American Government and Politics

PLSC 1320 Introduction to American Government and Politics

Topics include constitutional theory, interest groups, parties and elections, Congress, the presidency and executive agencies, the courts, and public policy. The course emphasizes national government and politics but also gives attention to state and local levels. (Ippolito (Honors), Jillson, Kobylka, Wilson)

PLSC 3320  Principles of  Public Policy

This course presents the institutions and processes by which governments make public policy and examines the substance and impact of public policy in such areas as international political economy and domestic social policy.

PLSC 3321 Congress and the Legislative Process 

The powers, organization, and rules and procedures of legislatures in the United States. Emphasizes the U.S. Congress: its constitutional responsibilities, committee and staff systems, and legislative procedures in the House and Senate.

PLSC 3322 The American Presidency

An evaluation of the office of president in the American political system with emphasis placed upon the functional and institutional development of the office and presidential leadership in policy making.

PLSC 3323 Southern Politics

This course considers continuity and change in the current politics of the South -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The topics considered include civil rights, voting rights, redistricting, economics growth, and judicial activism.

PLSC 3326 State Government and Politics

A comparative study of the structure, procedure, and functional services of state, county, and municipal governments with emphasis upon intergovernmental relations in the federal government and Texas government.

PLSC 3327 Texas Politics

This course focuses on government and politics in Texas both by exploring its processes, institutions, and policies and by placing them within the broader context of the U.S. federal system.  (Jillson)

PLSC 3329 Bureaucracy and Regulatory Politics

This course will examine the structure of American bureaucracy, the workings of the administrative process and the behavior of individuals who work in and with it. We will study how bureaucracies such as independent regulatory agencies and executive branch departments interact with executive, legislative and judicial branches. We will take a closer look at regulatory policies through case studies in interesting policy areas (such as environmental protection regulations and the regulation of Wall Street). 

PLSC 3330 Law, Politics and the Supreme Court

This course provides an overview of the role played by the Supreme Court in defining the constitutional landscape of American politics. It will canvass constitutional law as it concerns issues of separation of powers, federalism, civil liberties, civil rights, and the criminal process. We will pay particular attention to the ebb and flow of the assertion of judicial power, and examine competing explanations for change in methods of constitutional interpretation and understandings of constitutional meaning.

PLSC 3331 Media and Politics

The purpose of this course is to analyze the interplay between the medias (i.e. print, network and cable television, and Internet) and American political life. we will address the impact of media coverage on the electoral process with particular attention to congressional and presidential elections; how political actors (e.g., social activists in the WTO, AIDS activists, elected officials) incorporate media practices into their strategies for pursuing specific policy objectives; and the roles that the media play in providing political information to the American public.

PLSC 3333 Environmental Policy

Overview of governmental environmental policies designed to provide a foundation for future application and study in the growing environmental field of public opinion on American politics and policy making. The course begins with historical perspective of land use and early expansion policy.  Through philosophical and scientific advances, the modern environmental movement unfolds through the development of laws and government policy.

PLSC 3334 Public Opinion and American Politics

This course focuses upon the influence of public opinion on American politics and policy making. Topics for the course will include public opinion and democratic theory, the methods of survey research, the use of the polling industry, and the influence of polls on politicians and policy.  (Wilson)

PLSC 3335 Judicial Process

This course is a survey of the judicial process and the relationships between courts and American politics.  it will cover the organization of courts, juries, selection of judges, judicial decision making  and judicial policy making.  The course emphasizes decision making on the United States Supreme Court.  (Corley)

PLSC 3336 Congress, the President and the Constitution 

An examination of how constitutional interpretation, precedent, and politics affect presidential and congressional powers and the separation of powers with respect to war and foreign affairs; legislation and administration; and budgetary and fiscal policies.

PLSC 4320 Special Studies in American Government and Politics: Law and Social Science

In this course, we will explore the relationship between the legal process and social science research.  First, we will consider the similarities and differences between the goals and methods of the legal process and social science.  next we will examine how lawyers and judges use social science research, with particular emphasis on specific areas of the law (discrimination and criminal justice) that have been heavily influenced by empirical social science.

