A Novel Approach to Politics: Introducing Political Science through Books, Movies, and Popular Culture

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9780872899995: A Novel Approach to Politics: Introducing Political Science through Books, Movies, and Popular Culture

Students often complain that textbooks are boring, but theyve never had one like this. With enlightening, yet entertaining, references ranging from 1984 to The Dark Knight, students take away more from discussions of institutions, ideology, or economics because core concepts are introduced using popular culture. Revisions to the second edition include recent movies and books and new stand-alone chapters on legislatures and executives. Students benefit from chapter summaries, bolded key terms, and discussion questions, as well as a student companion website. Instructors resources are available free to adopters.

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About the Author:

Sent to Earth shortly before Krypton exploded, Doug VanBelle was raised by gorillas in Africa and then bitten by a radioactive spider while on a high school field trip. None of that helped much at all. He misspent his youth-and a bit more-trying to find a violent competitive sport that did not cause him serious harm, but the four times he broke his nose suggest that he is slow to learn. Somewhere in there, there was a bunch of degrees and some other learnin' stuff. He was awarded a full scholarship in Chemical Engineering, dropped out after the first year, went through seven other majors, failed a creative writing elective, took a semester off to work in the Alaskan commercial fishing industry and somehow still managed to graduate on time. He is now a political science professor who writes science fiction and teaches in the media studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the former president of both the Foreign Policy Analysis and International Communication research sections of the International Studies Association, the Editor in Chief of Foreign Policy Analysis, and he has written extensively on theories of political decision making and the role of news media in international relations.

Spurred on by the blatant discrimination inherent in the statement ""Trix are for Kids,"" at age 4 Ken Mash attempted to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rabbit and other animals similarly situated. After three errors in one inning squashed his dreams of playing for the Mets, his overactive justice complex led him to pursue a career as a lawyer and politician. While earning his B.A. in political science he discovered what those jobs were really like. Thus, Ken's next degree was in mixology. Eighteen months later, his fiancée informed him that she was leaving town to do graduate work and that she would go either with him or without him. A couple of degrees later, he is currently a political science professor at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he is co-director of the honors program and the pre-law advisor. He has delivered numerous papers and talks on American politics, constitutional law, and civil liberties, and he is very active in the faculty association. He currently resides in Nanticoke, PA, with his wife and four children where he is now content in knowing that his parents were mistaken when, as a child, they told him that he was wasting his time watching T.V. and movies.

Review:

The slightly irreverent, humorous approach of the authors went over well with my students; I appreciated the sophisticated yet accessible treatment of the philosophical roots and theoretic structure of the study of politics. It worked very well with my approach to introducing political science; using the book with films and current events facilitated dynamic and far-ranging discussion. --- Seán P. Duffy, Quinnipiac University

In all of my class lectures, I frequently mention films, books, and TV shows that illustrate a point of political interest. When Van Belle and Mash first released their delightful text, I found a book to use whose kindred spirit matched my approach. It is fun, funny, informative, and most importantly, it serves up politics to a generation of students who have been socialized by the entertainment media. --- Jim Radford, Radford University

As an instructor who struggles to animate students about the importance politics in their daily lives, this text accomplishes the almost impossible--it makes students smile and even laugh about politics. The framing of political theory in such a way that challenges students to think and to internalize ideas is a major accomplishment. As a supplementary reader it enriches and brings ideas to life while providing much needed substance to class discussions. - --Richard S. Gutierrez, University of Texas, El Paso

In all of my class lectures, I frequently mention films, books, and TV shows that illustrate a point of political interest. When Van Belle and Mash first released their delightful text, I found a book to use whose kindred spirit matched my approach. It is fun, funny, informative, and most importantly, it serves up politics to a generation of students who have been socialized by the entertainment media. --- Jim Radford, Radford University

As an instructor who struggles to animate students about the importance politics in their daily lives, this text accomplishes the almost impossible--it makes students smile and even laugh about politics. The framing of political theory in such a way that challenges students to think and to internalize ideas is a major accomplishment. As a supplementary reader it enriches and brings ideas to life while providing much needed substance to class discussions. --- Richard S. Gutierrez, University of Texas, El Paso

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