American Political Development Syllabus S 2017

American Political Development revised Jan 19 2017 (and subject to change)

Inauguration Protest, 2017

Course Description: This course will help prepare American politics students for the first examination. This 8000-level political-science seminar prepares students for the major or minor in both the National Institutions track and the Electoral Process track in American Politics.  This course is an American-politics seminar that crosses disciplinary divides by relying on “political development as a methodology with two analytical axes of the role of ideas and institutions. The seminar is also informed by American Studies and Women’s Studies literature, given its emphasis on difference as the United States built a relatively strong nation-state and became a global hegemon. It pays particular attention to nation-building in juxtaposition with intersections of issues in class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality: conflicts I term as transuniversal threats. Unlike the American Political Thought seminar, this course relies on secondary rather than primary sources that are housed in political science, American Studies, and gender studies. They are also often qualitative research or humanistic social-science journals that address contemporary issues in science.

Students in social science and humanities will find the readings highly appealing as they offer an intradisciplinary focus within Political Science, as well as rigorous interdisciplinary exposure, since we will touch on readings from literary theory, cultural studies, particularly American Studies and Women’s Studies, and history, and make reference to science and the history of science.

The course is divided into three main parts.

In Part I, it includes discussions about formal and informal political ideas, institutions and identities applied to Trump, Obama and other presidents from the very late 19th through the 20th and 21st centuries. These include clashes of political development and political thought engaged with the other federal branches. It concentrates on enduring institutional and ideational juxtapositions and enduring or classic conflicts in the United States in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well as in the media (including social media) that effect political identities.

In Part II, the conflicts are classic and representational issues in, across, and/or over time (contingency and history) and political time (macro historical events). The conflicts are classic and/or representative — involving the administrations of Andrew Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Donald J. Trump giving special attention to the theme of supremacies and violence.

In Part III, we explore thinkers, theories, and schools of thought of emerging as well as full-fledged ideologies, social theories, values and belief structures, and political cultures. Some of these include American colonialism, postcolonialism, and neotribalism.

Learning Objectives

American Political Development is politics and history from a macro perspective so this courses helps students prepare for the First Examination, and also gives M.A. students ideas for exploring macro-or meta or broad topics.

Required Materials & Assignments

Course Requirements:

One seminar presentation, and one final research project.  A preliminary bibliography for the project will be presented by week 9.

Book to Consider for Purchase:

Stephen Skowronek & Karen Orren, The Search for American Political Development (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004) chps. 1-5.


