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Hofstra University

Courses & Academics

Hofstra University students will have unique access to the candidates, journalists, pundits and officials who all play a critical role in the 2008 campaign and election. All of the schools and colleges of Hofstra University are offering special academic courses, both short one-credit courses, unique field work courses, and semester-long three-credit courses that study issues, the media, history, current affairs and political science.

More courses will be added as they are developed. Check back for updates.

Summer 2008
Three-credit courses


PSC 1 American Politics
3 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 60020):  MTWR  11 a.m. to 1:10 p.m., Richard Himelfarb
Section DL (CRN 60041): Distance Learning Course, Richard Himelfarb

When taught in summer and Fall 2008, this regularly offered distribution course will focus heavily on the presidency and presidential selection.  The course examines the Constitutional and historical origins of U.S. political institutions, including Congress, the executive and judiciary; elections, interest groups and the role of the media in U.S. politics.


PSC 1 American Politics
3 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 70021):  MTWR 8:30 to 10:40 a.m., Mark Landis
Section A  (CRN 70638): MTWR 6:10 to 8:20 p.m., Michael Rear
When taught in summer and Fall 2008, this regularly offered distribution course will focus heavily on the presidency and presidential selection.  The course examines the Constitutional and historical origins of U.S. political institutions, including Congress, the executive and judiciary; elections, interest groups and the role of the media in U.S. politics.

PSC 105 Contemporary Issues in American Politics
3 s.h.
Section 01(CRN 70715):  MTWR  11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Richard Himelfarb

Health care, the federal budget, social security, medicare and poverty have been defining domestic issues in the 2008 presidential campaigns.  In Summer and Fall 2008, this regularly offered course will focus on the conflicts over each of these policies in turn.  What are the social forces underlying these issues?  What problems need to be addressed?  What are the competing proposals to address them?  What kind of political constituencies are vying for influence in developing national policies to address these problems?


PSC 151 Seminar: On the Road to the White House 2008
3 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 80225):  MTWR 8:30 to 11:40 a.m.
Rosanna Perotti

This course will focus on the process and politics of the 2008 presidential nomination and selection.  It focuses especially on the historical and Constitutional origins of presidential selection; campaign finance; political context of presidential elections; the nomination process; the role of the media in presidential elections; and prospects for reforming the process to make it more democratic and more likely to produce qualified nominees.  Special emphasis will be given to those political events which coincide with the timing of the course: the party conventions, campaign finance, polling and media coverage of the election campaigns.

Fall 2008
Three-credit courses

CT 284J, ELED 284J, SED 284J   Analyzing and Teaching the 2008 Elections
Section A (CRN 94776):  W 4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
Andrea  Libresco

This course examines issues associated with selecting a president in 2008, as well as how to teach about those issues at both the elementary and secondary levels.  Students will investigate and assess the content and pedagogy of the nominating process; the candidates’ stands on the issues of our time; the roles that media, money, parties, debates, advertisements, and the Internet play; the influence of race, class and gender on both voters and candidates; and the domestic and foreign policy challenges that the new president and Congress will face.  Attention will be given to the ways in which citizens participate in the political process and to their quest for the kinds of reliable knowledge that are necessary to make informed judgments.

FDED 111  Educational Policy Issues:  What’s at Stake?
3 s.h.
Section 2 (CRN 91537): Tuesday/Thursday 11:10 a.m. - 12:35 p.m.
Jonathan Lightfoot
During this election year, using a Lincoln-Douglas debate format, students will examine critical educational policy issues confronting schools and society. They will develop a deeper understanding of issues surrounding equal educational opportunity, NCLB, the achievement gap, school choice, and funding and explore positions of national, state and local political candidates for public office. Students will learn to research issues, present arguments, defend positions in a collaborative and friendly competitive environment.

HIST 177A (A) –  Presidential Elections: An Historical Perspective

3 s.h.
Section A (CRN 93433):  M 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Carolyn Eisenberg

In this course, we will follow the final stages of the 2008 Presidential election, while placing it in historical perspective. We will begin with the formation of the New Deal coalition in 1936 and continue through the present. Our purpose is not to cover every election, but to look deeply into particular contests in order to clarify the role of issues in political campaigns. To what extent, have elections been a vehicle for the public to express its preference about major issues? And if presidential contests are not about issues then how are we to understand them?

