Loyola University Chicago

Department of Political Science

American Politics

PLSC 300A: Mock Trial I/II
Professor Walsh
Th 7:00pm / LSC

This course focuses on preparing students to compete successfully in intercollegiate mock trial competition.  Student-competitors will learn the dynamics of the trial by developing trial strategy, by learning how to conduct and respond to direct and cross examination and by delivering effective opening and closing arguments. The course achieves that goal by offering team members the opportunity to improve oral and written communication skills, to test and improve logical reasoning and argumentation skills, and to gain greater knowledge about the role of the trial as a process for finding truth and administering justice.

Students who want to enroll in the course in the spring must make the team and participate in practices, scrimmages and tournaments in the fall semester.  Students who do not participate with the teams in the fall will not be allowed to enroll in the spring.  Students no longer interested in competing after the fall semester will also be prohibited from enrolling in the course in the spring.

PLSC 300A: Civil Rights Movement & the Courts
Professor Horan
MWF 9:20am / LSC

This course will focus on the ways the U.S. legal system both aided and hindered the advance of civil rights and equal opportunity for African American citizens.


PLSC 334: Urban Policies & Problems
Professor Blackmond Larnell
MWF 1:40pm / LSC

The general objective for this course is to help students understand the complexity of the social, economic, and political conditions facing American cities and analyze the policies that various cities have selected to address these issues.  In the first half of the course, three themes in urban policy will be discussed: who governs, urban economics, and municipal finance.  How is political and economic power distributed at the local level? What effect does it have on policy-making?  What factors do local governments consider when attempting to create a balance between taxation levels and delivery of services? How does government finance its operations and policies?  In the second half of the course, students will analyze specific policy issues currently affecting urban areas, including: poverty, housing, education, policing, infrastructure and public transit, environment, as well as land-use and economic development policy.  What traditional (and innovative) policies have been adopted by local governments? Have they been successful?  What are the drawbacks?  Who wins and who loses? 

By drawing on a set of interdisciplinary reading materials (political science, public policy, and public administration), students will analyze the nature of urban problems, the policies that have been adopted by cities and their implications.  Case studies of America’s largest cities (particularly Chicago) will be utilized to study the effects of policies in various settings.  The purpose of this course is to provide students’ with information that will improve their ability to understand and evaluate the problems and policies present in urban communities.  After this course, students will be better capable of articulating their own opinions regarding very important policy debates and fully engaging in local politics.

PLSC 379: The Legislative Process
Professor Tatalovich
TTh 10:00am / LSC

This course focuses on the U.S. Congress, its historical development but especially the contemporary patterns of recruitment, organization, and decision-making.


PLSC 386: American Parties & Elections
Professor Gitelson
TTh 8:30am / LSC

This course is intended to give an overview of the workings and non-workings of the American two-party system and the election and campaign process. This task involves the exploration of an institution, the party, which has undergone significant change over the past fifty years. In the lecture-seminar atmosphere of the course, we will explore and analyze parties and the election process also covering the roles of interest groups, political action committees, political campaigns, the media, campaign financing, independent voters, third or minor parties  and other institutions as they have an impact on parties and elections. An on going discussion of the upcoming 2014 elections will be an important focus of this course.

PLSC 387: Politics & the Press
Professor Gitelson
TTh 11:30am / LSC

This course will focus on the relationship between politics, the government, the public and the media,  an often complex set of interactions that are both supportive and conflictual. The media is defined as including both traditional media outlets (television, radio, newspapers, and magazines), and new era media (including blogs, tweeting, the internet, YouTube and other social media outlets). Topics will include the impact of the media on the campaign and the election process, media influence on political attitudes and behavior, the struggle to regulate, control and influence the media, the media as policy makers, political bias in the media, the relationship between the media and the presidency, Congress, the courts and state and local government, foreign affairs coverage, future directions of the media, and other topics as they relate to the complex relationship between politics and the media in the United States. Discussion will also include the media and the upcoming 2014 elections.

PLSC 389: State Politics
Professor Blackmond Larnell
MWF 11:30am / LSC


PLSC 391: Chicago Politics

Professor Brian Doherty

Wed 4:15pm / LSC

This course will describe Chicago politics as it exists today and attempt to explain how the city's politics has developed as it is.

We will review past and current administrations. The course will include discussion of Chicago's political environment , patterns of political participation,(the machine, other parties, minority politics,voting and elections).

The actors and institutions of government (mayor, city council, bureaucrats) and policies and issues of importance.