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Course Description

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of how the state of California is governed. Emphasis will be placed on local elections, political parties, legislative, executive, and judicial power, special interest groups, lobbying, urban politics, how such a diverse and multi-linguistic state be effectively governed, and policy-making, citizen activism and the importance of community service. Major events in the historical development of California and on current issues of significance will be examined in the context of the United States and California state constitutions. ADVISORY: English 250 and English 260.

Learning Outcomes

  • List, discuss, and assess the political values and historical events that have shaped California government and politics.
  • Evaluate and assess various political ideologies underlying the California political system.
  • Explain why and how power is distributed and utilized within the political culture, structures, and institutions of California state and local politics.
  • Differentiate among and appraise the relative purpose and impact of different types of political participation (e.g. voting, lobbying, protesting, initiatives, organizing, volunteering, etc).
  • Apply the knowledge gained from the class to engage in a Service Learning Project relevant to achieving a particular student political goal or desired objective.
  • Explain and evaluate the institutions of California politics (alternative democratic processes such as ranked choice voting and citizen oversight groups, parties, interest groups, the media, social movements, the state legislature and executive, bureaucracies, courts, county and city governments, as well as the initiative, referendum, and citizen recall powers).
  • Write clearly, systematically, and analytically about contemporary political issues and policies.
  • Evaluate and assess the form and function of local governments throughout California.
  • Evaluate and assess how a state with such ethnic and linguistic diversity can continue to be governed effectively.

Last modified: November 25, 2014
Gavilan College Red Diamond 5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard Red Diamond Gilroy, CA 95020 Red Diamond (408) 848-4800