Fall 2023

Introduction to American Politics

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-219


Jonathan M. Obert (Section 01)


U.S. politics have been an object of fascination not only for American citizens but also for scholars, students, and observers from around the world. This course provides both an introduction to key scholarly arguments about American political institutions, development and participation as well as a chance to engage with the important question of how distinctive the politics of the U.S. actually are. Focusing our attention initially on the role Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution play in the shaping of policy, we will then examine how Americans actually participate in the political process. This means looking at how parties, the media, perceptions of class, race, and gender, interactions with bureaucracy, and even arguing and fighting shape the way Americans view their place in the political world.  Finally, we will focus on the question of American "exceptionalism"—how different, really, are American political institutions and experience, and what lessons can we draw from the American experiment that might (or might not) help us understand the political process elsewhere?

Limited to 35 Students. Fall semester. Associate Professor Obert 

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to political science majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on written work; reading.

POSC 219 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM FAYE 115
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM FAYE 115

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
The Two Faces of American Freedom Harvard University Press Aziz Rana Amherst Books TBD
Readings in American Politics: Analysis and Perspectives (Sixth Edition) W.W. Norton (6th edition) Ken Kollman Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Spring 2023, Fall 2023