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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Contemporary British Politics from an Outsider's Perspective

Instructor(s): Robert Turner, Government

What can we learn about Britain’s politics by living there?  Like the protagonist of Mark Twain’s 19th century novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court who awakens to find himself in medieval England, we find ourselves in a foreign land with a different political system from our own.  However, the current issues are familiar: popular dissatisfaction with political elites; economic globalization and increasing economic inequality; immigration and the rise of a multicultural society; balancing threats from terrorism with civil liberties; and how to enhance local democracy.
In this course, we will study the institutions and activities of the British national government, focusing on contemporary British politics and policy.  Students will study the Monarchy, Parliament, political parties, the role of the Prime Minister, political ideology, political institutions, and public policies.  The American political system will be used as a point of reference and contrast in order to understand what is similar and different about British politics.

Course Offered