Title: New Jersey Politics (790:308:B6)

Instructor: Dworkin

Instructor’s E-mail: bdworkin@eden.rutgers.edu

Days, Times, Location: Session I (05/31/2011-07/08/2011); MW 6:00-10:20pm HCK-201 DC

Office Hours: TBD

Synopsis: In New Jersey, politics is considered a full-contact sport, and this often makes it intimidating for the average citizen to be involved.  As in any sport, there are players, key positions, and general rules the most people follow.  The goal of this class is to provide a broad overview of New Jersey's government and politics; that is, how the game is played – the playing field, the players, and the battles that create winners and losers.  At the end of the class, the successful student should be able to actively engage in the state’s political process with a stronger understanding of how New Jersey politics developed, the tensions over issues that continue to be debated, and how New Jersey politics deals with (or ignores) those issues.  The class involves a wide range of guest speakers, lecture, role play and research activities.

New Jersey is arguably one of the most challenging states to govern in the United States.  Much of its political culture and governmental structure is a legacy dating back to its earliest years as a colony.  Nonetheless, it is also a microcosm for 21st century challenges facing state government.  Taxes and spending, urban issues, suburbanization, transportation, housing and land use policy, immigration, public education, terrorist threats, and similar issues confront New Jersey and often with serious consequences.  How the state's political process and government entities deal with such issues will be a central focus of the class.