
the people we charge with the job of leading our nation?  Or does it
simply offer the illusion of greater public involvement?  In addition
to studying up-to-date press coverage, we will consider important
books, films, and TV footage, dating from the 1950s to the present,
that document the changing nature of political campaigning.

This is a writing-intensive class.  In individual and group settings,
we will work together to develop your skills as a historical writer
and to integrate them with oral and visual communication techniques.
In total, you will write approximately 25-30 pages during the term,
as well as conducting original historical research.