Political Science at Huntingdon College
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PSC 311: Voters, Parties and Elections, Syllabus

Revised 23 Apr. 2015, with Course-by-Conference language, by Jeremy Lewis.

Instructor: Professor Jeremy Lewis, Flowers 209, available M-F most of the day, especially 2-3 pm. 334.833.4521. <jLewis>. Office hours are detailed here. Course information is detailed here.

Catalog description

The influence, structure, and operation of the American party system; an evaluation of the major parties in the United States in historical context, and a consideration of factors weakening the role of parties today.
In this course you will be introduced to the concepts of political parties, voter behavior and the theories of competitive elections. We will examine some case studies of campaigns as well as some theory of the strategy of success. We shall explore the use of opinion polls, TV spots and other campaign instruments. Where time permits, we will discuss controversial current affairs, and question guest speakers. (I will try to balance speakers of both major parties, though this cannot be guaranteed.) I will present a view of the US parties and elections as contrasted with those of Western European social democratic states; and will help you to understand how the US system has changed over time. Equipment and time permitting, we shall also explore US and foreign parties on the World Wide Web, and critique the US campaign as seen on television and in the press.
The style of the course will be a reading-based seminar with students contributing essays, presentations and a research paper.
Course objectives
To develop understanding of political parties & elections within the subfield of American Politics
Learning Objectives
Developing understanding of the principles and practices of voter behavior, political parties and election systems
Critical thinking about voter behavior, political parties and elections
Students will demonstrate these expected outcomes in
Examination essays and scores
Research papers
Oral presentations and briefings
Books (click here for latest information on editions)
New for Fall 2016:
Hershey, Marjorie R. 2012. Party Politics in America.  Longman. 15th Edition, or later.

Brewer, Mark D. and L. Sandy Maisel eds.  2012. The Parties Respond: Changes in American Parties and Campaigns.  Fifth Edition, or later.

Nivola & Rosenbloom (eds). 1999. Classic Readings in American Politics St. Martins/Worth 3/e, 0-312-08419-6 [section on parties]

Discontinued: Maisel, L. Sandy. 1986.  From Obscurity to Oblivion U. Tenn Press Rev'd Edn, 0-87049-348-5.  Note, out of print but beloved by some of our alumni

Schaffner, Brian F.  2012. Politics, Parties & Elections in America. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage (Thomson), 7e. [Formerly Bibby, John and  ... ]

You will also be expected to keep up with news and analysis of current campaigns and elections.

See requirements page
A political science course-by-conference normally requires the same tests, papers and examinations as the regular course, except that any class session that is missed, shall be replaced with an essay of one typed page, single-spaced  on the session's reading or topic -- or, at the discretion of the instructor, by a tutorial session.
Behavior: you are expected to comply with the HC Honor Code and with specific rules placed on our Requirements page above.

HC's attendance policy

Students are expected to attend all classes.
My Specific Attendance Policy
While school sanctioned excuses will not count against you, absences reduce your potential contribution to class, and absences in excess of four contact hours will reduce your class participation score.
HC's Policy on completion of absence related work
A specific policy for completion of absence related work is up to the individual instructor.  The instructor must state the policy in the course syllabus.  The specific policy must not penalize a student for participation in a documented College sanctioned event or for a documented medical, personal or family emergency.  [Also requires prior notification via a new online form, and verification by a coach, or similar]
My specific policy on late completion of in-class work
Late completion of tests or other graded exercises in class will only be permitted in cases with documented, prior notification and documented excuses from a coach, medical doctor or similar authority.
Grading Policy
See my timetable of weekly topics and deliverable documents (or click on the course code on masthead)
See my Requirements page
Support Services for Students with Disabilities
Faculty at Huntingdon College make every effort to accommodate unique and special needs of students with respect to speech, hearing, vision, seating, or other possible adaptions. Please notify the Disability Services Intake Coordinator, Ms. Camilla Irvin, as soon as possible of requested accommodations.
Staton Center for Learning Enrichment
The Center for Writing and Critical Thinking, located in Jackson 103, provides support at all levels to students working to improve proficiency at skills associated with college-level reading, writing, and critical thinking. The Center offers an active interface among student, instructor, assignment, and tutor. Free one-on-one tutoring is available to all Huntingdon students, either by appointment or on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Contact Ms. Vaughan Dickson, Director of the Center for Writing and Critical Thinking, at (334) 833-4454 or by email at vdickson@hawks.huntingdon.edu to schedule an appointment or for more information.
Medical Considerations
If you have a medical condition that may preclude participation in this course or any aspect of this course, the College suggests you consult your physician. The College will work with you based upon physician recommendations to find the best means to address any concerns.
Title IX
Huntingdon faculty are committed to supporting students and upholding the College's non-discrimination policy. Under Title IX, discrimination based upon sex and gender is prohibited. If you experience an incident of sex- or gender-based discrimination, we encourage you to report it. While you may talk to a faculty member, understand that as a "Responsible Employee" of the College the faculty member MUST report to the college's Title IX Coordinator what you share. If you would like to speak with someone who may be able to afford you privacy or confidentiality, there are people who can meet with you. Faculty can help direct you or you may refer to Huntingdon's Sexual Misconduct Policy at http://www.huntingdon.edu/student-life/student-service/misconduct. You do not have to go through the experience alone.