POLI 320A –Government and Politics of the United States of America (UBC, Summer 2019)
Course Description: This course provides an introduction to the study of American Politics. We will cover a range of topics, such as the constitutional foundations of the republic, institutional structures (the presidency, Congress, the judiciary), political culture, and the behavior of elites and citizens. Over the course of the term students will engage with important debates in American politics such as partisan polarization, interest group domination, legislative gridlock, presidential power, and race relations.
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
- Describe the formal and informal features of U.S. politics, including the constitution, the three branches of government, elections and political parties, and American political culture.
- Understand core theoretical concepts of political science, including power, collective action-problems, media effects, group identity, and partisanship and apply them to phenomena in American politics.
- Evaluate critical questions in American politics, and develop and communicate evidence-based arguments through written composition.
POLI 110 – Investigating Politics: An Introduction to Scientific Political Analysis (UBC, Summer 2018)
Course Description: This course prepares students to engage with the field of political science by introducing them to the basic logic and tools used by political scientists to understand and explain the political world. The course will teach students how to ask answerable questions; how to define key political concepts; how to formulate hypotheses and theories about political dynamics; how to measure the phenomena we want to study; how to think about and assess relationships of cause-and-effect; and how to report our findings to the world. We will consider these issues by examining how political scientists have investigated major questions in domestic and international affairs, such as the effectiveness of foreign aid, the link between economic development and democracy, and how citizens arrive at their vote choice and evaluate candidates for public office.