Core Readings in Public Law

This course meets jointly with Ph. D. students in Government. The course provides an overview of the field of public law in political science. Because the focus is political science, most readings are by political scientists even though public law is an interdisciplinary field. A one semester course cannot include all topics in the field, nor can it assign all the "classics" or important works on the topics that are covered. Nevertheless, this course attempts to do some of both. Class participation (≈50%) You are expected to read all assigned materials and to participate actively in class discussions. You will be asked to write approximately nine one-page single-spaced papers that focus on the readings for the week. You may choose the weeks with a few exceptions. You must make copies of your paper available to your classmates and me no later than 7 p.m. on the day before class. Late papers are not accepted. These papers will not be graded per se, but they will serve as part of my evaluation of you. More details will be given in class. A student or a group of students may be asked to lead part of the weekly discussion. Research project (≈50%) You will submit either a research prospectus or a research paper of approximately 12-20 pp on a topic of your choice, though it must be related to the issues raised in the course. Law students are urged to do a research paper though you may do a prospectus with my permission. A prospectus should be a proposed plan of study for a major article or book. A successful prospectus will address the existing literature, lay out a problem and a theory, and propose a feasible plan to answer the problem in light of the theory. A research paper should be one that would be of the quality that might be published if expanded. Publications are supposed to make an original contribution. Thus, you will need to make some original claim in your paper, not just repeat in re-processed form what is already in the literature. The research paper is intended to be empirical, though we can discuss exactly what this means during the course of the semester. More details on both these options will be given in class. Prerequisites : Graduate or Law School standing.


Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Tuesday 3:30 - 6:30 pm BAT 1.104

Examination information not available

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Allowed
Will not use floating mean GPA

Textbooks

  • Deciding to Decide - Perry
      Harvard
      ISBN: 0-674-19443-8   (required)