American Politics 2005

Fall 2005 Requirements and Readings

Political Studies 105
Tu 7-10:00 PM
Professor Dana Ward
Office: A222
Phone: 73177
Office Hours:
Mon 11:00-11:45
Tues 2:30-3:30
Wed 11:00-11:45
Thur 2:30-3:30

Course Description

This course covers a variety of issues at the forefront of political debate in the United States. It is a reading and writing intensive course. Readings come predominantly from leading intellectual journals and recent books. Students will be expected to write several short essays on the issues covered in the course such as the southernization of national politics, the privatization of the social safety net, the militarization of US foreign policy, corporate and political corruption, economic polarization, the erosion of civil and human rights, the promise and limits of deliberative democracy, the state of the environment, the political influence of religious fundamentalists, homophobia in US political culture, the aftermath of campaign finance reform, increasing government secrecy, polarization of the electorate, the rightward drift of the federal courts, and the "Texasization" of US education policy.

Each week's readings consists of various articles which are required, followed by recommendations of books you may wish to follow up on for the required papers. The recommended books are not exhaustive. Many other books are mentioned in the articles and may be well worth reading, but the recommended books are those which I have found most informative. You will need to order the books you select to read through Amazon or some other such outlet and have the books delivered to you. Generally, it takes less than a week to receive the books and some may already be in Honnold. You might want to spend some time skimming future slections to see which books you might be interested in reading and order them early. You are expected to read the articles BEFORE date listed on the syllabus. These are the readings that will be addressed during the class session on the date listed. Since almost all the articles are from the New York Review of Books, I suggest you subscribe to the electronic version and you will have full access not only to current articles, but all past articles.

Three short (5 pages in length) papers and one long paper (not to exceed 15 pages) are required over the course of the semester. Each short paper must address the readings for one of the topics in the course (each topic is in "teal" colored text on the online syllabus). The long paper must go beyond the articles and include some of the books reviewed in the articles. You are not, however, limited to a single theme, but can combine different topics covered in the readings. For example, you might want to write about American political culture and its impact on US foreign Policy, or the impact of war and terrorism on US political culture, or media and democracy, or corporations and the environment. In short, for the long paper you can mix and match topics. One short paper must be turned in any time in September, the second short paper can be turned in any time in October, the third short paper can be turned in any time in November, and the final paper is due during the time scheduled for the final exam in this course.

Each of the short papers are worth twenty percent of your final grade and the long paper is worth 40 percent of your final grade.


August 30: Introduction to the Course

In the first class we will read and discuss:
Elizabeth Drew, "Selling Washington," New York Review of Books (NYRB), June 23, 2005, pp. 24-27.

September 6: American Political Culture

Wallace, Mike, "That Hamilton Man," NYRB, Feb 10, 2005, pp. 30-32.
Bellah, Robert, "McCarthyism at Harvard," NYRB, Feb 10, 2005, pp. 42-3.
Lewontin, Richard, "Dishonesty in Science,", NYRB, November 18, 2004.
Urquhart, Brian, "Extreme Makeover," NYRB Feb 24, 2005, pp. 4-5.
Ryan, Alan, "The Magic of 'I'", NYRB, April 28, 2005, pp. 35-37.
Fredrickson, George M., "Is There Hope for the South?" NYRB, October 21, 2004.
Epstein, Jason, "Mystery in the Heartland." NYRB, October 7, 2004.
Simic, Charles, "Down There on a Visit," NYRB, August 12, 2004, pp. 45-47.
Mishra, Pankaj, "A Cautionary Tale for Americans." NYRB, May 26, 2005, pp. 8-11.
Madrick, Jeffrey, "A Mind of His Own." NYRB, May 26, 2005, pp. 15-18.

Lievan, Anatol, America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism, Oxford University Press.
Dunbar, Anthony, ed., Where We Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent. Selected chapters.
Frank, Thomas, What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. Selected chapters.

September 13: US Foreign Policy

Schlesinger, Arthur, "The Making of a Mess." NYRB, September 23, 2004.
Judt, Tony, "Dreams of Empire". NYRB, November 4, 2004.
Keefe, Patrick Radden, "Iraq: America's Private Armies," NYRB, August 12, 2004, pp. 48-50.
Galbraith, Peter W., "Iraq: The Bungled Transition," NYRB, September 23, 2004, pp. 70-74.
Powers, Thomas, "How Bush Got it Wrong," NYRB, Sept 23, 2004, pp. 87-93.
Chace, James, "Empire, Anyone?" NYRB, Oct 7, 2004, pp. 15-18.
Hoffman, Stanley, "Out of Iraq," NYRB, Oct 21, 2004, pp. 4-7.
Rodenbeck, Max, "Unloved in Arabia," NYRB, Oct 21, 2004, pp. 22-25.
Kristoff, Nicholas, "The Hermit Nuclear Kingdom," NYRB Feb 10, 2005, pp. 25-27.
de Bellaigue, Christopher, "Bush, Iran & the Bomb," NYRB, February 24, 2005, pp. 44-48.
Danner, Mark, "Iraq: the Real Election," NYRB, April 28, 2005, pp. 41-44.
Fallows, James, "Will Iran Be Next?" Atlantic Monthly, December 2004, pp. 99-110.
Letters, Walcott and Danner's response, NYRB, July 14, 2005, p.48-49.

