POLSC229-21B (NET)

US Politics

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Political Science and Public Policy

Staff

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Convenor(s)

Lecturer(s)

Administrator(s)

: frances.douch@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)

Tutor(s)

Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)

Librarian(s)

: melanie.chivers@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
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Paper Description

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Even in our remote corner of the world, the political system of the United States commands a great deal of attention - especially in presidential election years. There is a long history of describing each US presidential campaign as "the most important" of our generation, but if nothing else the latest campaign seems deeply consequential. As we move beyond the 2020 presidential election, the United States and its people grapple with major economic and social challenges: unemployment, national debt, protests, civil/political division, the events of January 6, and over six hundred thousand dead in the midst of a global pandemic. This course is designed to help us better understand the domestic processes that govern the US political system; in turn, we will be well positioned to explain these current – and future - challenges, along with (the viability of) potential solutions.

Students enrolled in this course will benefit from developing a more accurate foundation for comparison with other countries (e.g. comparative politics & policy), a deeper understanding of various external influences on governance (e.g. media, communications, and political behaviour), and a stronger grasp of US motivations abroad (e.g. international relations), to name a few examples. The paper is also clearly relevant to a more general audience, by providing greater understanding of the world’s major cultural, economic, and political force.

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Paper Structure

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This course is taught via two one-hour lectures per week, and a one-hour weekly tutorial. Each lecture will be recorded via Panopto, and will take a ‘mini lecture’ format that will complement the weekly online lessons on Moodle. Zoom tutorial sessions will be offered for NET students, as well as for TGA students looking for an alternative to physical tutorials. These tutorials will be broadcast via Zoom from the allocated TGA tutorial room and time – starting in Week 2, providing a blended online and face-to-face learning environment.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • 1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the political origins and foundational elements of the United States.
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  • 2. Explain how the major governing institutions in the United States function, and the enduring features that limit this functionality.
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  • 3. Identify the various pathways in which the public influence US government, including public opinion formation, political participation, interest groups, elections, and media coverage.
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  • 4. Integrate an understanding of major contemporary policy issues of the United States, with an analysis of efforts to resolve these issues within the framework of the US political system.
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  • 5. More broadly, further develop and hone the analytical, and communication skills expected of BSocSc and BA graduates.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessment

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Weekly online lessons
20
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. First online test
27 Aug 2021
5:00 PM
25
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Essay
4 Oct 2021
5:00 PM
30
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Second online test
15 Oct 2021
5:00 PM
25
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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All the required readings for this course will be available as online resources, so you do not need to purchase a personal copy of any of the readings. The readings will vary across a number of textbooks and journal articles, including:

Landy, Marc. American Government: Enduring Principles and Critical Choices. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Kernell, Samuel, et al. The logic of American politics. Cq Press, 2017.

McKay, David. American politics and society. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Valelly, Richard M. American Politics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2013.

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Online Support

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This course uses Moodle and presumes that all enrolled students will check it regularly for course information.

Additional information and any changes to the programme will be advised by email, announced in lectures, and posted on the course Moodle site.

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Workload

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Students should spend approximately 150 hours on this course over the semester. This equates to 12.5 hours per week and includes working on and preparing for all assessment items.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite(s)

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

Restricted papers: POLS229

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