This course uses an American political development approach to the study of state and local politics with an emphasis on Washington state. We go beyond simple considerations of institutions and law to understand ways in which actors are empowered and constrained within the landscape of local government. Our goal is to develop a nuanced and robust body of knowledge conceptualizing how state politics provide a unique laboratory of democracy. Washington state serves as our case study to explore these concepts throughout the quarter.
Be prepared for guest speakers from a wide variety of arenas linked to state and local government. In the past we've had state supreme court justices, journalists, lobbyists, state senators and representatives, candidates for office, policy makers, and political activists to name a few. This gives us all the opportunity to directly interact with stakeholders and decision-makers to better understand how our political communities operate.
Assignments consider current political events through discussion boards, in-class conversations, and a self-guided research project. There is not a traditional final exam.