This seminar allows for student-centered discussions on themes that build around the current class on ‘Challenges to American Democracy’. Seminars allow a flexible way for the class to lead in exploring in more depth themes arising in the introductory class. At a university this would mean writing a paper and presenting it to the class. That’s not practical here so we’ll take a different approach.
For our 6-class seminar, students, individually or in pairs, will choose an article and lead the class in discussing it. I will set up themes for the first 4 classes allowing a range of readings under the overall topic of ‘Challenges to American Democracy’. These first 4 classes will focus on themes of 1) racism, 2) climate change, 3) immigration and 4) the Republican party’s future. With a colleague I will head up the first class on racism, Friday, April 16. The next 3 classes will consist of articles chosen by students that center on the themes listed above. The last 2 classes of our 6, will consist of articles chosen by students who wish to pick their own themes.
April 16 – Racism: Professor and Colleague.
April 23, 30, May 7 – Climate change, immigration, Republican party: Students.
May 14, 21 – Themes & Articles selected by class: Students.
Articles from reputable magazines, newspapers, online sites and self-authored writings will be acceptable. Each class will consist of at least two articles centered around the organizing theme. Several days before class I will discuss students’ articles with them, agreeing on a rough outline for discussion. Afterward students will be responsible for emailing the article to the rest of the class. If they wish, students can read others’ articles without leading a discussion. Students may also work together as a team in their presentations.
The seminar depends on the involvement of class members and their ideas. It will be a chance to air controversial issues, discuss social and political problems and listen to others. The seminar will be more unpredictable than a class lecture and, arguably, more fun. General Public/Members: $68/$62 Six Sessions
Your Teacher: Gary Wasserman has fashioned a career in teaching, political consulting and writing. As a professor of Government at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Doha, Qatar, he taught American government, international relations, lobbies and interest groups, and media politics. Before this he was a Professor at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies teaching graduate students in Nanjing, China. Gary received his Ph.D with Distinction at Columbia University, where he taught. A Fulbright Scholar, he studied at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, Nairobi University, and Georgetown University. Cambridge University Press published his thesis, Politics of Decolonization. Despite all the above, Gary lives in San Francisco and spends as much time as possible with his wife, a son and daughter, their families and dogs.