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SSHIS-3000-2: Social Problems

Spring 2022

Subject: Social Science and History
Type: Seminar
Delivery Mode: In-Person
Level: Undergraduate

Campus: San Francisco
Course Dates: January 18, 2022 — May 08, 2022
Meetings: Mon 7:15-10:15PM, San Francisco - Grad Center - GC7
Instructor: Maxwell Leung

Units: 3.0
Enrolled: 16/16 Waitlist


This course offers a solid overview of the American political system beginning with studying its foundation and its development over time. The course will analyze the increasingly important role of campaign financing, social media, and other modes of representation in elections in contemporary American politics and how civil society as well as political units such as interest groups, political parties, political action committees (PACs), super PACs, and the media influence the policy making process. The course will introduce how Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court operate, both in theory and in practice, and how they work for, and sometimes fail, the interests of the nation. Through various pedagogical tools, students learn to think analytically and systematically about American politics, and the importance of the study of American government. This course has two secondary objectives. First, the course reviews the contours of democracy in contemporary political and civic life and asks these questions: What facilitates democratic life? What is civil discourse and its engagement? How do we attend to questions of identity and difference (e.g., gender, class, race, gender identity and expression, religious affiliation, etc.) in democratic practices? How do we address systemic and structural inequalities such as racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, for example? Is voting all that matters? Does democracy mean majority wins all, all the time? What is the role of dissent in a democratic society? Second, as the semester progresses, you will be required to not only interrogate political discourses, but also be asked to reflect upon your own positions and how to situate it in the broader context of local, national, and international discourses. In other words, this course compels students to ask where are we headed as a nation, what criteria do we use to evaluate a desirable outcome and for whom, and if it is not on a suitable course for yourself and others, then what can we do to change it, if at all.

Pre-Requisites and Co-Requisites:

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