Washington Center

Spring Quarter 2021

A Biden-Harris Presidency : Understanding Executive Power in Historical and Contemporary Context

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Thursdays, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT
Quarter Dates: 
March 25 - June 3, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

Most of us have been inundated with elections and politics for the past year. Many Americans can name several presidents and even have opinions on “good” versus “bad” presidents. But what do they actually do and how do we measure and evaluate their performance and our expectations for their leadership? What can we expect during the next four years of a Biden/Harris administration? This course will put the modern presidency in historical and theoretical context, drawing on a variety of readings and approaches to determine which framework best explains presidential (in)action. At its core, this class is about the question of executive power in democratic government. In addition to studying and reflecting on the theme of presidential power, we will also consider the limits to this power and how presidents achieve their goals. Ultimately, we aim to understand the work of the presidency and some of the different perspectives by which we might analyze or assess presidents and their administrations, especially at a time when we transition from one administration to another.

Disclaimer: We will deal with real world issues of today. Our discussions will reflect these parameters and engage in some controversial topics. This is an important part of our course, and you should be prepared to understand the politics of the situation separated from your own views.

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor: I am a Ph.D. of American government and politics with specializations in the American presidency, public policy, and polarization. My research focuses on presidential governance via executive orders and how political factors influence the ability of presidents to issue their most significant orders. I have taught UCDC’s presidency seminar since Fall 2017. While earning my degree at the University of Maryland, I taught classes about public policy and Congress to students who had internships related to those fields in a format similar to the UCDC program. Outside of the classroom, I work at Community Change & Community Change Action, non-profit organizations focused on building a movement led by everyday people to create change in their communities and across the country. As the Electoral Data Manager, I work with many different teams and partner organizations to identify target audiences and track the work we are doing in communities affected by injustice.

Course ID: 
UCDC191C01V21

Power and Purpose: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT
Quarter Dates: 
March 24 - June 2, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Course Number: 
UCLA Political Science 120B
Category: 
Quarter Elective
Description: 

This course explores the ideas and assumptions that guide U.S. foreign policy. We will consider how U.S. leaders choose to engage with the rest of the world -- and consider how they might in the future -- by focusing on a number of recurring themes including: relations with China and Russia; nuclear proliferation; the problems of weak and failing states; democracy promotion; terrorism and counterterrorism; resource competition; the importance of culture and national identity; transnational threats such as infectious disease and climate change; and the economics of national security.

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor: Professor Chris Preble currently serves the co-director of the New American Engagement Initiative, a new project within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. He served as Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute for more than 17 years at the Cato Institute. Professor Preble has written two books (on U.S. foreign policy/grand strategy) and edited three others (on Iraq, counterterrorism, and threat perception). He's also written a number of shorter papers and book chapters (on, for example, the Middle East, nuclear weapons, the defense budget, intelligence assessment, fixing failed states, and U.S.-Japan relations). Professor Preble has also taught at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota; and at Temple University, where he earned his PhD in History. He earned his BA (also in History) at George Washington University, and served for four years in the U.S. Navy, including a little more than three years on the USS TICONDEROGA (CG 47). 

Course ID: 
UCDC15101V21

Media, Message & Money: The Selling of a Candidate in the Digital Age

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Mondays, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PT
Quarter Dates: 
March 22 - May 31, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Course Number: 
UCLA Political Science 141E
Category: 
Quarter Elective
Description: 

This course will look at evolution of political communication, from broadcast journalism and political parties/ advertising to messaging by the candidates. The quarter will also examine the impact of social media and role of outside interest groups. In addition, we will examine the historical context of political journalism and modern campaigns from Post-World War 2 through the present. The course will also study candidate recruitment, the debate process, and financing, to better understand the complexities of America’s political system.

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor: Professor Steven L. Scully is an adjunct faculty member at UCDC and currently serves as C-SPAN's Political Editor. Scully earned his undergraduate degree from The American University in Washington, D.C and earned a Master of Science from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois. He is past president of the White House Correspondents' Association, served as the back-up moderator during the 2016 presidential debates, and was recently inducted into the Pennsylvania Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  According to John Oliver (This Week with John Oliver), Professor Scully is the most patient man on television.  

