How should we decide where to put things society needs, but few people want nearby? In this writing seminar, we will focus on the political challenge of infrastructure in the United States. Infrastructure is broadly defined, but we will focus primarily on the supply of market-rate and affordable housing, as well as clean energy infrastructure. The political challenge at hand is how to provide infrastructure but also ensuring equity in its distribution of costs and benefits. Having defined normative goals, we will review the political hurdles to its provision, from the behavior of political actors to the institutional designs which create challenges.
This course will introduce you to the mechanics and politics of states and local government in the United States. We will begin by surveying what state and local governments actually control: what they spend on and how they raise that revenue. Next, we will unpack what social science can tell us about who gets what and why in the state and local context. Finally, we will explore specific policy areas, addressing current debates using the social science lens we've developed. Along the way, you will write a policy paper on a topic of your choice using political science theory to understand why things may be broken and how to help fix them.
This course is designed as a broad survey of American government and political processes. It is supposed to convey fundamental concepts and information for understanding politics. The goal is to help you understand key concepts and then to employ these concepts to understand a variety of current political events.
This course will introduce you to the politics of social policy in the United States. We will begin by surveying the state of poverty and inequality, then review the origins of modern social insurance and redistribution. Next, we will unpack what social science can tell us about why these policies look the way they do and what their future may hold. Finally, we will dive into specific policy areas, addressing current debates using the social science lens we’ve developed. The course builds to an op-ed assignment on a policy of your choice, which you will submit to a media outlet of your choosing.
This course will introduce you to the process and politics of public policymaking in the United States. We begin by delineating the mechanics of the policymaking process. Next, we will unpack the limits of apolitical approaches and the need for moral choices. Finally, we will use social science to understand why policies develop the way they do, sometimes seeming irrational. The course builds to an op-ed assignment on a policy of your choice, which you will submit to a media outlet of your choosing.