19-20 PR3890: American Political Development

This module provides students with an advanced understanding of the institutions, politics, history and culture of the United States. It offers a thorough grounding in the scholarly literature on American Political Development (APD) and requires students to evaluate that literature critically through seminar discussion and oral presentations, two pieces of assessed coursework, and an unseen examination. Using diverse methodological approaches, students examine data sources alongside major scholarly works in APD. The course deploys the tools of historical institutionalism and APD to provide advanced knowledge of the domestic politics and history of the United States, with a particular focus upon the public policy development, the welfare state, and religious history and politics, alongside the institutional arrangements of Congress, the Presidency and the Supreme Court; the operation of the federal bureaucracy, the party system, elections, and state and local politics. By the end of the course students are prepared to engage in their own dissertation research in the field of US politics and to excel in the study of American politics, culture and history. This course locates one of the world’s most influential democracies in temporal and comparative context.