Political Science | American Political Controversies
Y100 | 5788 | Jacek Dalecki

POLS-Y 100 American Political Controversies – Jacek Dalecki
Politics is the study and practice of the decision-making process
involved in managing a state or a government.  It deals with “who gets
what, when and how” or “who could do what to whom,” to use celebrated
phrases.  Because political relations involve power and authority,
politics and controversy go hand in hand, either overtly or covertly.
This course will explore several controversies that have permeated
American politics, ranging from contentions about the rationale behind
the American political system (motivations of the Founding Fathers,
the Electoral College) through disagreements over the essence of
public policies (immigration, death penalty, support for the Arts) to
debates about civil rights and liberties (affirmative action,
abortion, gay rights, freedom of expression).  We will focus on what
types of arguments have been used to endorse/reject specific views and
how arguments in favor of/against these views have been produced.  The
goal of the course is thus two-fold: to examine key debates present in
American politics and to appreciate the art of making effective
political arguments.