Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Political Science

Academics

Political Science 398. Experimental Courses

Public Opinion and Elections

Particularly during campaign season, we are inundated with surveys. Pollsters ask us questions about who we plan to vote for, how we feel about public policy controversies, and whether we approve of elected officials. Just what can we learn about the public mind from the polls? In this course, we will analyze the survey research process, focusing on sampling methods, questionnaire design, and question wording. We will also study the insights public opinion research can give us about presidential, Congressional, and sub-national election outcomes.

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Popular Culture and International Politics

Popular culture is not just a staple of American life. It is a global phenomenon that distributes a vast array of norms, values, identities, beliefs, and other eminently political issues to billions, on a daily basis. Traditionally, however, political science has not given popular culture much thought. This class challenges that attitude. In introducing students to theories of case studies on the global political significance of popular culture – which will engage issues ranging from capitalism, to world war, to the zombie apocalypse – this course seeks to understand the vitally important role popular culture plays in constructing and ordering our political world.

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Environmental Politics in the U.S.

Few contemporary policy issues are as polarizing as the environment, but environmental issues were not always the flashpoint of controversy they are today. In this course, we will trace the evolution of the consensual environmental politics of the 1960s into the contested politics of energy development and climate change in the current era. Special attention will be devoted to the role of science, ideology, and American political institutions in formulating environmental policy. Topics covered include air and water pollution, biodiversity, environmental justice, and energy policy.