Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A20. Red State, Blue States and the Silver Screen: A Cinematric Tour of American Politics

The American political system is unique around the world in its stability, longevity, and institutional complexity. Our politics has also been turbulent and controversial, featuring a rich tapestry of diverse voices and colorful personalities, from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Rush Limbaugh. From its inception, the American film industry has attempted to both explain the political history of the United States and serve as an advocate for political change. Its verdict has been mixed. Why do people often bitterly disagree with one another about public policy? Is the American political system fair and unbiased, or does it promote the interests of the powerful? Do our elections enlighten and inspire the public, or do they result in cynicism and detachment from the political process? In this course we will analyze Hollywood’s answer to these questions and many others, analyzing topics such as electoral politics, the legislative process, race, and the role of the news media.

Bradford BishopBradford Bishop
Assistant Professor of Political Science