Wednesday, September 19, 2007
In constructing my syllabi I tried to choose reading assignments that were short, clear and written for real people rather than ivory tower denizens. Unfortunately, given the nature of political science courses this was not always possible. In some classes like Democratization it was easy to find work written in English rather than academese. In other courses such as Political Culture it was much more difficult. But, the reaction from my students, a number who take more than one class from me, has been that they prefer the less pretentious writers. Robert Dahl and Fareed Zakaria have proven much more popular with my students than Barrington Moore Jr. To be honest I prefer them as well. However, I do realize that I am probably part of a very small minority of university professors in preferring popular to academic pieces.