Friday, 12 October 2007

Spring classes

The upside of having taught everything under the sun in American politics (well, except parties and interest groups and the presidency) is having zero new preps in the spring. Maybe I’ll have a double upside and not have to spend 50% of the semester on airplanes like I did last year.

The lineup: American Government, Southern Politics, and Congress. For my own sanity and to free up some more time to work on research, I expect minimal tweaks from the last time I taught these courses.

The most likely changes for Congress are culling a book (it’s between Congress and Its Members and Congress Reconsidered, most likely the former due to overlap with Analyzing Congress, even though I may sneak back in some of the inter-branch relations material from the former) and replacing one Fenno book with another (out: Congress at the Grassroots, in: Congressional Travels).

For American Government, I may ditch The Right Nation in favor of bringing back Fiorina’s Culture War, or I may figure out a way to use both. I’m about 98% sure I’ll be sticking with The Logic of American Politics and its companion volume, Principles and Practice.

Except for some syllabus reordering, I’ll probably stick with my current Southern Politics readings.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Liar, liar

I ended up doing more of a book overhaul than I planned for the spring. The least change: American Government got all four books I mentioned in the previous post.

I ended up with a net add to Congress, bringing the grand total up to seven books. I will probably emphasize Analyzing Congress as the primary readings for the subjects it covers and demote the overlap in Congress and Its Members to supplemental readings, but I couldn’t get rid of the interbranch and policy stuff from the latter. Other than edition updates, I added a new CQ book, All Roads Lead to Congress, as a complement to Sinclair’s Unorthodox Lawmaking. Never before have my professional interests and hobbies intersected so well.

Southern politics ended up with a net loss in the requirements column and a hold on the total book list length. Jettisoned are Woodard’s The New Southern Politics—I could justify it in a course on contemporary southern politics, but my class isn’t quite that, instead being more of a “REP + parties in the south” syllabus—and Bullock and Rozell, the latter just simply because the group presentations make their readings redundant. Added to the required readings is Black and Black’s Rise of Southern Republicans, because I realized this semester that my readings really didn’t cover anything between 1985 and 2000, especially with Woodard ditched. Bass and de Vries’ Transformation of Southern Politics makes the “recommended” list, joining Key, since I decided to add some reserve readings from it.

Next stop: syllabus tweaks.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

In with the new, out with the old

Well, it turns out I’m not teaching Congress after all in the spring; instead, for a variety of reasons too boring to go much into (mostly having to do with distribution requirements within the political science major), the king of the schedule and I decided that I should teach POLA 618, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior, instead.

A book list will be forthcoming. Hopefully I can intercept things before the bookstore orders a bazillion copies of Unorthodox Lawmaking et al.