Course Details

050:489:01 - Seminar in American Studies

This class examines the variety of subcultures among Americans acting politically—that is, trying to wield power and influence in the public sphere. Rather than compare left and right (or Republicans and Democrats), we will focus on the culture of different sorts of political actors, such as activists, legal advocates, policy wonks, bureaucrats, party officials, pundits, contrarians, conspiracists, and extremists. By exploring different ways that people act politically, we will better understand the strength or weakness of certain pathways to social change. We will also try to understand why Americans, whether professionals with specific expertise or fringe figures, devote time to political goals. All students will write an original research paper on a topic related to the class.