Mann, James, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet.
Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri, Empire.

September 20: US Foreign Policy

Mishra, Pankaj, "The Real Afghanistan," NYRB, March 10, 2005, pp. 44-8.
Urquhart, Brian. "The New American Century?" NYRB. Aug. 11, 2005, pp.39-42.
Judt, Tony, "Europe vs. America," NYRB, Feb 10, 2005, pp. 37-41.
Judt, Tony. "The New World Order." NYRB. July 14, 2005. pp. 14-18.
Epstein, Helen, "God and the Fight Against AIDS," NYRB, April 28, 2005, pp. 47-51.

T.R. Reid, The United States of Europe
Timothy Garton Ash, Free World.

September 27: Democracy, Political Polarization and Elections

Baker, Russell, "Troublemaker." NYRB, August 12, 2004.
Obrien, Geoffry, "Is It All Just a Dream?" review of Fahrennheit 9/11, NYRB August 12, 2004, pp. 17-19.
Wills, Gary, "The Tragedy of Bill Clinton," NYRB, August 7, 2004, pp. 60-64.
Didion, Joan, "Politics in the 'New Normal' America," NYRB, Oct 21, 2004, pp. 64-73.
Various authors, "The Election and America's Future," NYRB, Nov 4, 2004, pp. 6-17.
Lilla, Mark, "The Closing of the Straussian Mind," NYRB, November 4, 2004, pp. 55-59.
Lelyveld, Joseph, "The View from the Heartland," NYRB, Nov 4, 2004, pp. 60-64.
*Moyers, Bill, "The Mugging of the American Dream," AlterNet June 6, 2005.

Byrd, Robert C., Losing America.

October  4: Democracy, Political Polarization and Elections II

Danner, Mark, "How Bush Really Won," NYRB, Jan 13, 2005, pp. 48-53.
Danner, Mark, "Bush's Victory: Second Thoughts," NYRB, March 10, 2005, pp.49-50.
Moyers, Bill, "Welcome to Doomsday," NYRB, March 24, 2005, pp. 8-10.
Keyssar, Alexander, "The Electoral College Flunks," NYRB, March 24, 2005, pp. 16-18.
Drew, Elizabeth, "He's Back!" NYRB, March 24, 2005, pp. 43-46.
Ryan, Alan, "Time Out?" NYRB, October 21,2004.
Ackerman, Bruce and Frank, Thomas, "What's the Matter with Liberals?" NYRB, May 12, 2005, pp. 46-51.

James S. Fishkin, Deliberation Day.

October 11: Privatization of the Social Safety Net

Freidman, Benjamin M. "Bush and Kerry: A Big Divide." NYRB, October 21, 2004.
Krugman, Paul, "America's Senior Moment," NYRB, March 10, 2005, pp. 6-11.
Lowenstein, Roger, "A Question of Numbers, New York Times Magazine, January 16, 2005, p. 40.
Longman, Phillip, "The Best Care Ever," Washington Monthly, Feb 2005, pp. 38-48.
Stiglitz, Joseph, "Securing Social Security for the Future," The Economists' Voice: Vol. 2: No. 1, Article 5.
Currie, Janet, Cutting the Safety Net, One Strand at a Time, The Economist's Voice, Vol. 2: No. 2. Article 5.
Confessore, Nicholas "Breaking The Code," New York Times Magazine January 16, 2005, Section 6, Page 35, Column 1.

October 25: War and Terrorism

Raban, Jonathan, "The Threat from the Sea," NYRB, August 12, 2004, pp. 23-25.
Drew, Elizabeth, "Pinning the Blame," NYRB, September 23, 2004, pp. 6-12.
Powers, Thomas, "Secret Intelligence & the 'War on Terror'," NYRB, Dec 16, 2004, pp. 50-54.
Raban, Jonathan, "The Truth About Terrorism," NYRB, Jan 13, 2005, pp. 22-26.
Keefe, Patrick Radden, "Quartermasters of Terror," NYRB, Feb 10, 2005, pp. 33-36.
Urquhart, Brian, "The Good General," NYRB, September 23, 2004, pp. 28-33.
Hedges, Chris, "On War," NYRB, Dec 16, 2004, pp. 8-14.
Powers, Thomas, "Black Arts," NYRB, May 12, 2005, pp. 21-25.
Keefe, Patrick Radden, "Cat and Mouse Games." NYRB, May 26, 2005, pp. 41-43.
U.N., A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility.

