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Undergraduate Bulletin 2009-2010
Bulletin Homepage |Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy | Courses in American Politics

Courses in American Politics

R POS 303 (= R PAD 304 & R PUB 303) Public Policy in Theory and Practice (3)
Examines the theoretical foundations of public policy research, of alternative models of public policy formation, their methodologies, and the relationship between the theory and practice of the policy sciences. Inquiries into the practice of public policy; focuses on actual policies in a substantive area. Only one version of R POS 303 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): R POS 101 or 140, or junior or senior standing.

R POS 319 American Political Development (3)
A study of the historical shaping of American politics. Encompassing institutions, public policies, political culture, and political economy, American Political Development uncovers patterns of political stability and change. It explores critical episodes in American political history in a theoretically-informed fashion. Prerequisite(s): R POS 101.

R POS 320 American Federalism (3)
This course focuses on the theoretical, constitutional, and political dimensions of American federalism, including the tensions between the planes of government, interstate relations, and the problem-solving capabilities of the federal system. Particular emphasis is placed upon the formal powers of each plane of government and the limitations upon these powers. The reasons for and the political significance of the increasing use of preemption powers by the Congress will be examined.

R POS 321 (= R PUB 321; formerly R POS 205) State and Local Government (3)
Course focus is on intergovernmental relations; the interdependent roles of governors, legislatures, and courts in policymaking and implementation; the organization, functions, and jurisdiction of local governments; interaction of political parties and interest groups with formal institutions and processes; and problems in selected functional areas. Emphasis will be placed upon socio-economic trends leading to change in state and local governments, consequent issues raised, and proposals made in response to such issues. Only one of R POS 321 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): R POS 101.

R POS 323 Urban Government (3)
Examines governmental patterns in major urban areas of the United States. Considers the nature of a municipal corporation, forms of government, state-local relations, and urban politics.

R POS 324 (= A LCS 375) Latino Politics in the United States (3)
This course reviews Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban participation, perspectives and issues on American politics. Each Latino sub-group will be analyzed and comparisons will be made between Latino sub-groups and between Latinos and other groups. The following questions will be examined: What is the context of Latino politics? What characterizes Latino political behavior? What is the place of Latinos in the U.S. political system? What are the political perspectives and values? What issues form the basis of their political mobilization and incorporation? What are their political prospects? We will be concerned with relevant historical, interpretive, and theoretical issues raised by the Latino political experience, with an emphasis on electoral representation, issues of gender, race, and ethnicity, education, affirmative action, and radical politics. Only one version of R POS 324 may be taken for credit.

R POS 325 (= R PUB 325) The Government and Politics of New York State (3)
Introduction to the major political governmental institutions in New York. Examines the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government; the nature of parties and election, and of selected policy questions. Only one version of R POS 325 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): R POS 321. May not be offered in 2009-2010.

R POS 329/329Z (= R PAD 329/329Z) Bureaucratic Politics (3)
Examination of political behavior within and among administrative agencies, focusing on the sources of power in the bureaucracy and the ways in which agencies use their political resources to shape public policy. Only one version of R POS 329 may be taken for credit.

R POS 331 American Legislatures (3)
Examination of the legislative function in the American political system. Inquiry into the sources of legislative power, the institutions involved in formulating legislation, and the people who participate in the legislative process. This course is recommended for students contemplating a legislative internship.

R POS 332 The Presidency (3)
The principal institutions, functions, and problems of the executive branch of government. Emphasizes the President as political leader, head of state, and administrator, as well as on his relations with Congress.
R POS 334 American Political Parties and Groups (3)
Examination of the theory, organizational forms, and dynamics of political group formation and activity, with special attention given to the political party system, interest groups, political leadership and electoral behavior.

R POS 337 Campaigns and Elections in U.S. (3)
This course will examine how people run for office in the United States. We will examine elections for the presidency, Congress, etc. Topics will include the decision to run prenomination and general election campaigns; the role of parties; interest groups; media; campaign finance; advertising and other campaign techniques. The assignments also include historical comparisons to consider what makes some elections more significant than others. We need to ask what elections really decide besides who holds office. Ultimately, the basic issue is whether the structure and content of U.S. elections fosters or distorts democratic representation.

