American politics focuses on five subfields: national institutions, processes and behavior, political thought, federalism and intergovernmental relations, and constitutional law and judicial politics. Students begin their study by taking a wide ranging core course, American Politics, that surveys these subfields, covering classic works and new cutting edge material and highlighting controversies in the literature. At the same time, students may choose from foundation courses as the Presidency, Congress, and Constitutional Law, and later move on to research seminars on topics including political polarization, public opinion and electoral behavior, and American political development.
The American politics faculty, intellectually and methodologically diverse, understands that students are also intellectually and methodologically diverse. Since one approach will not fit all, students are encouraged to explore the field to discover the theoretical and substantive problems they find most intriguing. Specific interests of the faculty include the nation’s response to poverty, American political development, the political psychology of presidential leadership, disability policy in the workplace, judicial reasoning, political polarization, political psychology, civil liberties, and American political development.
This subfield features studies in these areas:
- American political thought
- National institutions
- Constitutional law and judicial behavior
- Political processes and behavior (voting, parties, and public opinion)
- Intergovernmental relations
- Federalism and intergovernmental relations