POL S 353 A: United States Congress

Meeting Time: 
MWF 12:30pm - 1:20pm
GWN 201
John Wilkerson -- Chair of Political Science UW Seattle
John D. Wilkerson

Syllabus Description:

Complete Syllabus is here (bookmark it?):



Congress - the people's branch - is famously unpopular. Nine out of 10 Americans disapprove of Congress. Yet, the same Americans will reelect over 90% of House members and 80% of Senators. One explanation is that candidates, including incumbents, run for Congress by running against it. Ironically, their echoing of public disdain for politics makes lawmaking even more difficult.

Playing politics can be an effective way to appreciate what Congress does. Roughly 50% of this class is devoted to a student-run simulation and nearly all of the graded assignments are simulation-related. This is a terrific way to learn but it depends on your collective participation! When students prepare and take risks, everyone benefits!

Learning Goals
Demonstrate appreciation of:

 the role of Congress in society

 the legislative process, its logic, and proposed reforms

 the external and internal influences shaping legislative behavior

Improve your:

 listening and communication skills

 collaboration skills

 strategic skills

Required book (Odegaard reserve has one copy (24 hour) Robert Kaiser, Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't

LegSim: Everyone must register and create a profile on LegSim by April 2 at 11pm. There is a $16 registration fee. See registration instructions at the very bottom of this syllabus.

Grades are based on participation activities and writing assignments. There are no formal exams.


Catalog Description: 
Organization and procedure of Congress, state legislative politics, lobbying, legislative roles, theory and practice of representative government.
Department Requirements: 
American Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:10pm