Naftali, Timmothy, Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism
9/11 Commision Report

November  1: Race, Class, and Education

Andrew Hacker, "Patriot Games", NYPR, June 24,2004, pp. 28-31.
Sullivan, Kathleen, "What Happened to 'Brown'?" NYRB, September 23, 2004, pp. 47-52.
Rothstein, Richard, "Must Schools Fail?" NYRB, Dec 2, 2004, pp. 29-37.
"'Must Schools Fail?': An exchange, NYRB, Feb 24, 2005, pp. 49-50.
Delbanco, Andrew, "Colleges: An Endangered species?" NYRB, March 10, 2005, pp. 18-20.
Shattuck, Roger, "The Shame of the Schools," NYRB, April 7, 2005, pp. 66-69.
Ewers, Justin, "Class Conscious Low-income students have long been a rare and invisible minority at elite colleges." US News and World Report, May 2, 2005.
DeMott, Benjamin, "Jocks and the Academy, NYRB, May 12, 2005,pp. 29-32.
letter from McPherson and DeMott's reply, NYRB, July 14, 2005. p. 49.

Huntington, S. Who Are We? Challenges to American National Identity.
Reich, R., Reason: Why Liberals will Win the Battle for America.
Greenberg, S. The Two Americas: Our Current Political Deadlock and How to Break It.
Shipler, D. The Working Poor: Invisible America.

November  8: Civil and Human Rights

Danner, Mark, "Abu Ghraib: The Hidden Story." NYRB, June 10, June 24, and October 7 2004.
Dean, John, L.A. Times Book Review,
Dworkin, Ronald, "What the Court Really Said." New York Review of Books, August 12, 2004.
Lewis, Anthony, "Making Torture Legal," NYRB, July 15, 2004, pp. 4-8.
Prejean, Sister Helen, "Death in Texas," NYRB, January 13, 2005, pp. 4-6.
"Torture and Gonzales: An Exchange," NYRB, Feb 10, 2005, pp. 43-44.
Morgan, Edmund and Marie Morgan, "Bill of Wrongs," NYRB, March 10, 2005, pp. 31-34.
Mayer, Jane, "Outsourcing Torture," New Yorker, Feb 14, 2005, p. 106.
Mantel, Hilary, "The Right to Life," NYRB, May 12, 2005, pp. 4-8.
Lewis, Anthony. "Privilege and the Press." NYRB. July 14, 2005, pp. 4-8.
Amnesty International. Guantanamo and Beyond: The Continuing Pursuit of Unchecked Executive Power. May 2005.

Abrams, Floyd. Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendement. New York: Viking.
David Cole, Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism. The New Press.
Prejean, Sister Helen, The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. Random House.

November 15: Media

Massing, Michael, "Unfit to Print?", NYBR, June 24,2004, pp. 6-10.
Massing, Michael, "Iraq, the Press, & the Election," NYRB, Dec 16, 2004, pp. 26-32.
Lewis, Anthony, "More Than Fit to Print," NYRB, April 7, 2005, pp. 8-12.
Goodale, James C., "The Flawed Report on Dan Rather," NYRB, April 7, 2005, pp. 78-80.
Letters, "The Flawed Report on Dan Rather: An Exchange, NYRB, May 12, 2005, p.52.

John Prados and Margaret Pratt Porter, eds., Inside the Pentagon Papers, Univesity Press of Kansas, 2004.

November 22: Corporate America

Marcia Angell, "The Truth About the Drug Companies," NYRB, July 15, 2004, pp. 52-58.
Head, Simon, "Inside the Leviathan," NYRB, Dec 16, 2004, pp. 80-89.
Madrick, Jeff, "The Producers," NYRB, March 10, 2005, pp. 26-29.
"Working at Wal-Mart: An Exchange," NYRB, April 28, 2005, pp. 52-53.
Jeremy Bernstein, "Social Insecurity," NYRB, April 28, 2005, pp. 51-52.

Marcia Angell, The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It, Random House, 2005.
Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Owl, 2004, 2001.

November 29: Environment

Tim Flannery. "Endgame." NYRB. Aug. 11, 2005, pp. 26-29.
Moyers, Bill, "Welcome to Doomsday," NYRB, March 24, 2005, pp. 8-10.
Vinnikov, K.Y and N.C. Grody, "Global Warming Trend of Mean Tropospheric Temperature Observed by Satellites," Science. Vol. 302 (2004). pp. 269-272.

Harvey Blatt, America's Environmental Report Card: Are We Making the Grade? MIT Press.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Crimes Against nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy, HarperCollins.

December  6: Wrapping UP

Free Reading: Do what you need to do for the final Paper.