In this course, you will learn about major areas of research related to political communication, public opinion, and the media. You will connect scholarly work to insights from leading strategists and journalists, and to contemporary trends and issues. We will focus on the varying ways that campaigns, news, technology, social movements, philanthropy, and ideas influence societal decisions, elections and our democracy.


  • Class Participation (10%): You are expected to attend every class unless you have an excused absence. (Please email me in advance if you will not be in attendance.) You are also expected to actively participate in class, to do the reading in advance, and to share readings, news articles, and examples that you encounter outside of class that may be relevant to discussion.
  • In Class Exam #1 (20%) and In Class Exam #2 (20%): You will be completing two in class, open book essay exams that test your understanding of key theories, topics, and concepts and your ability to apply these principles to strategy.
  • Annotated Bibliography (15%): For your semester-long research paper, you will be analyzing the political communication dimensions of a major national policy issue, type of campaign strategy, political movement, or similar topic. To inform your analysis, you will be preparing an annotated bibliography of 15­ relevant scholarly and research-­based sources.
  • Final Research Paper (35%): You will research and write a 15­ paper drawing on your annotated bibliography and other sources, assessing the major findings and insights from scholarship relevant to your topic, and the implications for understanding the nature of political debate and for informing the work of political professionals, advocates, and/or journalists.


  • Annotated Bibliography — OCT 4
  • In Class Exam #1 — OCT 11
  • First Draft of Paper Due–NOV 1
  • In Class Exam #2 — DEC 3
  • Final Revised Paper Due — Scheduled Final Exam Day TBA


Fri Sept 7 — Course OverviewTues.

1–Sept. 10 & Fri. Sept 13 — Authoritarianism and populism in the 2016 election

2–Tues Sept 17 & Fri Sept 20 — Television, entertainment, and authoritarianism

3–Tues. Sept. 24 & Fri Sept. 27 — Social media, misinformation, and the 2016 election

4–Tues. Oct 1 & Fri Oct. 4 — Journalism, Trump, and the 2016 election

Tues. Oct 8 TBA & Fri Oct 11 First Exam

5–Tues. Oct 15 & Fri Oct 18 — Identity politics, voters, and elections

6–Tues. Oct 22 & Fri Oct 25 — Campus politics and free speech

7–Tues. Oct 29 & Fri Nov 1 — Framing, public opinion, and the gun control debate

8–Tues Nov 5 & Fri Nov 8 — Climate change, energy politics & communication

Tues Nov 11 & Fri Nov 18  — Class presentations

Tues Nov 18 & Nov 22 — Class presentations

Tues Nov 26 — TBA

Tues Dec 3 — Second In-Class exam.