|APT Charles U syllabus 2011.doc||none|
Poslední úprava: Associate Professor David Gutterman (19.09.2011)
Dissent in American Political Thought
Professor David Gutterman
Wednesday, 11:00-12:30, 6 credits
Some (mostly citizens of the United States, of course) have called the last 100 years, the "American Century." The rise of the nation in global power over the course of the 20th century is clear and dramatic. However, the title "American Century" can be perceived as conveying a cohesiveness that obscures the profound expressions of dissent in the 20th century United States. Rather than simple consensus, this was a century of debate and division. From the Anarchists to the KKK, the Fundamentalists to the Feminists, the Labor Unionists to the Libertarians, the Militia Movements to the Yippies, this "American Century" was also marked by economic struggle, racial unrest, and "culture wars."
In this course, we will be examining such expressions of dissent in 20th and 21st century American political thought. Our exploration will be guided by the following questions: What is political dissent? What forms can dissent take? What accounts for the presence and absence of political dissent? What makes dissent successful? What is the relationship between dissent and democratic citizenship?
This course will be taught in English.
The readings for this course will generally be available as pdf files through SIS or through links available on the syllabus. I also want to note that there will be additional readings assigned that are not yet on the syllabus; these readings will be announced in class.
This is a seminar class, not a lecture course. Indeed, more than most seminars, our goal is to make this class a student-centered seminar. Not only will we be meeting as a large group, we will also be working in small groups of six people throughout the semester. In these small group settings students will be asked to take on different roles in the discussion, including the role of facilitator and note taker. The goals here are not just to provide more intimate discussion settings, but also to develop communication skills. In addition, students will be asked to make presentations both individually and as a part of a group of three people.
The reading assignments for this course are rigorous and challenging. You are required to thoughtfully read every assignment. When I say that you are required to read, I do not mean that you should mechanically scan every page, but that you should grapple with the ideas. Mark up your text, read with a pen and paper, and write down ideas, questions, quotations, and points of confusion or contention. Read for comprehension rather than completion, pondering every idea rather than looking at every word. This means that you may need to read a section, think about it, read it again, write about it, discuss it, and then read it again. So, "do the reading" means "engage yourself with the ideas of the texts."
To stay prepared, plan for a sufficient amount of time to complete the assignment, and read aggressively. Remember to make use of your resources. Come to my office hours and form reading groups with your classmates.
Reading in this way will assist you in the second requirement: Your regular attendance, careful preparation, and active participation are essential. Unexcused absences from class will have serious and significant detrimental effects on your final grade. Come prepared to participate by doing the reading, reflecting upon the course material, and bringing to class issues, questions, and passages for discussion. Moreover, class participation does not simply entail speaking, but also listening in an engaged and respectful manner to the thoughts of your classmates.
There are three writing assignments in this course, each quite different in nature and scope.
1. The first writing assignment is an op-ed essay (1200-1500 words) in which you will be asked to choose an issue and write an essay that inspires readers to take political action.
2. The second essay assignment will ask you to compare two different illustrations of dissent in the United States.
3. The third assignment is a final essay exam. At the end of the semester, I will provide the class with a question that each student will have to answer in an 8 page essay.
Essay #1 25%
Essay #2 25%
Final Exam 35%
Class Participation 10%