HIST 178A (B)   From Abigail Adams to Hillary Clinton: Can a Woman Be Elected President of the United States?
3 s.h.
Section B (CRN 94280):  T 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Susan Yohn

This course examines the broad sweep of American history to ask if a woman can be elected president of the United States. We will begin by examining the debates that occurred at the outset of the Republic about whether to extend to women political rights.  What were the barriers to women full participation in the political realm?  The course will then discuss the rise of the first women’s movement in the 1830s and 40s, focusing on the challenge to the prohibitions against women speaking in public, the organization of the first women’s rights convention in 1848.  The course will also cover the 70 year long campaign for women’s suffrage which culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.   The semester will end with an examination of ways women have been political agents and actors from the 20th century to the present, for example, Eleanor Roosevelt, conservative activist, Phyllis Schlafly, welfare rights activists in Las Vegas in the 1960s, second wave feminists like Pauli Murray, and finally contemporary female politicians like Hillary Clinton.   

HUHC 020 Race for the Presidency
3 s.h.
Section  H1 (CRN94369): TH 12:45 to 2:10 p.m.
Meena Bose

This seminar examines the increasing expectations for presidential campaigns in the United States and their consequences for White House governance. In the twenty-first century, presidential candidates often must begin their campaigns nearly two years before the election to mount a viable race for the White House. Candidates compete fiercely for resources -- fund-raising, media coverage, popular support – to win their party’s nomination and then the Presidency. How does the marathon to reach the White House serve American democracy, and does it prepare candidates for executive leadership? What will the winner of the 2008 race need to do to make the transition successfully from candidate to President? This seminar will explore these questions through studying the evolution of the modern American presidency and the 2008 election. Given that Hofstra will be sponsoring the third presidential debate on October 15, 2008, we will focus closely.

JRNL 290B  Election '08: The Horserace and the Issues
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94892): M 6:30 to 8:20 p.m. 
Robert A. Papper

This Election ’08 offering will track how various news media cover the campaign.  In conjunction with the Project for Excellence in Journalism, students will watch, critique and compare news media reports on the presidential race ... tracking select newspapers, local radio and television, TV networks and cable news operations.  The focus will be the extent to which the various media cover the issues that separate and distinguish the candidates versus the contest itself - who’s ahead, where and by how much?  We’ll also look at who’s looking at those issues and how good a job they’re doing at evaluating the coverage.

LYST 185A, LYST 281T  The World’s Children in Crisis: What are the Shared Responsibilities of the American Presidency and the American People?                                                        
3 s.h.
LYST 185A Section A (CRN 94791):  T 4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
LYST 281T Section A (CRN 94792):  T 4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
Denny Taylor

One of the most critical problems of the 21st Century is the increasing exposure of children to complex catastrophic events. Most casualties of war and natural disaster are children.  Given the dire circumstances worldwide in which children are expected to live their lives, it could be argued that the greatest challenge human beings face in the 21st century is how to ensure the survival of their children. In this course students will consider the responsibilities of the American Presidency, the Administration, Congress and the American people. Open to undergraduate and graduate students across degrees and disciplines, participants will explore the question of shared responsibilities in open dialogues, first focusing on The World s Children in Crisis and the Shared Responsibilities of the American Presidency and the International Community, and second on America s Children in Crisis and the Shared Responsibilities of the American Presidency, the Administration and Congress. It is anticipated that two public forums, one on foreign and one on domestic policy, will be associated with the course. Students will be expected to collaborate on a shared research project contributing to an on-line video, The World s Children in Crisis.  

PSC 1 American Politics
3 s.h.
Various  instructors

When taught in summer and Fall 2008, this regularly offered distribution course will focus heavily on the presidency and presidential selection.  The course examines the Constitutional and historical origins of U.S. political institutions, including Congress, the executive and judiciary; elections, interest groups and the role of the media in U.S. politics.

PSC 105 Contemporary Issues in American Politics
3 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 91576):  TR 9:35 to 11 a.m.
Richard Himelfarb

Health care, the federal budget, social security, Medicare and poverty have been defining domestic issues in the 2008 presidential campaigns.  In Summer and Fall 2008, this regularly offered course will focus on the conflicts over each of these policies in turn.  What are the social forces underlying these issues?  What problems need to be addressed?  What are the competing proposals to address them?  What kind of political constituencies are vying for influence in developing national policies to address these problems?

