My Political Communication Syllabus for This Semester

This semester at American University, I am teaching an advanced undergraduate/graduate seminar on Political Communication. Needless to say, it's the right time and the right city to be teaching this course. I've included a link to the the syllabus which contains hyperlinks to many of the assigned readings.
Download syllabus

Below is the course description:

This course reviews major areas of research in political communication, connecting this scholarly work to the insights of leading political strategists and journalists. General topics covered include:

A) How political communication and various forms of media shape civic life, elections, and policy decisions, and what this means for the health of democratic institutions and decision-making.

B) How citizens, journalists, and elected officials make sense of and use political messages. Specifically how news, advertising, and entertainment media shape political perceptions, emotions, and behavior and what this means for effective communication strategy.

C) How micro-targeting and "on the ground" recruitment strategies are either complementing or replacing traditional campaign activities and mobilization efforts.

D) How soft news and late night comedy along with blogs and social networking sites have shaped campaign strategy and news coverage; how citizens use this political information, and what it means for both campaign strategy but also civic life.

E) And as special topics, how these themes apply to the debate over the war in Iraq and to the nature and future of America's youngest citizens, in other words, citizens like you.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
Keep reading Show less

Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
Keep reading Show less

Mini-brains attach to spinal cord and twitch muscles

A new method of growing mini-brains produces some startling results.

(Lancaster, et al)
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new and inexpensive way to keep organoids growing for a year.
  • Axons from the study's organoids attached themselves to embryonic mouse spinal cord cells.
  • The mini-brains took control of muscles connected to the spinal cords.
Keep reading Show less