| American Political Controversies
Y100 | 3267 | Bickers
Politics is more than episodic scandals and chronic corruption, and
more than conflicts between contending interest groups and parties.
Politics is also about ideas, issues, and potential solutions to public
problems. In American politics, much of what underlies the day-to-day
machinations of politicians are fundamental debates about the ends to which
power should be put, the religious and social values that should influence
public policies, the extent to which equality should be embodied in social
and economic life, and tradeoffs between social order and individual
This course is about these perennial issues in American politics.
It is about the fundamental debates about values that underlie day-to-day
politics. We will explore what these values are, tradeoffs among values,
and how they influence political issues that are in the news on a daily
basis. We will strive to understand how politics erupts out of the tradeoffs
among these values. In this way, we will become more literate about
Required reading for the course includes one book, Glenn Tinder's Political
Thinking: The Perennial Questions, 6th ed., and a subscription to Washington
Post Weekly. Throughout the ten weeks of the course, we will talk about
current events, in the context of the values and perennial issues that
underlie these events. While the course will include some lecture, it will
also feature smaller group discussion, and video presentations. This course
assumes no prior knowledge of politics or political science. The only
prerequisite is a curiosity about politics, a willingness to examine your
own views, and to engage with others in some discussions about politics.
Y100 may be repeated once for credit for different topics; however,
political science majors may count the course only once for credit in the
major. The course is especially geared to non-majors.