You are here

POL S 571 A: American National Institutions

Meeting Time: 
W 1:30pm - 4:20pm
SMI 111
Joint Sections: 
POL S 405 A
Becca Thorpe
Rebecca U. Thorpe

Syllabus Description:

Course Description 

This is the core national institutions seminar in American politics. We survey some of the primary literature in the field with an emphasis on institutional development, representation and power. The course spans formal institutions—congressional representation and policymaking, executive power and judicial politics—and examines the development and complex interplay of political parties, media and interest groups. Throughout the course, we consider whether and to what extent US institutional arrangements promote democratic goals, and whether periods of consolidated power and democratic retrenchments reveal evidence of authoritarianism or autocracy.


Course Materials

Jamila Michener. 2018. Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism and Unequal Politics. Cambridge University Press.

*Zac Gershberg & Sean Illing. 2022. The Paradox of Democracy: Free Speech, Open Media and Perilous Persuasion. University of Chicago Press.

*Frances Lee. 2016. Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign. University of Chicago Press.

Stephen Skowronek, John Dearborn & Desmond King. 2021. Phantoms of a Beleaguered Republic: The Deep State and The Unitary Executive. Oxford University Press.


*Ebook or photocopies will be made available


POL S 571 syllabus - AU22

Catalog Description: 
Answers the question, "Do institutions matter?" Surveys American national institutions from theoretical perspectives, focusing on how they affect the manner in which decisions are made. Employs cross-institutional perspective of American institutions.
Last updated: 
September 23, 2022 - 10:03pm