PSC 113   Technology and Defense Policy
3 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94181):  MF 11:15 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.
Paul Fritz

The US faces multiple and varied security threats and the next president will face critical choices regarding how to ensure U. S. national security. This course critically examines these U. S. defense policy options. In addition to considering traditional issues national security, the course emphasizes weapons technology and how evolving technology influences and is in turn influenced by changing policies in international and homeland security.  The course will include analysis of major past U.S. policy decisions concerning defense strategies, arms control, and military systems as well as contemporary threats to national security that the next president will have to address with his or her defense policy choices such as WMD proliferation, missile defense, asymmetric warfare, and terrorism. The political, strategic, technological, environmental, and budgetary factors affecting these issues and decisions are examined. To coincide with the 15 October 2008 Presidential Debate at Hofstra, special attention will be paid to the presidential candidates’ stances on contemporary and future US defense policy.

PSC 114 Political Parties and the Voter
3 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 91410):  MW 2:55 to 4:20 p.m.
Rosanna Perotti
This fall, the presidential selection process is the central theme of this regularly offered course on elections and political parties.  Among the questions we explore: Who usually votes?  Why don’t young people ordinarily get involved in this process?  What kinds of people usually vote Democratic or Republican?  How do people acquire their partisanship?  How does the nomination process work?  What role do political parties play in that process and in the general election campaign?  What kind of effect does the electoral college have on the campaign for president?

One- and Two- Credit Courses

The following  seminars are being offered across the University to help students learn more about the issues and politics surrounding the presidential election.  Each one-credit seminar will meet for approximately 15 hours during the semester, or one-third the duration of a regular course.  But each special seminar has a specific – and distinct -- start and end date.   Days, times and duration of each seminar appear in Banner, where students are invited to register.

BIO 190  The Biological Impacts of Climate Change
1 s.h.
Section 02 (CRN 94855) Time TBA
Russell Burke

The current debate over human-induced climate change has implications not only for human well-being but also for thousands of other species.  From the time that life first evolved, the biosphere has dramatically influenced global and regional climate.  At the same time, climate has been a tremendously important factor affecting the evolution and ecology of species and communities.  This one-credit seminar will examine the interactions of biological systems with both global and regional climate.  In recent times, the living world has responded to increasing industrialization and urbanization in some surprising ways.  We will conclude this seminar with a review of each presidential candidate’s proposed responses to the challenge of climate change and the biological impacts of these responses.

DRAM 110 Special Topics "Debating as Performance Art"
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94770):  TR 11:10 a.m. to 12:35 p.m.
Christopher Dippel

A workshop focusing primarily on the creation of short plays which will be used in a debate format to argue for or against a political topic. Students will be sorted into either the affirmative or negative position and use the tenets of Neo-Futurism (honesty, speed, and brevity) to create several short plays (2-4 minutes in length) asserting/defending their position. The seminar will culminate in an open presentation of the plays structured into a formal policy debate, including constructives, cross-examinations, and rebuttals performed during Debate Week. Students should allot preparation time outside of class for writing and rehearsal.

ECO 172 Seminar: Military Spending ad the U.S. Economy
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94850):  M 11:15 a.m. to 12:40 p.m
Martin Melkonian

This course will explore the history of the military sector in the U.S., beginning with our entry to WWII and extending to the present day. It will examine the macroeconomic effects of adding stimulus to the economy under conditions of less than full employment and under full employment; the opportunity costs associated with military spending; the relative size of the U.S. military vs. the rest of the world; and the importance of military spending in technological innovation. The course will include lectures, discussion, film and student reports.

