This course will offer students a unique opportunity to engage with and learn about the American political system (with emphasis on the American Presidency) through the perspective of Aaron Sorkin’s fictional television drama, The West Wing. From 1999 to the series finale in 2006, The West Wing received 26 Emmy Awards, including the award for Outstanding Drama Series, which it won four consecutive times. In addition to its entertainment value, the series is a running commentary on our system of government. This class will use The West Wing as a lens to highlight and ask fundamental questions about many salient issues in modern national political life, such as the proper scope and role of government, international relations, conflicts between the branches, the legislative process, and the reality of popular democracy.
The principal objective of this course is to gain an understanding of the various challenges faced by our national leaders on a daily basis and to learn about how they deal (or fail to deal) with them. We will examine how the structure of the federal government endows various actors with different powers and spheres of influence. How do individuals come together to deal with crisis? Why do they, at times, oppose or seek to frustrate each other? What is the proper role for the United States in a globally interconnected world? What factors do voters consider when casting their ballots? We will explore these questions and more, wherever possible, incorporating contemporary news articles and current events to guide our discussion.
Join us as we navigate through the Bartlet presidency together, and enhance our understanding of the rapidly changing American political system in the process.
|Section 1||Jeremy Saraie, Rose Meinrath||30||140 Barrows||[Tu] 5:00PM-7:00PM||01/31/2017||