American Politics Field Seminar: Polarization, Inequality, and Populism in the United States

New School for Social Research: Politics

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Majors Only

American Politics Field Sem

Spring 2020

Taught By: David Plotke

Section: A

CRN: 7149

Credits: 3

This seminar analyzes contemporary American politics. In light of the oncoming 2020 presidential election, we focus on polarization, inequality, and populism. In the U.S., political life seems turbulent and chaotic. We first consider polarization, as a description of how things work and as a durable national alignment. In our polarized politics, two main forces oppose each other intensely on all fronts. The left and right argue passionately about immigration, economic growth and inequality, health care, the political meanings of ethnicity and race, the appropriate international role of the U.S. and other large issues. Then we focus on inequality and aim to understand its dramatic growth in recent decades. What are its political meanings? We examine inequality along several dimensions, including racial and ethnic inequality and emerging forms of regional inequality. Populism has often mattered for American politics and now appears as a vital and contentious force. Current forms of populism range across the political spectrum, often with strong links to American nationalism. In prior versions of this course, one starting point has been to recognize continuity in American politics, in themes and institutions. In 2020, this point of departure seems inadequate. Rather than a fixed political landscape, we face a tumultuous and uncertain political scene - with a President whose election was not imagined as late as 2014-2015. Analysts have long held that American parties and politics are compelled to be moderate in ideology and centrist in practical choices. Such views run into trouble today, given bitter divisions and dynamic and contentious political and social movements. This course helps Ph.D. students in Politics to prepare for the American Politics field exam. It is open to M.A. and Ph.D. students in Politics and to M.A. and Ph.D. students in other New School programs.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Politics (GPOL)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 3, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 12, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 3:56am 2/21/2020 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: TBD

Room: TBD

Date Range: 1/21/2020 - 5/5/2020