American Politics - PS 100 through 108

100A. The Presidency (4)

The role of the presidency in American politics. Topics will include nomination and election politics, relations with Congress, party leadership, presidential control of the bureaucracy, international political role, and presidential psychology.

100B. The U.S. Congress (4)

This course will examine the nomination and election of congressmen, constituent relationships, the development of the institution, formal and informal structures, leadership, comparisons of House with Senate, lobbying, and relationship with the executive branch.

100C. American Political Parties (4)

This course examines the development of the two major parties from 1789 to the present. Considers the nature of party coalitions, the role of leaders, activists, organizers, and voters, and the performance of parties in government.

100DA. Voting, Campaigning, and Elections (4)

A consideration of the nature of public opinion and voting in American government. Studies of voting behavior are examined from the viewpoints of both citizens and candidates and attention is devoted to recent efforts to develop models of electoral behavior for the study of campaigns. The role of mass media and money is examined.

100E. Interest Group Politics (4)

The theory and practice of interest group politics in the United States. Theories of pluralism and collective action, the behavior and influence of lobbies, the role of political action committees, and other important aspects of group action in politics are examined. Prerequisite: sophomore standing

100F.  Social Networks (4)

This class explores the many ways in which face-to-face social networks have a powerful effect on a wide range of human behaviors. With a foundation in understanding real world networks, we can then consider how these networks function online.

100G. How to Win or Lose an Election (4)

This course explores the various aspects of a political campaign including campaign organization, vote targeting, political parties, social media, fundraising, polling, media interactions and more.  These areas are examined citing specific examples from federal, state, and local campaigns. 

100H. Race and Ethnicity in American Politics (4)

This course examines the processes by which racial and ethnic groups have/have not been incorporated into the American political system. The course focuses on the political experiences of European immigrant groups, blacks, Latinos, and Asians.

100I. Participation and Inequality (4)

This course examines the causes and consequences of the unequal participation and representation of groups in U.S. politics.

100J. Race in American Political Development (4)

Readings examine how the multiracial character of the United States has shaped the broad outlines of American politics. Cases include the Founding/the Constitution, southern politics, social organization in formerly Mexican regions, the New Deal, consequences of limited suffrage.

100K. Railroads and American Politics (4)

The railroads transformed the economy and politics of the United States in the nineteenth century. The railroads were the first big businesses and their sheer size lead inevitably to conflict with governments at all levels. This conflict shaped modern politics. Prerequisite: upper-division standing.

100M. Political Psychology (4)

We begin with hypotheses about how people develop political attitudes, and methods to test those hypotheses. The second half focuses on emerging cognitive neuroscience insights, including brain imaging, and asks how these inform theories of political cognition, affect, and behavior. Prerequisite: upper-division standing.

100N. Politics in Washington (4)

Examines Washington as a political community, its institutions, culture, and history. In addition to its elected officeholders and senior government officials, it examines Washington's subcommunities: the national news industry, diplomatic service, the representation of interests. Prerequisite: department approval is required.

100O. Perspectives on Race (4)

Drawing heavily from political psychology literature, the course looks at race in American politics from a variety of perspectives.  We consider psychological, genetic, neuroscience, economic, political, sociological and legal views of what drives powerful dynamics of race in our country.

100Q. Advanced Topics in Racial Politics (4)

This course explores how race shapes outcomes in American democracy through in-depth exploration of key issues in American politics. Topics include race in the voting booth, immigration, discrimination, and inter-minority conflict.

100T. Business and Politics (4)

This course uses the tools of political science and economics to study how corporations affect and are affected by politics. We will cover a broad range of issues, including regulation, lawmaking, mass media, interest group mobilization, and corporate social responsibility.

102C. American Political Development (4)

Examines selected issues and moments in the political history of the United States, comparing competing explanations and analyses of U.S. politics. Likely topics include the founding, "American exceptionalism," change in the party system, race in U.S. politics, the "new institutionalism."

102D. Voting Rights Act: 50 years later (4)

The VRA is one of the most significant and controversial acts in American history. We will examine the environment that led to its introduction, the legislative process, executive implementation and the political ramifications and subsequent state government and court decisions.

102E. Urban Politics (4)

(Same as USP107) This survey course focuses upon the following six topics: the evolution of urban politics since the mid-nineteenth century; the urban fiscal crisis; federal/urban relationships; the "new" ethnic politics; urban power structure and leadership; and selected contemporary policy issues such as downtown redevelopment, poverty, and race.

102F. Mass Media and Politics (4)

This course will explore both the role played by mass media in political institutions, processes and behaviors, and reciprocally, the roles played by political systems in guiding communication processes.

102G. Special Topics in American Politics (4)

An undergraduate course designed to cover various aspects of American politics. May be repeated for credit two times, provided each course is a separate topic, for a maximum of twelve units.

102J. Advanced Topics in Urban Politics (4)

(Same as USP 110) Building upon the introductory urban politics course, the advanced topics course explores issues such as community power, minority empowerment, and the politics of growth. A research paper is required. Prerequisite: upper-division standing

102K. The Urban Underclass (4)

This seminar course will examine the lives of individuals living in ghetto poverty in the United States. Over the quarter, we will assess the causes and consequences of ghetto poverty. We will also scrutinize the political debate surrounding the underclass and assess different possible solutions to the problem.

