Course Description

Course Name

American Politics

Session: VGSS3120

Hours & Credits

20 Scotcat Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Overview

The course provides a broad overview of all key aspects of contemporary American politics, including governmental and non-governmental institutions, elections and voting behaviour, and policy-making.

The course provides a broad overview of all key aspects of contemporary American politics, including governmental and non-governmental institutions, elections and voting behaviour and policy-making. It is set, implicitly, within a comparative context in order to analyse the similarities and differences between the American political system and equivalent advanced industrial nations in Western Europe. The US is often held up as the epitome of a free and democratic republic, and the course will critically examine this claim - as the world?s most powerful and wealthy nation-state, it is important that we have a grasp of its role in twenty first century global politics. As Obama continues his presidency - what are the key challenges facing the 44th incumbent of the Oval Office, in terms of formulating public policy, and how dependent is he on the other branches of the political system i.e. Congress, the Supreme Court, and the states? Overall, the course will familiarise students with the main features of the American political system, teach them about the methodology that lies behind the academic study of an advanced industrial political system, and equip them to analyse the related issues in a critical way.

By the end of this course students will be able to:
? Outline the political institutions of the United States.
? Understand the political-cultural conditions which sustain those institutions.
? Explain political change in the United States.
? Compare the American political system to those of the advanced industrialised countries of Western Europe.

Assessment:
An essay of 2,000-2,500 words counts for 50% of the final grade with 50% based on an unseen two-hour exam in which students must tackle two questions.

*Course content subject to change