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Govt 322 – American Political Parties

Summer Online 2019
James M. Quirk, Ph.D. and

This is the main course page

Welcome to Govt 322: American Political Parties

cb1We’ll share a lot more about what the course will look like and how we’ll approach the material.  This temporary page outlines questions we’ll consider.  Your readings and videos each week will be online – there are no textbooks to purchase.  If you have any questions, please email me at – thanks and hope to see you this summer

Outline of Assignments

Most weeks have a sequence: readings, notes and videos; your initial responses to my prompts; and your responses to each other. We’ll do all this on this web site

leadersWe We will read selections from a wide range of historical and current political figures and scholars – from newspapers to Congress to Twitter.  We’ll also read from some of these:

Mark Leibovich, This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral – plus Plenty of Valet  Parking – in America’s Gilded Capital (2013) – on the bipartisan hypocrisy and cronyism in D.C.

Ayn Rand, Anthem – a dystopian fantasy where the individual is not valued

Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries – the dystopian reality of mid-century Latin America that helped shape the revolutionary Che

The Federalist Papers, #10 and #51 – classics

Riordan, Plunkitt of Tammany Hall – on late 19th centurybig-city machine politics and how it resonates today

Thomas Frank, Listen, Liberal – a liberal Democrat Washington media elite – on neither party being the party of the working class

Amy Chua, Political Tribes – on what divides us and what (if anything) unifies us

We’ll also read from Eleanor Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cornell West, Max Boot, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and many more….

Each week we will consider one or more elements in international relations (beginning with why the name of the course itself is a little anachronistic).

We will consume a number of readings, videos, or other assignments.  We’ll offer prompts to those – we’ll ask a couple of questions, and you’ll write thoughtful, coherent response to one or more of them.  We’ll also reflect on each other’s essays – emulating, in some ways, what a dynamic classroom discussion might look like.  We’ll do all this on this web site.

We’ll move fast and cover a lot of ground – hope you will join us!