POLS 103


Local Government and Politics



Why study local politics? Because it’s about how our communities work and how we can affect them and because it’s so close to us and we can observe it firsthand without media filters. Politi- cal science majors are often more interested in national and international politics, but those who don’t take this course are missing a great opportunity to learn about politics in general, not just politics at the local level. Studying politics in communities makes us acutely aware of the real human beings who make things happen and of the impact of policies on our lives. But local poli- tics is also comparative politics because we try to figure out why politics and policies differ among communities. This course looks at local govern- ment and politics in the U.S., using San José and environs as a case study. But San José is only our local example - we’ll also look at government and politics much more broadly. Assignments include quizzes, essay exams, research projects and papers derived from first-hand observation of local politics. You’ll meet and talk with local political leaders.You’ll also have an opportunity to test your political knowledge and skills through a classroom simulation of local politics, an exercise that’s both fun and instructive. When you com- plete this class you’ll have the ability to analyze, understand and participate in community politics anywhere you can find yourself in life and your career.


Upper division standing or instructor consent




Normal Grading Rules