W11 Liars, Idiots & big Mouths: the Death of Public Discourse. Cable news channels talk radio programs, newspaper editorial pages, and so-called “political science” shelves in bookstores: no matter where you look, it seems that civility and public discourse are in serious trouble. Instead if deliberation and good will, our civic life seems to be ruled by name calling and poison pens. This course offers students the chance to examine the current state of social and political discourse in light of what political theory has to say about the role of discourse in a free society. M. Roberts. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
CANCELED W60 Hollywood and Politics. The “movies” often have important political content. This course examines, in depth, films with a political focus in such categories as political biography, the political process, and political events. Films are placed in their historical context and evaluated in terms of the political portrayals and messages they present to a mass audience. Although most films are of American origin, some also offer a multi-cultural perspective. The course seeks to enable students to better detect and evaluate the political themes and messages found in major political films and to analyze the effect such films have on public opinion and the political system. Students complete assigned readings, share in leading discussions which preview and evaluate films, and submit final essays which summarize what they have learned. Students are evaluated on the basis of reading and video quizzes, oral and written reports, and class participation. The course serves as an elective for the political science major. No prerequisites. J. Penning. 8:30 a.m. to noon.