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Spring 2019 Congress & The Legislative Process Syllabus Professor Shastri

Spring 2019 Congress & The Legislative Process Syllabus Professor Shastri
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  Page 1  of 5   PSC Congress & The Legislative Process   Spring 2019  A&L Hall Room #313   CONTACT INFORMATION Instructor: Anand Shastri Department: Political Science Office Location: A&L Hall Building Lounge Office Hours: Monday 4:30PM-5:30PM, By Appointment Email:  COURSE DESCRIPTION & OBJECTIVES This course is about the U.S. Congress, the central legislative branch in American Politics, and one of the most powerful and oldest of any democracy in world history. Although is it not what we think of when hearing the term “American exceptionalism”, it is by far one of the most unique and original aspects of America. The goal here is to provide an understanding of the basic electoral, procedural, policy, and institutional features of the U.S. Congress. However, an important course objective for me is that some of what you learn will help in any career or Advanced Degree level you pursue, and also daily life in society. This course on U.S. Congress & The Legislative Process will be split up into 4 sections, but they are overlapping in nature, and are the following: Section 1) Introduction to Congress & Congressional Political Behavior 2) Congressional Structures/Processes 3) Congress & Policymaking, & 4) Congress & Political Institutions. The most central and recurring theme of this course is the difficulty members have in balancing and managing the often, contradictory facts that they are locally elected, but often make national policy. GRADING BREAKDOWN Exam #1: 150 pts. Intro to Congress & Congressional Political Behavior: multiple choice/short answer Exam #2: 150 pts. Congressional Structures/Processes: take-home, typed essays   Exam #3: 150 pts. Congress & Policymaking: take-home, typed essays Exam #4: 150 pts. Congress & Political Institutions: multiple choice/essay These 4 exams are all NON-cumulative, but there is some overlapping between these different components of Congress. For example, while Congressional elections are considered political behavior, and designing healthcare legislation is Congressional policymaking, there is the topic of how healthcare policy impacts Congressional elections. If you miss an exam, but have a legitimate reason supported by documentation, I will create a makeup exam with no penalty. If failure to take an exam is considered unexcused, you can take a makeup, but will have 30 points taken off your score (meaning starting at 120/150  Page 2  of 5   before I even evaluate). Either way, makeup exams are likely to be more difficult. However, there is NO makeup for Exam #4 (Final Exam)!  Attendance : Attending class is not mandatory, but I am providing positive reinforcement. For every class you attend, I will add 1 point to your semester point total. So, if you attend every class, you’d get 30 points to your grade, which would boost your grade by 5 full %age points.   I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE CHANGES AS TO HOW I AM GRADING YOUR   PERFORMANCE, BUT ANY CHANGES CAN ONLY BENEFIT YOU; THEY WILL NEVER BE DETRIMENTAL. THIS INCLUDES A POSSIBLE EXTRA CREDIT ASSIGNMENT, ATTENDANCE POLICIES, ETC. GRADING SCALE  A = 93.00 AND HIGHER; A- = 90.00-92.99 B+ = 87.00-89.99; B = 83.00-86.99; B- = 80.00-82.99 C+ = 77.00-79.99; C = 70.00-76.99 D = 60.00-69.99; F = 59.99 or below. THERE IS NO ROUNDING UP!!!! REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS Congress and Its Members, 16   th  Edition. 2018. Roger H. Davidson, Walter J. Oleszek, Frances E. Lee, and Eric Schickler.   POLICIES & RULES Decorum Please be respectful towards classmates and me. This means NO TALKING while others are talking. I do NOT allow food in class. Beverages are allowed, but I reserve the right to PROHBIT them if problems occur. I also do NOT allow texting or any other usage of phone in class. Remember, attendance is NOT mandatory, so if you need to text, show up late, talk to someone, etc., then don’t come to class, as it is disruptive to everyone else. I do allow laptops, but request that you sit on the side and/or back row of class, so if you want to facebook, tweet, et c., you don’t disrupt others. If you repeatedly talk while a classmate is participating or I am lecturing/reviewing, or break ANY of the other rules of decorum stated here, I reserve the right to eject you from the classroom. Lectures Taping of lectures is PROHIBITED. This is especially because the night BEFORE each class, I will put the lecture slides up on blackboard. It is important to note that these slides have the most basic information, and only by attending the lectures regularly will you be able to understand concepts put on the slides. As far as breaking this rule, if I catch you, I reserve the right to eject you from the class PERMANENTLY, and you will likely get an “F” for the semester, given that this is intentional rule -breaking/disrespect.    