GV163-4-AU-CO:
Introduction to United States

The details
2019/20
Government
Colchester Campus
Autumn
Undergraduate: Level 4
Current
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
15
04 October 2019

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

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)

Module description

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.

Module aims

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.

Module learning outcomes

To achieve the module aims, by the end of the module the students will:
- have a basic knowledge of the structure of the political system and its institutions;
- have knowledge of how those institutions interact and work together;
- understand the link between society and government;
- have some understanding of how public-policy outcomes are reached.

Module information

Compulsory for 1st Yr BA American (United States) Studies.

Learning and teaching methods

1 hour lecture + 1 hour class per week

Bibliography

  • 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.
  • (no date) Our Democratic Constitution.

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 Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Presentation 10%
Coursework Essay 11/12/2019 90%
Exam 90 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Module Administrator: Nicola Rowley, govquery@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
Yes
Yes
No

External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 61 hours, 60 (98.4%) hours available to students:
1 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Government

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