This seminar will explore whether there are intelligible aspects of political practice by elected or appointed individuals that can be comprehended and studied rigorously. The kinds of questions that will guide this inquiry include: Is political ambition different from other kinds of ambition? Is there something distinctive about the allure of political power? Are there different educational traits or requirements for people who enter political life? Are there discernable differences between executive officials (mayors, governors, presidents, cabinet members, etc.) and legislators? What is the connection between public rhetoric, political ideas, and practice? Is it possible to develop consistent frameworks for assessing political leadership? How do the rewards of political life differ from the rewards of commercial activity or other professions, and does this affect the ethical values by which we judge political actions?
Instructor: Steven Hayward
Subfield: American Politics
The Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research.
This junior seminar falls within the "American Politics" subfield, and can fulfill an upper-division requirement for the major.
Political Science Majors of Junior and Senior status (must be 3rd or 4th year students with at least 60 units completed). Priority may be given to students who have not yet taken a junior seminar.