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, conflict 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, whenever possible, incorporating contemporary news articles coupled with knowledge of current events to guide, color, and inform our discussions. Ultimately, the course seeks to empower students with a sense of efficacy in their ability to enact lasting change in the constantly evolving political landscape that surrounds them.
This class is graded on a two-unit pass/no pass (P/NP) basis. Class meetings will take place once a week for two hours and will follow a combined lecture-discussion format. Each week will focus on a particular issue raised in The West Wing. Students are expected to watch the assigned episode and complete readings before the start of class. Readings will be short and are designed to provide commentary and background on the issue at hand. Grades will be focused mainly on attendance and participation.
NOTE: There are no prerequisites required for taking this DeCal. Anyone who has not yet seen The West Wing is more than welcome to register for this class, and will only expect that you watch the 1-2 episodes a week that are assigned. However, we hope that you enjoy this class to the point that you binge-watch it with us!
|West Wing DeCal||Laura Edwards and Fares Alharazy||45||Barrows 166||[W] 6:30PM-8:30PM||01/30/2019||Full||0||--|