ENGL 195G:  All the President’s Books: The Leaders of the Free World as Readers of Literature
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94842):  W 2:55 to 3:50 p.m.
Vimala C. Pasupathi

JFK was a fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels and invited poet Robert Frost to his inaugural address.  Eisenhower liked Zane Grey. Once delivering a spontaneous analysis of Shakespeare’s Macbeth at a party, Bill Clinton also loved the works of William Butler Yeats and Walt Whitman (notoriously presenting an edition of the latter’s Leaves of Grass as a gift to a favorite intern). Similarly notorious for an extended reading of The Pet Goat on 9/11, husband of a librarian, George W. Bush also read more sophisticated fare; vacationing in Crawford, he took up Albert Camus’ masterpiece The Stranger.  To paraphrase a slogan from a 1960’s television commercial, Reading is Presidential!  This class will be a jaunt through the world of the Presidential Reading list. What happens when the Commander-in-Chief puts down the bills and picks up a book?
How does the “leader of the free world” approach the fictional, entertaining worlds authors create in literature? And how might the two worlds overlap?
HPFS 179L  History of Health Care Reform
2 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94523): M 10 a.m. to 12 noon
Corinne Kyriacou

This workshop will provide students with an overview of major trends in health care reform proposals and laws that have shaped the current debate. Students will analyze the legal, economic and social implications of key legislation (passed, failed or proposed), including: the establishment of prepaid group practice models in the 1930s, the Hill Burton Act of 1946, the Federal Health Employees Benefit Plan of the 1960s, the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in the mid 60s, the HMO Act of 1973; the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974; the Clinton Health Care Plan of 1993, Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, state-based reform initiatives, and proposals put forth by the current presidential candidates. Students will examine various factors that have historically led to the passage or demise of policies and reforms, including: the role of unions, the impact of interest groups, ideological differences, anti-communism and anti-socialism movements, the entrepreneurial character of American medicine, American voluntarism, the role of the media, and the association of public programs with charity, dependence, and personal failure. The likelihood of real change emerging from a new administration will be discussed within the context of the continued power and influence of these factors.

HIST 006K (01) History and the News
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94263):   M 2:55 to 4:20 p.m.
Michael D’Innocenzo

Have you ever wondered what a historian takes from his or her reading of the newspaper? This class will examine issues and candidates in the 2008 presidential election through a close scrutiny of media coverage (print and broadcast). Particular emphasis will be placed on evaluating the campaign and policy issues in historical perspective. In addition to daily reading of newspapers, viewing of television programs and a sampling the range of sources on talk radio, in magazines, and on the internet, students will participate in the National Issues Forums Institute projects that look in depth at key issues facing the nation, e.g. Energy Independence; the Nine Trillion Dollar National Debt; the Health Care Crisis; America's Role in the World; and The Wealth Gap. The goal of these various approaches will be to assess the leadership of candidates in the context of challenges facing the nation, how they have emerged over time, and how they have been addressed to this point.

HIST 008D (01) Key events in History: Debating Guantanamo
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94783):  M 11:15 a.m. to 12:35 p.m.
Carolyn Eisenberg

In pursuing the “war on terror” the Bush Administration’s decision to imprison foreign nationals at Guantanamo Bay and to deny them rights protected by the Geneva Conventions has generated enormous controversy. In this course, we will consider historical precedents for this approach. We will look at how the Bush Administration has justified the situation in Guantanamo and the claims of its critics. We will also consider how the Bush administration’s policy evolved over time. Students will be expected to understand and assess competing perspectives. May be taken in conjunction with Hist 008E.

HIST 008E (01) Key Events in History: Debating Iraq
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94784):  M 12:50 to 1:45 p.m.
Professor Eisenberg

As described by the Bush Administration, the war in Iraq has become the “central front” in the war on terrorism. In this course, we will look at the historical development of U.S. policy towards Iraq from mid-1965 to the present. We will analyze the decision to invade and occupy Iraq and the problems, which have emerged since March 2003. We will analyze competing perspectives on the U.S. role in that country, looking at the arguments of both defenders and critics. May be taken in conjunction with Hist 008D.

MASS 181 J Presidential Debates and Media Literacy
1 s.h.
Section A (CRN 94876): W 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Susan Drucker

This course is a case study in media literacy The televised debates will provide a platform for critical understanding of the nature of mass media, the techniques used by media outlets and the impact of these techniques on the voter. Topics include: Understanding Media Institutions; Analysis of the Signal; Media Grammar: Reading the Text; Media Framing and Formats; Constructing and Deconstructing the Message, and the History of Presidential Debates.

