Rutgers University, Fall 2016

Course Description: This course explores scholarly debates and theories to help address the major questions about Congress that we hear every day. Why is Congress so unpopular? How representative is Congress of the American public? How are laws actually made? What are the causes and consequences of party polarization in Congress? What institutional factors impact policy outcomes? How does money matter in Congress? The goal of this course is to take us beyond the realm of popular opinion and media commentators, and to help us develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of congressional politics. Students are encouraged to bring relevant news articles to class for the purpose of discussion.

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Congressional Politics
American Party Politics
Rutgers University, Spring 2015
Course Description: This course explores scholarly debates surrounding the purpose, roles, and overall influence of political parties in the United States. We will focus primarily on three different conceptions of parties in American politics literature: parties as organizations (groups of people working to elect candidates), parties in the electorate (mass opinions and voter behavior), and parties in government (coalitions formed in governing institutions). In what ways do we define political parties? To what extent do our definitions capture the broad functions of political parties? What factors contribute to stronger and more polarized political parties in the United States? What is the relationship between political parties and democracy? We will continually return to these key questions throughout the course of the semester.
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