550: Introduction

History 550: Politics and Public Policy, Winter 2021-22

Course Introduction

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Book to Purchase:

Story and Laurie, The Rise of Conservatism in America, 1945-2000 (2008)

Most of the readings will be in the big batch of photocopied documents, which I will give you at no charge. I also have curated a collection of links to good sources of news and opinion on my nifty Current Events Guide check it out.

I'm collecting some stories I've found since the reader was made. Here's a longer list of politics and policy articles.


Daily readings: You will need to be able to follow the syllabus which is posted on this website. Units are numbered sequentially. Your next homework assignment will be the next unit on the syllabus after the one we just did. The numbered assignments apply only to the classes in which homework can be assigned. Short blocks will look at policy issues in class--no homework assigned. The syllabus tells you what to read each night before the two or three weekly classes with homework. Come to class for short blocks and you'll find out what we're doing when you get there.

The syllabus includes a "question focus" with each reading assignment, designed to stimulate questions about the readings. Active learners don't just sit down and read. They read to answer questions. Before you begin each reading assignment, take a moment to develop some questions to guide your reading.

I've put wide margins on most of the photocopies so that you can take notes there: summaries/outlines, questions, reactions.

Essays: You will write a series of op-ed style essay on topics connected to assigned readings.

Research/Presentations on a public policy issue. The short block each week will be devoted to policy issues. Each of you will choose one issue (here's a list) to study in depth and your final will be delivery of a PowerPoint presentation on that issue. See the document attached to this page at the bottom for a list of policy ideas (it's not an exhaustive list by any means).

Showing up: Completing assigned work on time, arriving to class on time, marking up your readings and having them in front of you during discussions. Take care of the fundamentals. Do your job. Show up.

Website: Find reading assignments by using navigation bars (Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4) at the top and bottom of this page and of every other page of this syllabus.

You will notice in the navigation bar at the top of every page that there are a number of pages offering guidance for students in my courses. Everyone should read the History Department statement on plagiarism on the Writing History page. Plagiarism may be grounds for dismissal from the school.

Here are my general Course Requirements.

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4