Introduction to United States
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
08 June 2020
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.
To achieve the module aims, by the end of the module the 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.
One weekly pre-recorded lecture and one weekly interactive lecture
- 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.
- 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.
- Antonin Scalia. (March 14, 2005) Constitutional Interpretation the Old Fashioned Way.
- Breyer, Stephen. (2002) 'Our Democratic Constitution', in New York University Law Review. vol. 77 (2) , pp.245-272
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.
Professor Lawrence Ezrow
Prof L Ezrow email@example.com
Module Administrator: Nicola Rowley, firstname.lastname@example.org
No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 59 hours, 54 (91.5%) hours available to students:
5 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).
* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.
Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can
be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements,
industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist
of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules.
The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.