Department of Political Science

PSC 121 Democracy in America

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Old Political Science Field: American PoliticsPolitical PhilosophyIntroductory Courses

This course is archived. It will not be offered again.

James Johnson
Fall 2004

Course Syllabus

Democracy literally means "rule by the people." This seminar in political theory will explore various questions that this basic definition raises in the context of 20th-century American politics. What can we expect of "the people"? How, indeed, do we even envision "the people"? What is the role of communication, especially modern media, in creating and sustaining "the people"? How might we think about the ways in which power and communication intersect in modern democracies? In many respects this course is experimental. It aims to draw connections between texts and theorists that have not been made before. So we will be exploring new terrain. Students will learn what it means to think like a political theorist. Enrollment is restricted to freshmen - no exceptions. Grades will be based on class participation - given that this is a small seminar, be prepared to talk! - and several short papers (meaning about five pages each) on assigned topics that emerge from the readings and class discussion.