Middlebury

 

Matthew Dickinson

Professor of Political Science

Email: 
Phone: work802.443.3253
Office Hours: Monday 10:30 - 11:30, Wednesday 10:30 - 11:30, Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 and 1:00 - 3:00, and by appointment
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Matthew Dickinson previously taught at Harvard University, where he also received his Ph.D., working under the supervision of presidential scholar Richard Neustadt, and was a Fellow in the Governmental Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. Matthew Dickinson is the author of Bitter Harvest: FDR, Presidential Power, and the Growth of the Presidential Branch (Cambridge University Press) and co-editor of Guardian of the Presidency: The Legacy of Richard E. Neustadt (The Brookings Institution). He has also published numerous articles on the presidency, Congress, presidential decision making, and presidential advisers. His current book project, titled The President and the White House Staff: People, Positions and Processes, 1945-2008, examines the growth of presidential staff in the post-World War II era.

 

Courses


indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

PSCI 0104 - Intro to American Politics      

Introduction to American Politics
This course introduces the institutions and practices of American government and politics. The aim is to give students a firm understanding of the workings of and the balance of power among the American Congress, President, bureaucracy, and court system. We begin with the Constitution, which provides the set of founding principles upon which the American government is based. We then look at how American citizens make decisions about politics. Finally, we examine how political institutions, interest groups, parties, elections, and legislative bodies and rules aggregate diverse, often conflicting preferences and how they resolve or exacerbate problems. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (American Politics)/

NOR SOC

Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2013

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PSCI 0206 - American Presidency      

The American Presidency
This course examines the development and modern practice of presidential leadership. Focus is on presidential decision-making, changes in the structure of the presidency as an institution, differences among individual presidents, and the interaction of the president with other major actors, including national governing institutions (executive branch, Congress, courts), interest groups, media, and the public. The course includes an historical overview of the evolution of the presidency, and examines changes in the electoral process. (PSCI 0102 or PSCI 0104 or waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc. (American Politics)/

NOR SOC

Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012

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PSCI 0208 - Politics of US Congress      

The Politics of the U.S. Congress
Introduces students to the analysis of Congress and congressional policy-making. Considers how congressional elections, institutions, and policy hang together roughly in equilibrium. Focuses on the internal organization of Congress-committees, parties, House and Senate leadership, rules and norms, and congressional staff. Analyzes the power of Congress relative to the president, the bureaucracy, and the courts, specifically in the policy process. Investigates how unified and divided party control of the government affects legislation in the House and Senate. Finally, applies congressional theories to determine the fates of specific policy proposals in Congress. (PSCI 0102 or PSCI 0104 or waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc. (American Politics)/

NOR

Fall 2010, Fall 2014

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PSCI 0308 - U.S. National Elections      

U. S. National Elections
In this course we will analyze national elections in the United States. Topics covered will include party systems, electoral realignment, voting behavior and turnout, candidate strategy, the nomination process, the legal framework for elections, the Electoral College, gender, race and ethnicity, the media, the Internet, and U.S. elections in comparative perspective. Although the focus will be on the upcoming congressional and presidential contests, earlier elections will be studied for insight into continuity and change in American electoral politics. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (American Politics)

NOR SOC

Fall 2012, Fall 2014

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PSCI 0312 - Bureaucracy      

Bureaucracy
How did 9-11 happen? Why did the U.S. believe Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction? What went wrong with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? Answering these questions requires an understanding of bureaucracies in the American political context -- the subject of this course. It begins with an overview of the nature of bureaucracies and theories for their formation, followed by an examination of bureaucratic actors (managers, operators, and executives) and the context within which they work. It concludes with an attempt to assess bureaucratic effectiveness. Case studies of particular bureaucracies, including those involved in the War on Terror, Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, are included to sharpen analyses. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (American Politics)/

Fall 2011, Spring 2014

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PSCI 0368 - Frontiers in Political Science      