Course ID: 
UCDC15001V21

Washington Media: Fake News, Social Media, and the Reshaping of American Politics

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT
Quarter Dates: 
March 24 - June 2, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

What is the difference between “fake news"and journalism? Why does President Trump call news organizations “the enemy of the American people"? Should the media report what people want to know or ought to know? Does objectivity exist?

This seminar examines the extraordinary changes to communication and journalism over the past half century and the consequences for American politics. The 2020 campaign is a perfect backdrop to assess the news media’s mission, goals, and biases. We will look at the media’s incentives to fuel controversy, politicians’ efforts to manipulate (if not lie to) the media, and how the digital revolution – for both better and worse -- has fundamentally restructured the future of political communication. Each week will feature an hour-long presentation combining lectures, guest speakers and videos to be viewed in advance of the two-hour live class. The live class will combine discussion and exercises with an emphasis on current developments, lectures, and readings. Readings will include an assortment of news and scholarly articles.

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor:  Professor Marc Sandalow is the Associate Academic Director of the University of California Washington Program (UCDC). He is the author of three books, including “Madam Speaker,” a biography of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He has been a journalist for 30 years, including 21 years at the San Francisco Chronicle and more than a decade as the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief. He is a former columnist and contributing editor for the California Journal, and is a currently a political analyst for Hearst Argyle television stations and KCBS radio in San Francisco. Professor Sandalow has been the UCDC program since 2008.

Course ID: 
UCDC191F01V21

The U.S. Supreme Court: Conflict, Change and the Court

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Thursdays, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PT
Quarter Dates: 
March 25 - June 3, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

Immigration. LGBT rights. Healthcare. Abortion. The death penalty. Cell phone privacy. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided cases on all of these topics in recent years, and its decisions ultimately touch the lives of all Americans. In this class we will study the Supreme Court's place in the U.S. legal system. Topics we will cover include: how a case gets to the court, the justices, the role of lawyers before the court, the purpose of oral argument, the court building and its symbolism, and media coverage of the court.

In addition, students will listen to the arguments in current Supreme Court cases and spend class time discussing them. In papers, students will be asked to rigorously explain why the justices likely took those cases and how they will come out based on what they hear at oral argument. This class is geared not only toward anyone who is interested in the law or government service but also toward anyone interested in working on or being informed about the biggest issues of the day

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor:  For the last decade Professor Jessica Gresko has been a reporter for The Associated Press, first in Miami and now in Washington. As a legal reporter, she covers court cases at all levels, both local and federal.  She has been at the Supreme Court for many recent high-profile decisions including cases on gay marriage, healthcare and the death penalty.  Professor Gresko earned her B.A. from Columbia University in New York and a M.S.L. (Master’s in the Study of Law) from Georgetown University Law School. She grew up in Southern California and took her first journalism class at UCLA.

Course ID: 
UCDC191I01V21

Researching World Politics in Interesting Times

Credits: 
4
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT
Quarter Dates: 
March 23 - June 1, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

This seminar is designed to help you to critically engage with the dizzying array of problems faced by human societies today and to guide you through the process of developing a significant research paper on a topic of your choice related to world politics. This is not a field seminar in international relations. Through a combination of pre-recorded presentations, live lectures and discussions via weekly zoom meetings, required and recommended readings will provide you with theoretical and historical frameworks to identify, diagnose, and devise solutions to problem of world politics. To help you develop your own research, readings, lectures, and discussions will also focus on principles of social science and policy research. To help bring theoretical discussions to life, a central component of the course will involve your participation in the on-line Statecraft simulation (http://www.statecraftsim.com/). In the simulation students will represent nation-states in a fictitious world, take on the roles of foreign policy decision-makers, and grapple first-hand with the sorts of tradeoffs and responsibilities that characterize world politics. The issues and problems covered during class discussions and that you read and write about will be driven by your own geographical and substantive interests. The course is also designed to help you to connect your academic pursuits with your professional development through your internships and experiences immersed in the broader political ecosystem of Washington, DC, albeit remotely.

