POLSCI 190 - First-Year Seminar in Political Science
Section: 002 In Defense of Knowledge: Democratic Politics and the Informed Citizen
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Political Science (POLSCI)
Department: LSA Political Science
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Some fifty years ago, Philip Converse of the University of Michigan published a famous paper. After a careful analysis of national surveys carried out during the Eisenhower years, Converse concluded that the American mass public — any mass public, really — was incapable of following, much less actively participating in, ideological debates. Converse found that most Americans were indifferent to or mystified by liberalism and conservatism as political ideas; that opinions on government policy displayed little evidence of coherent organization along ideological lines; and more troubling still, that on matters of obvious national importance, relatively few Americans seemed to possess real opinions. In Converse’s judgment, most Americans were innocent of ideology.

Was Converse right? Is he right today? What evidence do we see of ideology at work in the 2016 American Presidential election?

POLSCI 190 is a seminar. Its success depends largely upon your preparation. Each week, you should come to class having read and thought about the readings, and prepared to participate in discussion in a constructive way. Most weeks I will ask you to write brief papers. Their purpose is to organize the readings and shape class discussions, and they are due in my office the day before we meet.

This course is in the American Politics Subfield.

Course Requirements:

Your grade will depend on the quality of your weekly papers (2/3) and your contribution to class discussions (1/3).

Intended Audience:

No data submitted

Class Format:


POLSCI 190 - First-Year Seminar in Political Science
Schedule Listing
002 (SEM)
6Enrollment Management
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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