In this course, we will accomplish two things. First, you will become familiar with the logic of running a political persuasion campaign. For this purpose, we will examine relevant research on persuasion from political science and psychology. Second, you will design and present a persuasive campaign. Throughout the semester, we will discuss how to design the campaign. In the last set of class sessions, you and other students will present your work. You will then take part in a question and answer session about how you developed your presentation. Throughout the academic term, we will discuss topics pertinent to organizing persuasive campaigns. Some classes will focus on research. Other classes will provide you with an opportunity to develop persuasive skills. At the beginning of every class, the Professor will establish the theme for the session, give a short lecture and raise questions. Students are expected to have done all assigned readings before class and to be prepared to answer questions about them. (If you are unable to do this, please do not take the class). Your class participation grade will depend on the clarity and effectiveness with which you are able to answer questions such as: How do the authors defend their arguments? What does the claim imply about persuasion, voting, or campaigns generally? Give an example of how understanding this claim might help an analyst or campaigner be more effective. Thirty five percent of your grade is based on class and section participation. I expect you to every class and section week prepared to participate in class as described above. Hence, you will not only be able to ask and answer questions about the reading, you will also put some time into thinking about how the ideas expressed in the readings can help you and others present more effective persuasive campaigns. Again, if you are not serious about coming prepared every day and working hard to make your classroom contributions clear and effective, please drop now. Before the beginning of class in the third week, each student must submit a proposal of no less than 100 words and no more than 200 words about the type of issue or candidate for which they would be interested in running a persuasive campaign. We will grade these proposals and then distribute them to each section. Then we will ask students to express preferences over the listed issues. We will use these preferences to identify issues for 24 five-person campaign teams to cover. Teammates, all of whom will be from the same section, will work together to design a persuasive presentation. The group will receive a collective grade for their presentation and individual grades for written reports on strategy development. Your persuasive campaign must be completely original — you may not use existing campaign materials. This is a new type of class that is unique in the nation. It mixes science and practice and features extensive learning-by-doing. I am excited about the prospect of working with you on the topic of persuasive politics.
Texts There Are Three Required Texts (all Are Available in Paperback):
- George McKenna and Stanley Feingold. 2009. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Political Issues, 17th Edition. Dushkin Publishing.
- Robert B. Cialdini. 2008. Influence: Science and Practice, 5th Edition. Pearson Education.
- Samuel L. Popkin. 1994. The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns, 2nd Edition. University of Chicago Press.
Crs Requirements: Grades:
- Initial Proposal (submit to C-Tools prior to the beginning of 1/20 class) (5%)
- Midterm (20%)
- Class Participation (20%)
- Section Participation (15%)
- Your Final Campaign Presentation (15%)
- Ratings of Project Partners (5%)
- Final Report on Your Campaign Strategy written by you alone (20%)
Class Format: Lecture will meet 3 hours per week, Discussion section 1 hour. Class will have six discussion sections with enrollments set at twenty for each section.