PLSC 4320 Special Studies in American Government and Politics: Introduction to Law

This course is designed to provide students with a background of the American legal system, covering such substantive areas of law as torts, contracts, property, civil procedure, and criminal law.(Corley)

PLSC 4321 Basic Issues in American Democracy

This "special" course will focus upon the history, politics, and moral claims of the movement that not only destroyed the system of racial segregation known as Jim Crow, but also dissolved barriers to political participation by African Americans in the American South.  Accordingly, we will examine the rise of the civil rights movement, and politics and culture of the race and the segregated south, and the evolution in how national politicians addressed these issues.  This course will combine readings and classroom discussion with an extended trip over Spring Break to historic  Civil Rights venues in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.  

PLSC 4322 Latino Politics  (CFA 3326)

An analysis of contexts, causes, and consequences of Latino political participation.  The focus is on Latinos in the Southwest with some attention to other racial and ethnic groups elsewhere in the U.S.  

PLSC 4323 Politics of Change in America (CFA 3334) 

Focusing on American politics and society from 1930 to the present, this course will examine how America has changed, explains why changes occur, and will access the consequences of these changes.

PLSC 4324 Political Dynamics

Use of political parties in formulating political opinions; pressure groups; propaganda; measurement of mass opinions; political leadership.  

PLSC 4325 Practical Electoral Politics

An exploration of techniques of political organization drawing on studies of recent campaigns and examining the political pressures that affect policy making in government.

PLSC 4326 Presidential Elections

An examination of presidential nominations and general elections. Topics include voter decision making, media coverage, campaign finance, delegate selection rules, the electoral college, and kindred concern examined in the context of the current and most recent elections.  (Simon)

PLSC 4327 Urban Politics 

This course traces ideas and beliefs about the nature and purpose of local political arenas in the American experience from New England townships to modern metropolises.

PLSC 4328 Seminar: American Government and Politics

An overview of the central questions in the study of American Government and Politics.

PLSC 4329 The Politics of Economic Policy

Analysis of interactions among political beliefs, economic theories, political processes, and public policies that shape and change the American political economy.

PLSC 4330 Politics and Film 

This course will use film as a vehicle understanding politics, leadership and the political process in the United States.  The class involves a substantial reading and writing by students. 

PLSC 4331 Government and Business 

Analysis of the roles of business in American policies and the impacts of political and governmental decisions on business activity.

PLSC 4332 Politics of Litigation

An examination of the interaction between law and politics and, in particular, of the role interest groups have played in the litigation process.

PLSC 4333 Policy, Politics and the Budget 

Examines the federal budgets historical evolution and contemporary significance. The constitutional division of the power of the purse between the legislative and executive branches; presidential-congressional conflicts over control of budget policy; major policy issues relating to the size of the federal budget; spending and tax policy priorities; and deficit and debt problems.   (Ippolito)

PLSC 4334 Public Opinion and American Politics

This "special course" will focus upon the history, Politics, and moral claims of the movement that not only destroyed the system of racial segregation known as Jim Crow, but also dissolved barriers to political participation by African Americans in the American South.  Accordingly, the rise of the civil rights movement, the politics and culture of the segregated South, and the evolution in how national politicians addressed the issues of race and segregation will be examines. The course will combine readings and classroom discussion with an extended trip over spring break to historic civil rights venues in Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Students enrolling in this course must agree to take the trip.  (Simon)

PLSC 4335 Constitutional Law

Examines the scope of constitutional power in the American governmental system, questions of separation of powers between the branches of the national government, and the federal relationship between the national government and state governments.

PLSC 4336 Civil Liberties: First Amendment

Examines the place and treatment of expression, religion, and personal autonomy in the American Constitution and in the cases in which the Supreme Court has defined and applied the Constitution.   (Kobylka)

PLSC 4337 Civil Rights  

Examines changes wrought in the American system of governance by addition of the Fourteenth Amendment, particularly its Equal Protection Clause, and the way that the Supreme Court has interpreted and applied it over time. Topics of attention include racial discrimination, sex discrimination, and equality in the political process.  

PLSC 4338 Criminal Process Rights

Examines the application of the principles of ordered liberty and the Bill of Rights to criminal process disputes. Its concerns extend through initial police investigation, trial preparation, trial and jury concerns, and the post-trial determination of punishment.  

PLSC 4339 Women and the Law 

The status of women in the American legal system, including an assessment of women defined as a legal category and the impact of increasing numbers of women lawyers, judges, and criminals.