1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of AMST2005, GOVT1004 has been successfully completed
Course context
Associated Major: American Studies; Public Policy; Political Studies

Bachelor of Government and Public Management
Topic description
The first half of this topic focuses on the assumptions and operation of the US political system, looking at the Constitution, the Congress, the party system, the presidency and the Supreme Court. The goal is to make clear the ideas on which the political institutions of the United States rest and the degree to which those ideas, and ideals, are achieved or not achieved. Also considered are the ways and the extent to which Americans are engaged in the US political system. The second part of the topic looks at challenges to the prevailing order posed by ideological groups from both left and right. The topic concludes with a consideration of the ways in which institutions, ideologies, social groups and interests intersect to create policy, both domestic and foreign.
Educational aims
  1. To understand why so many ask whether, in respect of the United States, "those institutions can govern that society."
  2. Develop students' research and analysis skills.
  3. Develop students' written and communication skills.
Expected learning outcomes
On successful completion of this topic, students should be able to:
  1. appreciate the complex relationship between American society and American institutions of government.
  2. understand the philosophical basis of the structures of US national government.
  3. understand the vigorous nature of American public debate.
  4. appreciate the policy-making process in the US in respect of both domestic and foreign policy matters.
  5. critically analyse and assess a range of sources relevant to the topic.
  6. work both collaboratively and independently and apply knowledge in a range of situations.
  7. communicate effectively by constructing and developing a coherent argument in written assessment.