R POS 340 (= R PUB 340) Introduction to Policy Analysis (3)
Policy analysis involves advising policy makers about political, technical, and implementation feasibility of their options. This course will introduce students to different roles played by analysts, techniques of analysis, and to the range of generic policy implements. Only one version of R POS 340 may be taken for credit.

R POS 341 (= R PUB 341) Washington in Perspective (3)
A course using current government and politics to evaluate political science treatments of the process. Offered as part of the spring Washington Semester program. Admission by application. Enrollment limited. Preference given POS Honors students. For information and applications, see Department of Political Science office or website. Deadlines and interviews in the early fall. Prerequisite(s): R POS 101, one 300 level course in American government, junior standing. Corequisite(s): R POS 342 and 495Z, or R PUB 342 and 490Z.

R POS 365 Government and the Mass Media (3)
Study of the relation of the mass media to the American political process, including an examination of the effect of the mass media on legislative actions, the executive, voting behavior, and the bureaucracy.

R POS 406Z (= R PUB 406Z) Implementation and Impact (3)
Examination of the process by which policies are put into effect, alterations during that process; effects, intended and unintended; and feedback into further policy making. Implementation and impact of legislative, administrative, and judicial policies in particular policy areas. Only one version of R POS 406Z may be taken for credit.

R POS 410Z (= R PUB 410Z) Minorities and the Politico-Legal System (3)
Selected minority problems that appear in connection with the politico-legal system. Considers legislative, administrative and judicial responses and explores alternative public policy options. Only one version of R POS 410Z may be taken for credit.

R POS 424 Community Politics (3)
Examines the bases of power at the local level. Political power, social stratification, and technology are discussed within a historical and contemporary context. Recommended: prior course in state and local government. May not be offered in 2009-2010.
R POS 430 Founding the American National Government (3)
Many contemporary disputes in American politics reflect ongoing debates that were first articulated clearly during the drafting and ratification of the Constitution in 1787. (Some examples: war powers, small versus large government, governmental concern with character formation or morality, factions and the common good, direct democracy versus representation, the role of "elites", etc.) This course will examine the founding debates closely, linking specific decisions to some of the broad themes just mentioned. It will also use student papers to carry the disputes through the early years of the government. The course will require interpretive papers based on assigned reading, and one research paper based on primary source documentation. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing. May not be offered in 2009-2010.

R POS 433/433Z (= A WSS 433/433Z) Women, Politics, and Power (3)
Examines the role of women within American society; identifies the systematic factors that have contributed to women's sociopolitical exclusion; and investigates selected contemporary ideologies that posit a redefinition of the power relationships within society as the primary political objective. Only one version of R POS 433 may be taken for credit.

R POS 435Z Congress and the Presidency (3)
An examination of the dynamic political inter-relationship between the elected branches of government. Specific topics may vary from year to year, but typical ones would include: the President's legislative role; Congress's role in foreign and national security policy; the budget as a vehicle for interbranch conflict; and proposals for institutional reform. Short, theme papers and a longer research paper will be required. Some previous course work on Congress or the Presidency is recommended. May not be offered in 2009-2010.

R POS 438Z Political Behavior (3)
Politically relevant behaviors are discussed in terms of their psychological and sociological determinants. Emphasizes manifest and latent political training in numerous contexts.

R POS 439/439Z Topics in American Politics (3)
Special topics course in American politics. Topics will vary from semester to semester. Only one version of R POS 439 may be taken for credit.

R POS 495Z (= R PUB 490Z) Research and Writing in Washington (3)
This is the research and writing component of the spring Washington Semester program. Admission by application. Enrollment limited. Preference to POS Honors students. For information and applications, see Department of Polical Science office or website. Deadlines and interviews in early fall. Prerequisite(s): R POS 101, one 300 level course in American government, junior standing. Corequisite(s): R POS 341 and 342, or R PUB 341 and 342. Students who wish to use R POS 495Z for an Honors essay (in lieu of R POS 499Z) should also enroll in R POS 400.