Viking Raven BannerRoy Casagranda
Professor-Errant of Political Science

Contemporary political theory; American political thought; American
politics; the Middle East; democratic theory; meaning and identity claims in modernity; resistance to modernity; the American presidency

Current research:
I work primarily at the intersection of contemporary political theory, American politics, and Middle East politics to discover the causes for political action (or lack thereof).  I am trained in the use of both theoretical and empirical research methods and as a result my work sometimes crosses the boundaries between them.  I am currently involved in two research projects.  I am writing Politics and Meaning in the Age of Instrumentality, a book dedicated to discovering how modernity in America has reduced the significance of political action.  I am also writing an article that explores the role of ideology and instrumental behavior in
US foreign policy.

Current Syllabi
2006 Lectures
2007 Lectures
News Sources
In Memoriam
Political Sources
ACC Links
Current Classes:
GOVT 2305 US Government 

Paper Presentations:
“Skowronek’s Cycle and Presidential Autonomy” presented at Southwest Social Science Association, in San Antonio, TX, April 15, 2006

“Empire of the Dollar Autocracy” presented at Southwest Social Science Association, in San Antonio, TX, April 14, 2006

“Beyond the Rational and Self Interested, Part 2: Identity Claims in an Electoral Republic” presented at the Southwest Social Science Association, New Orleans, LA March 2002

“Beyond the Rational and Self Interested: Voter Turnout, Meaning, and Identity Claims in Presidential Elections” presented at the Northeast Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA, November 9, 2001

Undergraduate Education Philosophy:
Learn to write.  No other skill will get you further and serve you better.

If you are not enjoying the class that you are in, then you will not retain the information.  It is useless, get out, and find something that you do enjoy or a professor whose style suits you better.  Every professor is different; use that to your advantage.  A professor's style, because upon your tastes and approach to learning, can make or break a class. 

If you hate your field of study, don't stay in it.  If you get your degree in that field, you will likely be doing it, or at least something similar to it, for the rest of your life.  Money is worthless if you hate your life.

How does one figure out what field to study?  Take as many classes as you can in as many different fields of study as you can.  You will find your calling in life with a little luck and some hard work. 

Don't be afraid of work.  If a class is hard, look at it as a challenge.  Don't drop a class because it requires "too much" work.  Success in a single hard class will mean more to you than success in one hundered easy classes. 

Don't rush your undergraduate career.  What value is there in rushing it?  You aren't going to beat death.  You aren't going to gain any amazing wealth by earning a steady income for an extra year or two.  If you don't enjoy learning, what makes you think that you will love doing the same job over and over again for the rest of your life?  If you are not having the time of your life as an undergraduate you are messing up.

On student evaluations write something in the "comments" section.  Sure the scores mattter, but the comments can actually
reinforce what you like and discourage what you don't.  Its your chance to improve the education system.

For advice on graduate studies come see me.  That is "a whole nother" beast!  Although, the advice about learning to write, still applies.

And remember always that...

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."
Stephen Hawking

Wargaming, Backpacking, Rock Climbing, Travel, and History

Old Syllabi:
POLS 3313 Intro to International Relations
POLS 3341 Political Thought From Machiavelli and the Renaissance

POLS 3360 Politics and Mass Media
POLS 4333 Islam and Democracy

Cyrus the Great's Constitution
The World's first written constitution and first charter of human rights, written by Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire, circa 539 BC. 

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Last Updated October 12, 2006