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Congressional Politics



Course Description

This course focuses on the United States Congress and encourages students to explore the complexities of congressional politics. Students will be introduced to political science scholarship on Congress to better understand the historical development of the institution, congressional elections and representation, the legislative process, and decision-making in Congress. A major aspect of this course is a congressional simulation. In the first half of the quarter, students will “work for” a specific member of Congress. Assignments will be reflective of the type of work congressional staffers do every day. In the second half of the quarter, students will participate in a legislative simulation as a member of Congress. The simulation will include party caucus meetings, committee hearings and markups, and House/Senate floor simulations. This course is intended to teach students about the intricacies of congressional politics in an interactive (and hopefully fun!) way. Students will learn and develop skills necessary to understand the legislative process and work in a congressional office.


Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Read and understand academic literature on congressional politics

  • Critically analyze the evolution of Congress as an institution

  • Articulate the legislative process in Congress

  • Understand the complexity of congressional policymaking

  • See improvement in their written and oral communication skills

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