Frontiers in Political Science Research
Nothing is more controversial among political scientists than the topic of how to study politics. In this course, we consider a variety of advanced techniques for studying political phenomena, including statistical methods, game theory, institutional analysis, case study techniques, experiments, and agent-based modeling. We will work with concrete examples (drawn from major political science journals) of how scholars have used these techniques, and consider the ongoing philosophical controversies associated with each approach. Students will have the opportunity to conduct original research using a method and subject of their choosing. (Two political science courses) 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Political Theory)/

DED SOC

Fall 2013

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PSCI 0425 - American Presidency      

The American Presidency
In-depth examination of the exercise of presidential leadership from a normative and empirical perspective. What are the sources of presidential power, the constraints on its use, and the implications for the American political system? The focus is on the leadership strategies of the modern presidents (FDR through Obama). (PSCI 0102 or PSCI 0104 or PSCI 0206 or waiver) 3 hrs. sem. (American Politics)/

Spring 2011, Spring 2013

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PSCI 0429 - Seminar on US Congress      

Seminar on the U.S. Congress
The U.S. Congress is the most powerful political institution in the nation, and one of the least popular. To understand why, this course examines theories of representation and how they relate to the contemporary Congress; the historical development and institutionalization of the Congress; the roles of parties, candidates, media, and money in Congressional elections; the legislative process, including roles of committees, interest groups, parties, congressional leaders, and presidents; the impact of representational and policy-making processes on the nature of legislation enacted by Congress; and Congress in comparative perspective. (Open to junior and senior majors) 3 hrs. sem. (American Politics)/

Spring 2012, Spring 2014

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PSCI 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Projects
A program of independent work designed to meet the individual needs of advanced students. (Approval required)

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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PSCI 0700 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
(Approval required)

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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PSCI 1026 - Advising the President      

Advising the President
In this course we will examine several key presidential decisions in American history from the perspective of presidential advisers using a formal modeling approach. After a general introduction to the structure and process of presidential decision making, students will participate in role-playing simulations designed to recreate the circumstances in each historical case.

DED NOR SOC WTR

Winter 2011

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Recent Publications

"The President and Congress" in Michael Nelson (ed.) The Presidency and the Political System, 10th edition, Washington, D.C., CQ Press 2014) ch. 15, pp. 406-47.

"We All Want a Revolution:  Neustadt, New Institutionalism and the Future of Presidency Research" 736-70, 39, n. 4 (December 2009)

"The President and Congress" in Michael Nelson (ed.) The Presidency and the Political System, 9th edition, Washington, D.C., CQ Press, 2010, pp. 401-34.

"A Practicum on the Presidency" in Matthew J. Dickinson and Elizabeth E. Neustadt (eds.) Guardian of the Presidency:  The Legacy of Richard E. Neustadt (Brookings Institution Press, 2007)

"Worked Out in Fractions:  Neutral Competence, FDR and the Bureau of the Budget."  (with Andrew Rudalevige) Congress and the Presidency, 2007

"Reexamining the Growth of the Institutional Presidency, 1940-2000" (with Matthew Lebo), Journal of Politics, 65, n. 1 (February 2007)

"The Politics of Persuasion:  A Bargaining Model of Presidential Power" in Bert Rockman and Richard Waterman (eds.) Presidential Leadership:  The Vortex of Power (Oxford University Press, 2008), ch. 12

"The Paradox of Politicization" in Joel D. Aberbach and Mark A. Peterson (eds.) Presidents and Bureaucrats:  The Executive Branch and American Democracy (New York, NY:  Oxford University Pess, 2005):  135-73

"Neustadt, New Institutionalism, and Presidential Decisionmaking: A Theory and Test", Presidential Studies Quarterly, 35, n.2 (June 2005): 259-288

"Presidents, Responsiveness and Competence: Revisiting the 'Golden Age' at the Bureau of Budget", (co-authored) Political Science Quarterly, Winter, 2005, pp. 633-654

"Explaining the Growth of the Presidential Branch, 1940-2000", in Barry C. Burden (ed.), Uncertainty in American Politics, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2003

"The Revolving Door at the White House: Explaining Increasing Turnover Rates Among Presidential Advisers, 1929-97", (co-authored), Journal of Politics, May, 2002, v.64, Issue 2, 434-448