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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "PL 201-1"
COURSE NAME: "American Government "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Pamela Harris
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 10:00-11:15 AM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS: tbd

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course examines the main principles of American government – democracy, federalism and the separation of powers – and the legislative, executive and judicial institutions that simultaneously embody and challenge them. Special attention will be paid to such topics as state and local governments, political parties and elections, the role of the people, civil rights, the role of the media, American political culture and foreign policy.

SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
1.     Introduction to American democracy
2.     The American Constitution: history
3.     Federalism
4.     Legislative Branch
5.     Executive Branch
6.     Judicial Branch
7.     Civil Rights
8.     American Political Culture
9.     Civil Liberties: free speech, religion, racial justice, gender equality
10.   State Governments
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
1.     Understanding of the basic principles animating American government.
2.     Familiarity with the institutional mechanisms of American government.
3.     Ability to understand and critically evaluate the interplay between principles and institutions.
4.     Enriched understanding of contemporary U.S. politics
TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Political Institutions in the United States Richard S. KatzOxford 978-0-19-928383-5  
How Democratic is the American Constitution? Robert Dahl Yale UPebook  
The Warren Court and the Pursuit of JusticeMorton J. HorwitzHill and Wang978-0809016259  
Strangers in Their Own Land Arlie HochshildNew Press978-1620972250  
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Participation 10%
Midterm examination 25%
Research Paper  35%
Final examination 30%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cou
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
Class participation, for which attendance is fundamental, counts for 10% of the final grade. You are allowed 2 "free" absences, beyond which they may start to pull down this part of your grade.
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

Week 1    Introduction to American democracy   
                Dahl, How Democratic is the American Constitution?, chs. 1-3

Week 2    Constitutional history      
                Katz, Political Institutions in the United States, ch. 1

Week 3    Federalism                                       
                Katz, ch. 2; Madison, Federalists 10 and 51

Week 4    Legislative Branch   
                Katz, ch. 6; Mann & Orenstein

Weeks 5  Executive Branch 

& 6          Katz, ch. 5; Dahl, ch. 4; Federalist 68; Sunstein, Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide, chs. 6, 9-10

Week 7    Midterm review and examination        
                study and present midterm review questions  

Week 8    Judicial Branch      
                Katz, ch. 8; Horwitz, The Warren Court and the Pursuit of Justice, chs. 1-3; Federalist 78      

Week 9    Civil Rights              
                Horwitz, ch. 3, Coates, Eyes on the Prize 

Week 10  American Political Culture 
                Hochshild, Strangers in Their Own Land

Weeks 11  Civil Liberties                              
& 12         Horwitz, chs. 4-7

Week 13  State and local governments 
                Presentations

Week 14   A more democratic constitution?
                 Dahl, chs. 5-8, Balkin