Politics of Race, Ethnicity and Immigration (POLI 413) This course brings together several disciplines – history, sociology, and political science. The topics range from individual attitudes, political behavior, demographic stratification, historical development, contemporary institutions, public policy, and normative goals. Most importantly, the course brings into direct contact with one another several robust academic literatures that have largely developed independently of one another—studies of American racial dynamics, American ethnic and immigration politics, and some comparative ethnic and immigration politics. We will begin examining the history and theory of the American racial order. Next, we will look at contemporary racial and ethnic politics, particularly as it relates to identity and representation. The last third of the class will focus how the dynamics of immigration influence racial identities and politics.

Race, Ethnicity and Politics (POLI 213) This seminar seeks to provoke open debate and discourse about the politics of race and ethnicity in the United States, and the policy responses that attempt to address racial inequality. It utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate the history of racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. and examines the interaction of minority politics within broader American politics. The course begins with theoretical conceptions of race and ethnicity and how they inform notions of citizenship, group membership, structural racism, and racial hierarchies. Subsequent topics include reparations and racial violence, redistricting and the Voting Rights Act, racism, racial resentment, social movement activism, and inequality. Finally, selected contemporary policy issues and practices will be discussed including criminal justice policy and mass incarceration, surveillance and policing, immigration politics, and urban education.

Urban Politics and Policy (POLI 215) This course examines the politics and public policies of local governments in the United States. Given the unique circumstances of 2020, the course will have a focus on racial inequity, systemic racism, and COVID-19. We will explore the historical growth and change of cities and suburbs over the last 50 years, and the development of urban policy in the American federal system. We will also look more closely at the urban “crisis” of the 20th century, including issues of race and class, the city/suburban divide, and the various ways in which cultural values have contributed to American exceptionalism in residential patterns. Throughout the course, we will examine urban policies to address urban “problems,” such as public housing, segregation, immigration, education and public health.

Public Policy (POLI 210) This course offers an overview to and application of American public policy. We begin with an overview of the nature and purpose of public policy. Next, we turn our attention to the theories of policymaking and some of the key explanations for how policy is made in the American political system. With these theoretical building blocks, we then cover seven major areas of contemporary public policy. The goals of the class are, first, to help students develop a fuller understanding of public policy and the ways government makes policy decisions. The second goal is to encourage students to look ahead to the implications of policy choices. And the third goal is to foster critical thinking public policy and possible alternative courses of action.

MultiCultural America: Political Science, Public Policy and Social Justice (POLI 150) What is social justice? How are identities, experiences, and structures of race, ethnicity, gender and class intertwined with social justice in the American context? Why does social justice matter? What can individuals and communities do to develop socially just political outcomes? We will closely read a number of texts to explore responses to these broad questions. Assigned readings are drawn from a wide variety of disciplines and contemporary popular writings. In addition to traditional classroom practices of lecture, discussion, and writing, this course moves decidedly beyond the classroom by requiring students to engage with community organizations working to combat social injustice in the Milwaukee community. Students are expected to bring enthusiastic participation to these experiences and to reflect critically on their experiences in written work.


Seminar on Public Policy and Politics (POLI 974) This course is a seminar on public policymaking in the American context. While we will focus on recent scholarship on the policymaking process, we will also read several “classics” that deal with the relationship between the policy process and policy outcomes. Our study of policymaking will be based on the proposition that a rigorous understanding of policymaking depends upon a sophisticated understanding of institutions and political behavior. Many of the scholars we will read built their professional reputations in one or more of the traditional subfields in American politics (Congress, voting, public opinion, interest groups, etc.) and their conceptualizations of policy processes and outcomes are explicitly based on their understandings of these more traditional subfields. Though we will not ignore the details of the policymaking process, we will make a concerted effort to understand the impact of broad societal forces on policy development, choice, implementation and evaluation. We will spend a significant amount of time discussing examples from specific substantive policy areas, but this is probably not a course for students whose interests are limited to a single policy area. Students who have no formal background in American politics should meet with me before enrolling in the course.