Polarization, Globalization, Post-Modernization, etc
Professor: Douglas Nelson
Office: Tilton 108 (Murphy Institute), Phone: 865-5317
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30-5:30
The outcome of the recent election was a surprise to virtually everyone. In the aftermath of the election, a wide variety of attempts to explain the outcome have been proposed. None of them appear to be fully satisfactory. The purpose of the seminar this semester is to study a number of recent attempts to understand (changes in) the current political economy of the United States.
Readings for the course will be drawn from:
Achen and Bartels (2016). Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government.
Baldwin (2016). The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization.
Bishop (2008). The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded Americans is Tearing Us Apart.
Fiorina (2011). Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics.
Greenwald and Kahn (2009). Globalization: n. The Irrational Fear that Someone in China Will Take Your Job.
Hampshire (2013). The Politics of Immigration: Contradictions of the Liberal State.
Krippner (2011). Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance.
Levinson (2016). An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy.
Mann and Ornstein (2016). It’s Even Worse than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.
Zingales (2012). A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity
These are all available at lower price as digital books (e.g. Kindle). Furthermore, the Krippner and Greenwald/Kahn books are only available as digital books.
Capstone courses. This course is a senior seminar for the Murphy Institute. 1) Prerequisites. In addition to the exposure to a broad range of perspectives in the Murphy core courses, I will presume familiarity with microeconomics at the intermediate level (i.e. Economics 3010) and a level of familiarity (and comfort) with formal and statistical analysis at the same level. 2) Participation. This course will be run as a seminar which means attendance and active participation are mandatory. I will expect all members of the seminar to have read, and be prepared to discuss, all the assigned readings before the date on which we discuss them. The analytical comments (see below) are an aid to this.
Evaluation: Your performance in this course will be evaluated on the basis of 12 reaction papers (worth 100 points), and one research paper (worth 100). To receive an A, you must earn at least 90 percent of the points available. To pass the course you must earn at least 60 percent of the points available. Grades between these limits will be determined on the basis of your performance relative to that of the class as a whole.
Policy on analytical comments. The analytical comments are written assignments consisting of two parts: a comment on the assigned reading for the week (7 of 10 points); and 5 questions raised by the assigned reading for the week (3 of 10 points). The comment should be about 3 double-spaced pages long. Do not waste time summarizing the reading. The goal is to identify some aspect of the reading that strikes you as particularly interesting and to explain why you find it interesting. The questions should identify things you would like to see discussed in class. The comments are due on, or before, the start of the class in which the material is discussed. Late comments will not be accepted.
Research papers. Every member of the seminar is required to produce a research paper on some aspect of the current political economy (broadly related to the subject matter of the course). These papers must be original work, plagiarism will not be tolerated. Broadly speaking, I expect papers in the 25-35 page range. To ensure that topics are well-established and suitable for the course, I require a proposal due no later than the fifth meeting of the course (15 February). Late proposals will result in a 10 point penalty to be assessed on the paper’s final score. Research papers are due at the last regular meeting of the course (26 April). Late papers will not be accepted, and will earn a score of 0 points.
These papers must be original work, plagiarism will not be tolerated. This includes: unattributed appropriation of someone else’s work; and excessive use (whether or not attributed) of a secondary source [including, in particular, any of the above survey articles.] If you are unclear as to what constitutes plagiarism, consult the Tulane University Honor Code on plagiarism.
I am aware that Tulane students are able to read a standard university syllabus and determine the content of the course and its relation to the major and the individual student’s course of study. However, the administration of Tulane University, along with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS–which “accredits” primary and secondary schools as well as all varieties of 2 and 4 year undergraduate programs [with very little in the way of adjustment in rubrics, metrics, etc.]), has determined that you require additional information. I collect this material in a separate section so that you can refer to it, or discard it, as you consider appropriate.
STUDENT OBJECTIVES/OUTCOMES: By the end of the course, the student should be able to think, speak, and write fluently and competently about the ideas and issues covered in the course (as reflected in the course description and the syllabus). The student should have a solid understanding of the social, political, economic, and philosophical significance of ideas and concepts in the analysis of social networks and they should be familiar with major ideas and theories regarding explanations, interpretations, applications, and criticisms of work on social networks. The student should be able to formulate critical views concerning these issues and respond fluently and competently to questions concerning these views.
1. Students will be able to identify and recognize major themes, ideas, and concepts.
2. Students will analyze, interpret, and discuss these ideas in a scholarly and coherent manner.
3. Students will construct, formulate, and develop creative and critical scholarly assessments.
4. Students will appraise, evaluate, and appreciate the values and consequences of these ideas.
Topic I. We Are Not One: Polarization and Politics
● Bishop (2008). The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded Americans is Tearing Us Apart.
● Kenworthy (2016). “Political Polarization”. Blog post.
Topic II. Democracy Problems
● Fiorina (2011). Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics.
● Mann and Ornstein (2016). It’s Even Worse than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.
● Mann and Ornstein (2016). “The Republicans waged a 3-decade war on government. They got Trump”. Vox column.
● Achen and Bartels (2016). Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government.
Topic III. Problems with Markets, 1: Globalization
● Greenwald and Kahn (2009). Globalization: n. The Irrational Fear that Someone in China Will Take Your Job.
● Baldwin (2016). The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization.
● Hampshire (2013). The Politics of Immigration: Contradictions of the Liberal State.
Topic IV. Problems with Markets, 2: Financialization
● Krippner (2011). Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance.
Topic V. Problems with Markets, 3: Post-Modernization
● Levinson (2016). An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy.
● Zingales (2012). A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity.