PIR-10039 - Debates in American Politics
Coordinator: Jonathan Parker Room: CBB2.029 Tel: +44 1782 7 33547
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

American Politics is driven by debate. Americans are divided over their foreign policy. Over social issues such as race and abortion, the U.S. has embarked upon debates so heated that they're sometimes referred to as the "culture wars". Then there are ongoing contests over areas such as education and environmental policy. This module will introduce to many of these debates. Each week, we look at a new policy area and get you to debate the rights and wrongs of current U.S. policy and where it should go next. The module also serves to introduce you to the subject of American Politics - it's all pitched at those new to the topic. Much of the module depends on your presentations, advocating one side or the other of a debate in a key policy area. Over the semester, you should learn about a series of policy debates, who's advocating what and develop your skills in presentation and argument.

1. The module will introduce students to a number of high-profile public policy issues in American politics and the debates surrounding those issues.
2. The module will develop students ability to present, advocate, research an argument.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate knowledge of key debates in U.S. politics: 1,2
Demonstrate an ability to work in a team to produce a presentation: 1
Research a topic using online sources to advocate a specific argument: 1,2
Present material in a persuasive audio-visual presentation: 1,2
Discern between advocacy and academic debate: 1,2
Communicate ideas and arguments with clarity: 1,2

Study hours

Lectures: 11 hrs (11 x 1hr)
Seminars: 11hrs (11 x 1 hr)
Structured engagement with online resources in preparation for seminars: 66 hrs
Preparation of Group Presentation: 22 hours
Preparation of Individual Presentation: 40 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Group Presentation weighted 30%
Team of 3-5 presents for 15 mins arguing one side of debate
Expectation that presentation should be audio-visual and audio-visual materials must be submitted to tutor as part of the assessment. The presentation should be based upon research using online sources. Module Tutors to use common feedback form to guarantee thorough and relevant feedback. Should be a confidence builder in the first few weeks of the module to prepare for Assessment 2.

2: Presentation weighted 70%
Individual or pair of students presents 15 mins argument on one side of debate with rebuttal and questions from class
Reproduces Assessment 1 but as an individual or paired activity.