The purpose of this course is to introduce doctoral students to the major themes and some of the best scholarship in the political science literature on American Politics. The readings for 2305 typically form the core of students’ subsequent reading lists for major or minor general exams in American politics. The most important requirement of the course, therefore, is to read the publications for each week carefully and critically. They will be the focus of our discussions. Keep in mind that your reading of some items will affect your reading of others, whether in the current or some other week; we will make a point of discussing those links. More generally, the readings will provide us, as a group, with common terms of reference upon which good discussions will depend.
One initial caveat, however: much in the study of American politics is not represented here, and there are many issues that political scientists have not yet taken up – so along the way, we will want to identify important but neglected questions. What issues should motivate the next generation of research in this field? What theoretical and methodological approaches might be appropriate to studying them? What do we now know that will enable us to engage with new issues, evidence, or methods?