Fall 2024  |  PA 5012 Section 001: The Politics of Public Affairs (23053)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
A-F or Audit
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person
Class Attributes:
Online Course
Enrollment Requirements:
Major or minor in Public Policy or Science/Technology/Environmental Policy
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
09/03/2024 - 12/11/2024
Tue, Thu 01:00PM - 02:15PM
UMTC, West Bank
Hubert H Humphrey Center 25
Enrollment Status:
Open (19 of 50 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
Politics is how we make collective decisions about matters of shared consequence. This course examines politics and introduces students to key concepts and skills needed for effective political analysis. The central themes of the course focus on power; institutions and organizations; discourse; and citizenship.
Class Notes:
MPA students are encouraged to register, but will need instructor permission (a permission number).
Class Description:
America has witnessed five significant surges of protests, organizing, and political upheaval over the past fifteen years: The Tea Party (started in 2010), Occupy Wall Street (occurred in September 2011), grassroots resistance following President Trump's election in 2016, and the demonstrations sparked by George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Each promised deep, enduring political change -- but what normative and legal impacts did they produce?

Sophisticated agents of change appreciate that there are "varieties of politics," which offer discrete and interconnected avenues. Elections, legislation, and administrative and legal accountability - along with protests and community organizing - are used by political activists and policy entrepreneurs to produce or thwart change. Each modality of politics is distinctive, varying in terms of the types of actors involved; the resources that are required; the scope of political debate; the visibility of the policy design; and their potential consequences. If political change is the objective, which variety of politics is most feasible and potentially impactful?

Time is a critical - often overlooked - dimension in politics. President Barack Obama's health reform and the conservative movement's attack on estate taxes not only produced change at one point in time but also influenced subsequent politics by generating new public expectations, interest groups, and government agencies committed to ongoing implementation. Politically astute reformers design progressive and conservative policies to secure change in the first instance and then to influence politics downstream.

Who Should Take This Class?:
Graduate students and advanced undergraduate students with permission of the instructor.
Learning Objectives:
The learning objectives are to develop the skills to assess the political feasibility of proposed policy changes and to identify the tools of politics that create opportunities and mitigate vulnerabilities.
Students will learn:
- Models of change from direct citizen mobilization to elections and the legislative, executive, and judicial institutional arenas
- Political time in which policies produce altered downstream politics
- Challenges to democracy in the form of markets, erosion of democratic rules and norms, and the unexpected complexity of transparency
- The forms and challenges of political accountability
Four five-page political feasibility papers and Final Examination
Exam Format:
Short answer and one essay drawn from questions distributed in class
Class Format:
Large and small group discussions, lectures, guests from national and state policy debates and politics
Past Syllabi:
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/ljacobs_PA5012_Fall2020.pdf (Fall 2020)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/ljacobs_monda006_PA5012_Fall2018.docx (Fall 2018)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/ljacobs_monda006_PA5012_Fall2015.pdf (Fall 2015)
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
6 April 2023

ClassInfo Links - Fall 2024 Public Affairs Classes Taught by Larry Jacobs

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