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor: Professor Michael Danielson has taught at UCDC since 2014. He is also a Research Fellow at the American University Center for Latin American and Latino Studies and has taught courses in Latin American politics at various universities in Washington, DC. His book Emigrants Get Political: Mexican Migrants Engage Their Home Towns (Oxford 2018) examines the ways in which Mexican migrants engage with and shape the politics of their home towns. He has also studied the politics of indigenous rights movements in Latin America and am co-editor of Latin America’s Multicultural Movements and the Struggle Between Communitarianism, Autonomy, and Human Rights (Oxford 2013). My current research includes projects on the climate–migration nexus, migration and refugee studies, violent democracies in Mexico and Central America, and migrant mayors. When not teaching, I work as an expert consultant on social science research methodology, migration and displacement, and Latin American politics and society. Additionally, I regularly serve as an expert witness on country conditions in Mexico and Honduras in US immigration courts. I am a political scientist by training (PhD 2013, American University) with training in comparative and international politics and hold an MA in International Policy Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) and Spanish and Philosophy degrees from Santa Clara University.

Course ID: 
UCDC191E01V21

Reducing Poverty and Inequity: Lessons from International Development

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
March 25 - June 3, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

This is an introductory course to the International Development field. The focus is on some of the key questions, challenges, and achievements in this field. Materials from the course (readings, documentaries, discussions of current events) will enhance your understanding of the dominant approaches to poverty alleviation, the role of inter/national development actors, organizations and institutions, the promises of post-2015 Development Goals including empowerment of women and youth and environment sustainability. Exposure to the overview of the field will enhance your understanding of current world events and policy decisions during your internship experiences in the nation’s Capital.

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor: Professor Loubna Skalli-Hanna is a teacher, scholar and practitioner with subject area expertise in development, gender, youth and communication. She has taught at numerous universities in Morocco and the United States, including the American University (2003-2015). She is the author, co-author and editor of numerous peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters and books. As a practitioner, Professor Skalli Hana co-founded many women’s organizations and participated in the activities of a few others. She also consulted with numerous intern/national development organizations and agencies including USAID, World Learning, U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of State. Professor Skalli Hana earned her BA from Mohamed V University in Rabat (Morocco), her MA in social and cultural anthropology from Essex University (England), and her PhD in International Communication from the Pennsylvania State University.

Course ID: 
UCDC191E02V21

General Research: Developing Critical Writing and Thinking Skills Through Independent Research

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT
Quarter Dates: 
March 24 - June 2, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness” to describe the tendency of people to “go with their gut” rather than facts and evidence in evaluating the world around them. We are all affected by biases that obstruct critical thinking. Challenging these biases is essential to making rational, evidence-based arguments and decisions. A  primary concern underlying public discourse and policy making about issues such as COVID-19, climate change, school testing, immigration, poverty, gun control, mass incarceration, and so many other contemporary issues is the availability, validity, reliability, and utility of evidence to support arguments on one side or another. We will spend this term developing and using the critical thinking and writing skills necessary to examine and propose solutions to real-world problems. Students will develop research projects on a topic of their choosing, preferably related to the work of their internship organization. They will work independently and in small groups, if possible, throughout the multi-stage writing process.

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor: Professor Jennifer Diascro is the Associate Academic Director of the University of California Washington Program (UCDC) and a political scientist. She earned her BA in political science from the University of California, San Diego (1990) and her PhD in political science from the Ohio State University (1995). She was on the faculty at the University of Kentucky (1995-2002) and American University (2002-2010). In 2000-01, she was a Supreme Court Fellow at the US Sentencing Commission in Washington, DC. Before coming to UCDC, Professor Diascro was a senior director at the American Political Science Association (2011-2015). She's authored or coauthored peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books, on topics related to American judicial politics, and is CO-PI on an NSF award for a workshop on success and failure in the academy.

