Course code:



I - Introductory

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Typically offered:

Every other year

This course will be an in depth exploration of contemporary flashpoint issues involving the design, administration, and regulation of politics and elections in the United States. We will examine a series of contemporary controversies by examining their history, the stakeholders involved, and the pros and cons of the relevant alternative reform measures that have been proposed. Topics covered in a given term will vary based on changing external factors such as the timing of elections as well as student interests. Likely areas that may be covered include: campaign finance reform, gerrymandering, instant runoff voting, election technologies, voter suppression, alternative governmental models, the electoral college, party primaries, campaign communication regulation, government funding of elections, nationalization of election standards, etc..  While the emphasis of the class will be on the US context, we will often draw on international case studies as comparative reference points to assist in evaluating possible policy alternatives. The course will follow a collaborative laboratory model with students dividing into teams to research and present briefings throughout the term.  In addition to this workshop emphasis there will be a common weekly discussion of a salient election related topic or theme. Students will be evaluated based on their participation in and engagement with the solutions workshop, the various presentations and written reports produced by their team, short form individual response papers related  to the common discussion topics, and required meetings with the instructor. The course is open to students of all interests, and familiarity with the US political system is not a prerequisite. Students should see this course as a good starting point to both familiarize themselves with various aspects of American politics while also providing them the opportunity to work on crafting a focused policy proposal that responds to a contemporary political controversy. It also serves as an excellent building block for students wishing to take more advanced classes in the areas of politics, policy, law, and advocacy. 



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.