102L. The Politics of Regulation (4)

Political and policy-making issues in regulation. Themes: regulation versus legislation; general versus specific grants of regulatory power; market versus command mechanisms; private property; and risk assessment. Emphasis on American regulatory policy, examples from current regulatory debates (e.g., health care and environment).

103A. California Government and Politics (4)

(Same as USP 109) This survey course explores six topics: 1) the state's political history; 2) campaigning, the mass media, and elections; 3) actors and institutions in the making of state policy; 4) local government; 5) contemporary policy issues; e.g., Proposition 13, school desegregation, crime, housing and land use, transportation, water; 6) California's role in national politics.

103B. Politics and Policymaking in Los Angeles (4)

(Same as USP 113) This course examines politics and policymaking in the five-county Los Angeles region. It explores the historical development of the city, suburbs and region; politics, power and governance; and major policy challenges facing the city and metropolitan area.

103C. Politics and Policymaking in San Diego (4)

(Same as USP 115) This course examines how major policy decisions are made in San Diego. It analyzes the region's power structure (including the roles of non-governmental organizations and the media), governance systems and reform efforts, and the politics of major infrastructure projects.

103D. California Local Government: Finance and Administration (4)

(Same as USP 116) This course surveys public finance and administration. It focuses upon California local governments--cities, counties, and special districts--and also examines state and federal relationships. Topics explored include revenue, expenditure, indebtedness, policy responsibilities, and administrative organization and processes. 

104A. The Supreme Court and the Constitution (4)

An introduction to the study of the Supreme Court and constitutional doctrine. Topics will include the nature of judicial review, federalism, race, and equal protection. The relation of judicial and legislative power will also be examined.

104B. Civil Liberties-Fundamental Rights (4)

This course will examine issues of civil liberties from both legal and political perspectives. Topics will include the First Amendment rights of speech, press, assembly, and religion; other "fundamental" rights, such as the right to privacy; and some issues in equal protection. Conflicts between governmental powers and individual rights will be examined.

104C. Civil Liberties-The Rights of Accused and Minorities (4)

Examines the legal issues surrounding the rights of "marginal" groups such as aliens, illegal immigrants, and the mentally ill. Also includes a discussion of the nature of discrimination in American society.

104D. Judicial Politics (4)

This is an introduction to the study of law and courts as political institutions and judges as political actors, including the role of the judiciary in our constitutional system and decision making both within the Supreme Court and within the judicial hierarchy.

104E. Environmental Law and Policy (4)

The course is an introduction to U.S. environmental law at the federal level. It emphasizes issues and current controversies involving natural resources, such as wilderness, biodiversity, water, and climate change.

104F. Seminar in Constitutional Law (4)

This seminar will provide an intensive examination of a major issue in constitutional law, with topics varying from year to year. Recent topics have included equal protection law and the rights of civilians in wartime. Students will be required to do legal research on a topic, write a legal brief, and argue a case to the seminar. Prerequisites: PS 104A/B; department stamp.

104G. Election Law (4)

A detailed analysis of the legislative and judicial history of election related topics including registration laws, election administration, candidate requirements, voting rights, party organizational rules, nomination procedures, redistricting, and campaign finance.

104I. Law and Politics-Courts and Political Controversy (4)

This course will examine the role of the courts in dealing with issues of great political controversy, with attention to the rights of speech and assembly during wartime, questions of internal security, and the expression of controversial views on race and religion. The conflict between opposing Supreme Court doctrines on these issues will be explored in the context of the case studies drawn from different historical periods.

104J. Introduction to Legal Reasoning (4)

The ability to write and argue is one of the noted benefits of a legal education. Students will learn the basics of legal research and reasoning by learning to read and brief case law and write persuasive and objective memorandums.  Prerequisite: 104A or 104B.

104K. Legal Argument Formulation (4)

This course examines the role that legal arguments have in the US court system. Students will utilize legal reasoning and research skills to craft arguments in both written and oral formats, and then participate in a moot court final. Prerequisite: 104J.

104L. Positive Political Theory of Law (4)

We will discuss modern theories of the origins of law and legal behavior.

104M. Law and Sex (4)

Survey course which will review numerous ways in which the law regulates and impacts sexuality and orientation. The course will focus on constitutional law in the areas of privacy, free speech, association, regulation of sexual conduct under criminal law, pornography, procreation, reproductive rights, and the regulation of family status. (Credit will not be allowed for students who have taken political science 102G - "Law and Sex" in the following quarters: spring 2002; spring 2001, fall 1999.)

104N. Race and Law (4)

Has the law helped end or contributed to racism in the United States?  This course will explore the law of Slavery, Segregation, and Immigration, and studying Equal Protection, Affirmative Action, and Criminal Justice (including hate crimes and First Amendment implications).

104P. Science, Technology and the Law (4)

Science advances exponentially. The law is slower to follow. This course examines legal issues created by today's scientific breakthroughs, and explores what future legal challenges might await tomorrow's scientific discoveries. From privacy on the Internet to the meaning of life.

105A. Latino Politics in the U.S. (4)

This course examines contemporary issues in Latino politics in the U.S.; comparisons of racial and ethnic group experiences in the U.S.; Latino access to the political system through political participation.

108. Politics of Multiculturalism (4)

This course will examine central issues in debates about race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism in the United States. It will look at relations not only between whites and minorities, but also at those among racial and ethnic communities.

More Courses:

This class explores the many ways in which face-to-face social networks have a powerful effect on a wide range of human behaviors. With a foundation in understanding real world networks, we can then consider how these networks function online.