PSC 151 The Role of Foreign Policy in U.S. Presidential Elections
1 s.h.
Section 01:  (CRN 94529) TR 2:20 to 3:45 p.m., Meena Bose
Section 02:  (CRN 94767) W 2:55 to 4:20 p.m., Paul Fritz

This special one-credit seminar will examine how foreign policy in general affects presidential elections and the different foreign policy issues that have shaped the present and past presidential elections. Starting with a general introduction to the role of foreign policy in elections and followed by a brief examination of some Cold War and post-Cold War foreign policy issues debated during previous presidential elections, the seminar will eventually lead students to examine specific foreign policy issues most consequential for the 2008 presidential elections, such as terrorism, Ira1, international trade, and others. To coincide with the foreign policy debate at Hofstra on 15 October 2008, students will examine the foreign policy stances of the presidential candidates as well as the potential implications of their different stances. expectations for the final debate focusing on foreign policy at Hofstra on October 15, 2008. PSC.

PSC 151 What Do We Learn From Presidential Election Debates?
1 s.h.
Section 03:  (CRN 94838) F 12:50 to 2:50 p.m., Rosanna Perotti
Section 04:  (CRN 94837) F 12:50 to 2:50 p.m., Richard Himelfarb

This special one-credit seminar will examine the evolution of presidential election debates in American politics. Students will study the origins of presidential debates, changes in format over the past 50 years, and consequences of the debates for election results and presidential governance. Case studies will begin with the famous Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960 and continue through the 2008 debates, with special attention to the expectations for the final debate focusing on foreign policy at Hofstra on October 15, 2008.

PSY 101 The Psychology of Persuasion: Understanding Political Communication
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94773):   W 12:50 to 1:55 p.m.
Sarah Novak

This special one-credit seminar will examine the research-supported fundamentals of persuasion and interpersonal influence from a psychological perspective. Students will apply these basic concepts by analyzing political advertisements made by candidates as well as those from special interest groups. Students will test their persuasiveness by creating and pilot testing their own political communications. (Prerequisite: PSY 1)

SOC 187 B  The United States and the Future of the Global Environment
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94856):  MW 9:05 to 10 a.m
Cynthia Bogard

As the world’s biggest consumer nation, the United States uses more energy and creates more waste per person than any other nation. Our past practices helped create global warming; our future practices may well determine whether we get it and other forms of environmental damage under control. This course will examine US impact on the global environment and the possibilities for US policy to deal with it. The course will examine the policy initiatives offered by the two presidential candidates and other ways of viewing the problem offered by global corporations and by environmental groups. We will also examine the status of global environmental policy as proposed by the United Nations and discuss what options the US has when dealing with other poor, wealthy and developing nations about this crucial global issue.

SPCM 181C Special Topics Seminar: Democracy in Performance
2 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94840):  MW 2:55 to 4:20 p.m.
Lisa Merrill

Using documentary materials from speeches, letters, memoirs, and journalistic accounts of significant figures and events in United States history, students will interpret and reenact specific historical characters and perform them throughout the Hofstra campus, dramatizing these characters and moments and bringing history to life. Students will research the historical context and explore how performing the event/ speech/ memoir contributes to their understanding of a historical moment and of a historical character, as well as exploring what message this has for contemporary spectators.  Students are admitted by permission of instructor.

SPCM 189B  Political Campaign Rhetoric
1 s.h.
Section 01 (CRN 94856):  MF 11:15 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.
Matt Sobnosky

This course focuses on communication used in political campaigns, particularly in the current election year. The course will examine advertisements, speeches, electronic communication, and debates. Class discussions will center on such issues as: 1) How passive or active is the public in campaigns? 2) What makes an effective and beneficial political advertisement? 3) What is the importance of character versus issues in campaigns? 4) What is a good campaign communication strategy? 5) How do campaigns target or alienate differing groups? 6) What functions do nationally televised debates play in the electoral process? This course will be run in conjunction with DebateWatch, a voter education program of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). DebateWatch brings citizens together to watch the televised debates, talk about what they learned, and, possibly, share their reactions with the CPD. Students in this course will be required to attend at least one DebateWatch.

SPCM 189F Political Speechwriting Workshop
1 s.h.
Section A (CRN 95183): Thursday 6-8:30
J. Terry Edmonds

Terry Edmonds, former chief speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and other prominent political and corporate leaders, will conduct a 5-week speechwriting workshop leading up to the final 2008 presidential debate.  Through a review of notable political speeches, interactive discussion and practical application, students will learn the basics of political speechwriting, including the speechwriter’s role in debate preparation.