This course examines the purpose and function of political representation, with a focus on parallels and gaps between theories of representation and political practices. First, we will examine various concepts of representation and purposes that this political arrangement is meant to achieve. We will consider who is most faithfully represented and who is formally or informally rendered voiceless throughout U.S. political development. Do the people (i.e., the popular majority) really govern, or is popular sovereignty a rhetorical device employed by a cadre of elites? Is the promise of political equality possible within a pluralist regime premised on racial, ethnic, gender, economic and religious differences? Second, we will investigate the persistent problem of under-representation, and the marginalization and exclusion of systematically disadvantaged populations, including the poor, immigrants, women, and racial and ethnic minorities. We will question whether a political regime committed to fully inclusive and equal representation is desirable, possible, or mostly mythology that serves to maintain the political and economic order and uphold social hierarchies.