Page 3  of 5   Students with Disabilities Students in need of special accommodations in the course need to register with the Center for Students with Disabilities. The university offers a wide range of services to help students with disabilities. These services include, but are not limited to: permission to receive extra time on exams, sign language, note takers, readers, and research assistants. IF YOU HAVE A DISABILITY, I WOULD ADVISE USING THE ACCOMODATIONS AS OUT OF FAIRNESS TO OTHERS AND YOURSELF, I CANNOT MAKE EXCEPTIONS  WITHOUT MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION. Academic Integrity It is important to know university rules about academic misconduct as described in the Student Handbook. Cheating and other forms of misconduct can result in severe penalties, which can include a failing grade and/or expulsion from the university. If I catch you cheating on an in-class Exam, or catch you plagiarizing on a take-home Exam, the MINIMUM penalty will likely be an “F” for the semester.   COURSE SCHEDULE I reserve the right to add readings, remove readings, or modify this schedule. I will let you know in advance of any changes . Readings dated should be read BEFORE class, so for example, if Ch. 14 is assigned for Wednesday, 5/08 that means it should be completed before class starts Wednesday, 5/08. I do NOT lecture and teach directly from the book. There is a substantial part of each lecture from the readings, but some of it isn’t. Any week where the topic is in CAPS and underlined are areas of specialization for me. Thus, these weeks will be the least taught from the book, so I strongly suggest following these lectures especially closely. In cases where there is a substantive conflict between the textbook and what I teach, what I teach ALWAYS supersedes the textbook as there are matters of interpretation (textbooks even disagree with each other at times) . Lastly, if there is anything requiring class cancellation/postponement, I will post it on blackboard before class. SECTION 1 INTRO TO CONGRESS & CONGRESSIONAL POLITICAL BEHAVIOR   Week #1 Basics of the U.S. Congress/Historical Evolution of Congress Monday 4/01 (Lecture #1, Reading: Ch. 1 ALL) Wednesday 4/03 (Lecture #2, Reading: Ch. 2 ALL) Week #2 A) APPORTIONMENT & (RE)DISTRICTING/B) CANDIDACY & NOMINATION; CAMPAIGNS, ELECTIONS, & VOTING BEHAVIOR PART 1   Monday 4/08 (Lecture #3 & 1 st  Half Lecture #4, Reading Ch. 3 ALL) Wednesday 4/10 (2 ND  Half Lecture #4), (Lecture #5; Reading: Ch. 4 pgs. 73-90)  Page 4  of 5   Week #3 CAMPAIGNS, ELECTIONS, & VOTING BEHAVIOR PART 2; A) BACKGROUNDS & ROLES/ B) WORK “BACK HOME”   Monday 4/15 (Lecture #6, Reading: Ch. 4 pgs. 90-109) BUT LECTURE IS NOT FROM BOOK AT ALL!!!; (1 st  Half of Lecture #7, Reading: Ch. 5 111-123)   Wednesday 4/17 (2 nd  Half of Lecture #7); (Lecture #8, Reading: Ch. 5 123-137) REVIEW FOR EXAM #1, HANDOUT TO THOSE NOT HERE Week #4 EXAM #1; LEADERS & POLITICAL PARTIES IN CONGRESS Monday 4/22 Exam #1 SECTION 2: CONGRESSIONAL STRUCTURES/PROCESSES Wednesday 4/24 (Lecture #9, Reading: Ch. 6 ALL) BUT LECTURE IS NOT FROM BOOK!!!   WEEK #5 Committees; Congressional Rules & Procedures Monday 4/29 (Lecture #10, Reading: Ch. 7 pgs. 175-197); (1 st  Half of Lecture #11, Reading:   Ch. 7 pgs. 197-217) Wednesday 5/01 (2 nd  Half of Lecture #11) (Lecture #12, Reading: Ch. 8 ALL) WEEK #6 DECISION MAKING IN CONGRESS/ECONOMIC & BUDGETARY POLICY   Monday 5/06 (Lecture #13, Reading: Ch. 9, ALL); EXAM #2 Review; Hand out Exam #2 SECTION 3: CONGRESS & POLICYMAKING   Wednesday 5/08 (Lecture #14, Reading: Ch. 14 ALL)   I WILL HAVE EXAM #2 GRADED BEFORE THE WITHDRAWAL DATE GIVEN BY THE REGISTRAR’S CALENDAR . WITHDRAWAL DATE: FRIDAY, MAY 17 th , 2019, 11:59PM.   WEEK #7 CONGRESS: “CULTURE WARS” POLICY ; RACE/ETHNICITY POLICY Monday 5/13 (Lecture #15) NO READING!! Wednesday 5/15 (Lecture #16) NO READING!! WEEK #8 National Security/Foreign Policy; CONGRESS & THE PRESIDENCY PART 1  Monday 5/20 (Lecture #17, Reading: Ch. 15 ALL); EXAM #3 Review, Hand Out Exam #3   SECTION 4: CONGRESS & POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS   Wednesday 5/22 (Lecture #18, Reading: Ch. 10 pgs. 275-291)   WEEK #9 MEMORIAL DAY; CONGRESS & THE PRESIDENCY 2 Monday 5/27 MEMORIAL DAY!!! NO CLASS!!!   Wednesday 5/29 (Lecture #19, Reading: Ch. 10 pgs. 291-319) WILL HAVE EXAM #3 GRADED BY MONDAY, JUNE 3 rd , 2019!  Page 5  of 5   Week #10 Congress & the Bureaucracy; Congress & the Judiciary; Congress & Interest Groups Monday 6/03 (Lecture #20, Reading: Ch. 11 ALL) (1 st  Half of Lecture #21, Reading: Ch. 12  ALL) Wednesday 6/05 (2 nd  Half of Lecture #21) (Lecture #22 Reading: Ch. 13 ALL)   Week #11 FINALS WEEK EXAM #4 DATE & TIME NOT SET YET
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