  1. (No Reading)
  2. Stephen Skowronek & Karen Orren, The Search for American Political Development (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004), chp 1; Michael Paul Rogin, Fathers & Children, Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian (any edition), Introduction; Daniel E. Bender, Gynaecoracy, Savagery, and the Evolution of Industry,” American Studies 51, No. 3/4 (Winter 2010); Lisa M. Logan, “The Importance of Women to Early American Study,” Early American Literature 44, No. 3 (2009):641-48
  3. Robert Lieberman, “Ideas, Institutions, and Political Order: Explaining Political Change,” 90 American Political Science Review 96, No. 4 (2002): 697-712; Priscilla Yamin,“The Search for Marital Order: Civic Membership and the Politics of Marriage in the Progressive Era,” Polity 41, No. 1 (Jan., 2009): 86-112; Kundai Chirindo, “Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic Approaches to the Obama Presidency: Rhetoric and Public Affairs 19 No. 3 (2016): 491
  4. ; Paul Pierson, “The Study of Policy Development,” Journal of Policy History 17 No. 1(2005): 34-51; Rogan Kersh “Rethinking Periodization? APD and the Macro-History of the United States,” Polity 37 (2005): 513-22
  5. Jeremey Engles, “Equipped for Murder”: the Paxton Boys and “the Spirit of Killing all Indians” in Pennsylvania, 1763-1764,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 8 (No. 3) (2003): 355-82; Kenneth M. Cuno, “Family Ideals, Colonialism and Law,” J of Women’s History 22 (No. 4) (2010); Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Colonial Revival,” Legacy: a Journal of American Women Writers  29 (1) (2012); Julie. A. Nelson, “Value as Relationality: Feminist, Pragmatist, and Process Thought Meet Economics, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 15 (2001: 137-51; Cynthia J. Davis, “The World Was Home for Me”: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Sentimental Public Square,” Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, & Theory 66, No. 1 (2010): 63-86
  6. Reuel Edward Schiller, “Saint Georges and the Dragon: Courts and the Development of the American State in 20th Century America,” Journal of Policy History 17 No. 1 (2005): 110-24; Karen Orren and Stephen Skowronek, “Have We Abandoned a “Constitutional Perspective” on American Political Development?” The Review of Politics, 73, No. 2 (2011): 295-99; Lisa Hilbin, “The Constituted Nature of Constituents’ Interests: Historical and Ideational Factors in Judicial Empowerment,” Political Research Quarterly 62, No. 4 (Dec., 2009): 781-97; Ira Katznelson and John S. Lapinski “At the Crossroads: Congress and American Political Development,” Perspectives on Politics 4, No. 2 (June, 2006): 243-60
  7. William N. Eskridge, Jr.; and John Ferejohn. “The Elastic Commerce Clause: A Political Theory of American Federalism,” 47 Vanderbilt L. Rev. 1355 (1994) ;Scott D. Gerber “The Republican Revival in American Constitutional Theory,” Political Research Quarterly 47 (1994): 985-97; P. M. Vasudev, “Corporate Law and Its Efficiency: A Review of History,” 50 Am. J. Legal Hist. 237;Wilson R. Huhn, “The Legacy of Slaughterhouse, Bradwell, and Cruikshank in Constitutional Interpretation,” 42 Akron L. Rev. 1051 (2009)
  8. Thomas C. Leonard, “More Merciful and Not Less Effective”: Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era,” History of Political Economy, 35 (2003): 687-712; Alexander Sanger “Eugenics, Race, and Margaret Sanger Revisited: Reproductive Freedom for All?” Hypatia 22 (2007): 210-17;Yvonne Pitts,  “Disability, Scientific Authority, and Women’s Political Participation at the Turn of the Twentieth-Century United States,” Journal of Women’s History, 24 (2012): 37-61
  9. Peter J. Katzenstin, “Presidential Address: “Walls” between “Those People”? Contrasting Perspectives on World Politics,” Perspectives on Politics   8, No. 1 (March 2010): 11-25; R. Hirschl, “The Realist Turn in Comparative Constitutional Politics,” Political Research Quarterly  62, No. 4 (Dec., 2009): 825-33; Allen Lynch, “Woodrow Wilson and the Principle of ‘National Self-Determination’: A Reconsideration,”Review of International Studies Vol. 28, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 419-36; Robert W. Tucker, Woodrow Wilson’s “New Diplomacy” World Policy Journal 21 (2004), 92-107; Elizabeth Gardner, “Woodrow Wilson’s Western Tour: Rhetoric, Public Opinion, and the League of Nations,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Volume 12, Number 1, (Spring 2009): 142-44.
  10. Dana Seitler, “Unnatural Selection: Mothers, Eugenic Feminism, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Regeneration Narratives” American Quarterly 55 (2003): 61-88; Randall Hansen and Desmond S. King, “Eugenic Ideas, Political Interests, and Policy Variance: Immigration and Sterilization Policy in Britain and the U.S.” World Politics 53 (2001): 237-63; Lawrence J. Oliver, “W.E.B. Du Bois, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “A Suggestion on ‘The Negro Problem’,” American Literary Realism 48 No. 1 (2015): 25-39; Mark W. Van Weinen, “A Rose By Any Other Name: Charlotte Perkins Stetson (Gilman) and the Case for American Reform Socialism,” American Quarterly 55, No. 4 (2003): 603-34
  11. Alvin B. Tillery, Jr. “Tocqueville as Critical Race Theorist: Whiteness as Property, Interest Convergence, and the Limits of Jacksonian Democracy” Political Research Quarterly 62, No. 4 (Dec., 2009)” 639-52; Julie Novkov, “Mobilizing Liberalism in Defense of Racism,” The Good Society 15, No. 1 (2007): 30-39; Kenneth W. Warren, “An Inevitable Drift?”: Oligarchy. Du Bois, and the Politics of Race between the Wars,” boundary 27 (2000):153-69
  12. Joel Olson, “Whiteness and the Polarization of American Politics,” Political Research Quarterly 61, No. 4 (Dec., 2008): 704-18; Daniel N. Lipson Where’s the Justice? Affirmative Action’s Severed Civil Rights Roots in the Age of Diversity Perspectives on Politics 6, No. 4 (Dec., 2008): 691-70
  13. Research Paper Presentations
  14. Research Paper Presentations #

Most articles are in ProjectMuse (Humanities Oriented) or JSTOR (Social Science and Humanities, larger base and more official association database, such as American Political Science Association.  A few articles in Lexis-Nexis that would also pop up in JSTOR.  Please ask for help if you have difficulty locating anything as this prepares you for doing secondary research for the final paper.

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