US Government & Politics aims to help you make sense of the US political system in an age in which its ability to function as an inclusive and competitive democracy is severely tested. Many observers consider the current polarized political constellation and the rather unorthodox approach of Donald Trump to the presidency to be exceptional. But is that really true? A key goal of this course is to go beyond a fixation on how Trump behaves in office and uncover long term changes in the functioning of the US political system to see how actors have used and shaped the institutional hardware that for such a long time served as a template for new democracies worldwide. We will explore this in a problem-based fashion, in which students themselves will identify the most relevant questions that need to be explored to understand the functioning of the US political system, its key institutions and actors and the dynamics that have evolved over time. We a take cumulative approach where the course is divided in three distinct parts that serve to formulate and answer three types of questions that build upon one another: defining key actors and institutions, describing their functioning and explaining the political phenomena that we find most relevant for understanding US politics.
- Teacher: Herman Lelieveldt