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Special Topics in Political Science (490-0-21)


American Political Parties


Daniel J Galvin
847 491 2641
601 University Place, 103 Scott Hall
Office Hours:

Meeting Info

Scott Hall 201 Ripton Room: Fri 9:00AM - 11:50AM

Overview of class

This seminar surveys scholarship on political parties, partisanship, and polarization in the United States. Readings cover institutional, behavioral, quantitative, and historical approaches. Topics include the function of parties in the U.S., the concept of party systems, the racial realignment of the parties, the relationship between movements and parties, party asymmetry, partisan polarization, the historical construction of partisan polarization, political violence and "radical" partisanship, the transformation of the contemporary Republican Party, and democratic backsliding.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to: (1) Critically evaluate the arguments and evidence in articles and books. (2) Write analytic papers. (3) Lead and participate meaningfully in scholarly discussion. (4) Understand the range of substantive and methodological approaches to studying American political parties. (5) Critically reflect on the role of political parties in government in politics.

Teaching Method

Discussion-based seminar

Class Materials (Required)

Keneshia Grant, The Great Migration and the Democratic Party: Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics in the 20th Century (Temple 2020), 9781439917466 Daniel Schlozman, When Movements Anchor Parties: Electoral Alignments in American History (Princeton 2015), 9780691164700. Frances Lee, Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign (Chicago 2016), 9780226409047 Nolan McCarty, Polarization: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford 2019), 978-0190867775 Sam Rosenfeld, The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era (Chicago 2018) 978-0226407258. Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason, Radical American Partisanship: Mapping Violent Hostility, Its Causes, and the Consequences for Democracy (Chicago 2022) 9780226820286. Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, Let them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality (Norton), 978-1-63149-903-6

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment Requirements: Reserved for Graduate Students.