Introduction to United States
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 07 October 2021
Friday 17 December 2021
25 August 2021
Requisites for this module
BA T700 American Studies (United States),
BA T702 American Studies (United States) (UK Study),
BA T708 American Studies (United States) (Including Year Abroad),
BA T710 American Studies (United States) (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA T712 American Studies (United States) (UK Study) (Including Placement Year),
BA T770 American Studies (United States) (including Placement Year),
BA MT26 Criminology and American Studies (UK Study),
BA MT27 Criminology and American Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA MT28 Criminology and American Studies (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA MT2R Criminology and American Studies,
BA MT3R Criminology and American Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA MT62 Criminology and American Studies (UK Study) (Including Placement Year)
This course is designed to explore the structures and dynamics of American government, providing a broad introduction into the history, ideas, and institutions that shape contemporary politics in the United States.
We will focus on three major areas: foundations of Democracy and the American system, American political institutions, and the role informal political institutions and actors in shaping American politics (e.g., interests groups and parties, political participation). Our analysis will draw on documents from America's formative period and on insights from modern political science, law experts, and journalists, allowing us to examine important political phenomena from a variety of perspectives. Throughout the course we will visit the often conflicting values of order, liberty, and equality.
Ultimately, the goal of this course is to help each member of the class arrive at a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the forces that shape American government and politics. Upon completion of this course that students will not only have a solid understanding of the institutions and processes of American government and politics, but an appreciation of the important role that we, the people, play in maintaining modern democratic institutions. Along these lines, the course is designed with the follow aims in mind:
a) To provide students with a basic introduction to the American political system and explain how the American citizens interacting with institutional rules and norms to create policy outcomes;
b) To provide students with an understanding of how the American political system has evolved over time;
c) To encourage students to absorb information about U.S. Politics through an informed and analytic lens.
By the end of the module, students will:
1. have a basic knowledge of the structure of the political system and its institutions;
2. have knowledge of how those institutions interact and work together;
3. understand the link between society and government;
4. have some understanding of how public-policy outcomes are reached.
Compulsory for 1st Yr BA American (United States) Studies.
1x weekly pre-recorded lecture, 1x weekly interactive class.
- Janda, Kenneth; Berry, Jeffrey M.; Goldman, Jerry; Schildkraut, Deborah J.; Manna, Paul. (2018) The challenge of democracy: American government in global politics, Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.
- Lowi, Theodore J.; Ginsberg, Benjamin; Shepsle, Kenneth A.; Ansolabehere, Stephen. (2019) American government: power and purpose, New York: W.W. Norton.
- Breyer, Stephen. (2002) 'Our Democratic Constitution', in New York University Law Review. vol. 77 (2) , pp.245-272
- Antonin Scalia. (March 14, 2005) Constitutional Interpretation the Old Fashioned Way.
- Levinson, Sanford. (2006) 'The Ratification Referendum: Sending the Constitution to a New Convention for Repair', in Our undemocratic constitution: where the constitution goes wrong (and how we the people can correct it), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- (November 3rd, 2018) 'Are the Democrats a serious threat to Donald Trump, or not?', in The Economist, Chesterfield, VA.
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Lawrence Ezrow, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prof. Lawrence Ezrow
Module Supervisor: Prof. Lawrence Ezrow - Ezrow@essex.ac.uk / Module Administrator: Nicola Rowley, email@example.com
No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 313 hours, 10 (3.2%) hours available to students:
303 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).
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