Seminar in Political Socialization and Psychology

POS 6933 Section 204F  (Wednesdays, 3 pm to 6 pm, Periods 8 -10;  Anderson 19 or Anderson 216)
Fall 2016
Professor Martinez

Office: Anderson 208    Office Hours:  Thursdays 10:00 am to 11:30 am

The goal for the seminar is to review the literature on political socialization, social influence, and political cognition with a view understanding toward how useful these studies are for formulating questions for further research in political science. Each week, the seminar will review and discuss selected readings on various topics; some of those readings will be classics, others are simply examples of contemporary studies in social psychology or political science which use psychological concepts.

Each of the following course requirements will contribute 25% to your final grade in the seminar.  Requirements #1 and #2 are assigned to all students.  Students may select two options from #3 to #6.

  1. Attendance and Participation. The weekly meetings of the seminar should be viewed as opportunities for the exchange of ideas among scholars. You may, on occasion, be able to tell that I am the leader of the seminar, but its overall success depends on the informed participation of everyone. Each student is expected to have completed the readings for the week, and to have something to say about those readings when seminar begins.  Ideally, the focus of our discussion will lead to the application of the concepts in the readings in building possible research agendas for the seminar participants.

  2. Essays. Each student will submit six essays over the course of the semester (for the class meetings from September 7 to December 7). If you choose to do an essay for a particular week, that essay is due via Canvas by 6 pm on the day before seminar (Tuesdays).  Each essay will be approximately 500 words, and will either

Students also will be required to complete two of the following:

  1. Term Paper.  Students who select this option will write a literature review, research proposal, thesis or dissertation (pre)proposal worked out in consultation with Martinez. I expect most of these papers will be about fifteen to twenty double spaced pages.  This paper may include empirical analyses of data that are already available, but that is not a requirement.  I want to see that students can synthesize a portion of the literature, and construct a research proposal that, if properly executed, could make a contribution to that literature.  Electronic submissions are due on Canvas no later than noon, Monday, December 12.

  2. Final Exam. The Department encourages final exams as preparations for Ph.D. qualifying exams and M.A. comprehensive exams. The final exam in this seminar will be comparable in format to a Ph.D. qualifying exam in Political Behavior. There will be two take home questions, and answers will be limited to twelve double spaced typewritten pages (normal font and margins).  I will send the exam question to you (by email) at noon on Tuesday, December 13, and your response is due back (submitted on Canvas) by noon, Thursday, December 15.

  3. Leading a Seminar meeting (only open to PhD students).  Students who select this option must inform the instructor by September 7 (or August 30, if leading the September 7 seminar) which week they will lead.  Responsibilities for the leader include revision of the reading list for that week (in consultation with the instructor), organizing the discussion of the readings, integrating others' comments into the discussion, synthesizing the assigned literature, leading discussion on how each assigned article relates to the synthesis, and providing a recap/overview of the literature at the end of the seminar, including research questions that emanate (or have emanated from) that week's readings.

  4. Letter to a campaign consultant (only open to MA Campaigning students).  The goal of this 12-15 page letter is to explain in layman's terms how the literature on political socialization and/or psychology can inform a modern political campaign or communication strategy.  This is not intended to be a campaign plan, nor is it a memo about how to win a particular campaign.  Rather, it should be constructed as reading material for a major political or communications consultant who is beginning a reflection after campaign season on how s/he might use the political psychology literature to think about campaign strategy or message strategy. Electronic submissions are due on Canvas no later than noon, Monday, December 12.
Final grades will be assessed by the following evidence:
August 24:  Introduction:  What is the seminar about?  ("Who Am I? Why Am I Here?" - Adm. James Stockdale (Ret.), Ross Perot's running mate at the 1992 Vice-Presidential Debate)August 31:  No class.  American Political Science Association meetings. 

September 7:  Genetics (That's just the way I am.)

September 14:  Groups: Conformity (Who cares what other people think?)

September 21:  Groups: Identification and Prejudice (Who cares what other people think?)
 September 28:  The Family as Group Influence on Political Learning (Mommy, have you seen my efficacy?) October 5:  Adult Groups and Social Interaction in Political Learning (Is politics a contagious disease?)              Additionally, if you're really into this stuff, see ...

October 12:  Personality (Barbara Myslik will lead seminar)

October 19: Cognition and Consistency (Is consistency the hob-goblin of little minds?)

October 26:  Ambivalence (Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't)


November 2:  Attribution  (The Devil made me do it, but you did it yourself!)

November 9:  Persuasion (My mind is made up!)
November 16:   Cognitions and Choice (Now, what do you think?)  

November 23:   Thanksgiving Break (no class)

November 30:. Affect and Choice (I like you, so I'll think about it.)    

December 7: Emotions and Choice . (I'm mad as Hell, so let me think about it.)