Course ID: 
UCDC191A01V21

Congress In History and In Transition

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. PT
Quarter Dates: 
March 23 - June 1, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Category: 
Core Seminar
Description: 

Congress and other branches of the U.S. government were designed nearly two and a half centuries ago under circumstances and reflecting values and philosophies that bear little relationship to contemporary America. All of these institutions have evolved over time in response to changing conditions domestically and internationally; and the American electorate had undergone significant change as well, especially in the last half century. All of these developments place dramatic and consequential pressures on government, elected officials and voters alike. How are they responding and what can we anticipate, based on historical analysis, will change as a result of these unprecedented, simultaneous crises? What is the appropriate level of idealism, pragmatism and collaboration as ways to govern a diverse and divided democracy?

This course will focus on the performance of Congress, the American government and the electorate during a period in which four historic forces are colliding simultaneously:

  • The coronavirus pandemic and related societal disruptions;
  • The widespread political/social responses to systemic racism affecting policing and other public institutions and policies;
  • The electoral season that elevates partisan anger through the campaigns across the nation; and lastly
  • The diminished confidence of the American people in the structure and performance of their own government.

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor: Professor John Lawrence served as a senior staff person in Congress for nearly four decades, the last eight as Chief of Staff to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  He also served as staff director of two committees and on personal staff. He has taught at UCDC since 2013, and at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and has lectured widely on history and contemporary American politics at Columbia, Princeton, Oberlin and other venues.  Professor Lawrence holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of California (Berkeley), and an undergraduate history degree from Oberlin College.

Course ID: 
UCDC191B01V21

Black Lives Matter: Race, Policy, & Democratic Governance

Credits: 
4
Instructor: 
Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Mondays, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
March 22 - May 31, 2021
Campus: 
UCDC
Course Number: 
UCLA Political Science 186
Category: 
Quarter Elective
Description: 

This course will examine race and ethnic politics through the lens of social movements, public policy, and democratic governance. The #Black Lives Matter Movement was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer and engages us to utilize a human rights lens to combat racial injustice, inequality, racism, and white supremacy. We will use a human rights and democratic governance approach often used in a U.S. foreign policy context to reconceptualize our understanding of the lived experiences and quest for freedom, justice, and equality on part of African Americans, Latinx, Asian Americans, Native Americans and other groups. Given the racial and ethnic demographic shifts over the past two decades, particular attention will focus on race, representation, and racism from President Obama to President Trump with a central focus on the 2020 elections, U.S. Census, and voting rights. We will analyze democratic governance under the Trump administration and the ways in which President Trump has invoked identity politics and white nationalism in governance. Finally, you will learn the tactics of effective social

movements/activism, civic engagement, data analysis, policy influence. There will be an applied component of this course and guest speakers will bring to life the theories and literature we read and review in class. Students will leave this class smarter on the topics addressed and also equipped with the tools for effective grassroots organizing, persuasive public speaking skills, and strategic policy influence.

Remote Outline

About the Instructor: Dr. Menna Demessie is the Vice President of Policy Analysis and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. She leads the foundation’s research and policy initiatives that affect African Americans and the global black community in areas including education, criminal justice, economic opportunity, voting and environmental sustainability, among many others. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Dr. Demessie established the National Racial Equity Initiative for Social Justice at the CBCF in an effort to raise awareness and inform public policy on criminal justice reform and social justice issues writ large. She has spearheaded several partnerships with the White House, Congress, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and other nonprofit stakeholders to advance strategic efforts to influence and inform public policy. Prior to joining the CBCF, Dr. Demessie was one of five scholars in the United States to receive the prestigious American Political Science Congressional Fellowship. For the fellowship, she joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s team to work on federal unemployment legislation, antipoverty initiatives, and foreign affairs in the 112th Congress. She is the founder and co-managing editor of the CBCF’s Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal on public policy issues related to black politics in the United States and abroad. In August 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, appointed her as Secretary of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund Advisory Council. As of August 2019, she has worked with her colleagues in raising $ 6.1 million dollars for socioeconomic development in Ethiopia. To learn more, go to www.ethiopiatrustfund.org. Currently serving her second elected term on the Alumni Board for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, Dr. Demessie, a proud Ohio native, who was also recently nominated to the Board of Trustees for her alma mater at Western Reserve Academy and the Executive Council of the American Political Science Association. Her hobbies include piano, basketball, and spoken word.

Course ID: 
UCDC15002W21
Subscribe to RSS - Spring Quarter 2021