The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Sean Theriault


ProfessorPh.D., Stanford University

Professor, University Distinguished Teaching Professor
Sean Theriault

Contact

  • Phone: 512-232-7279
  • Office: BAT 3.130
  • Office Hours: M 3:45-5 ; W 12:45-2:30
  • Campus Mail Code: A1800

Interests


American political institutions

Biography


Professor Theriault, who is fascinated by congressional decision-making, is currently researching the effect of interpersonal relationships within the U.S. Congress.  He has published five books: Congress: The First Branch (with Mickey Edwards; Oxford University Press, 2020), The Great Broadening (with Bryan Jones and Michelle Whyman; University of Chicago Press, 2019), The Gingrich Senators (Oxford University Press, 2013), Party Polarization in Congress (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and The Power of the People (Ohio State University Press, 2005). He has also published numerous articles in a variety of journals on subjects ranging from presidential rhetoric to congressional careers and the Louisiana Purchase to the Pendleton Act of 1883.

Professor Theriault, whose classes include the U.S. Congress, Congressional Elections, Party Polarization in the United States, and the Politics of the Catholic Church, is passionate about teaching.  He has received numerous teaching awards, including the Friar Society Teaching Fellowship (the biggest undergraduate teaching award at UT) in 2009, UT Professor the Year in 2011, and the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award in 2014.  In 2012, he was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.  He has experienced no greater honor than “officiating” at two weddings for former students.


Professor Theriault, who grew up in Michigan, has been to all 50 states (though only 49 state capitols) and six continents.  His research and teaching have taken him to among other places Seoul, Rome, and Berlin.  He is a competitive tennis player and an avid runner, having competed twice in the Boston Marathon.  Before obtaining his Ph.D. from Stanford University (in 2001; M.A. in Political Science in 2000), he attended the University of Richmond (B.A., 1993), and the University of Rochester (M.S. in Public Policy Analysis, 1996).

Courses


GOV 370L • The United States Congress

38170 • Spring 2020
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM MEZ 1.306

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 379S • Pope Francis's Cath Church-Ita

38200 • Spring 2020
IIWr (also listed as LAH 350, T C 358)

Maymester Program - Application Deadline November 15, 2019

More information here!

GOV 312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

38375 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM FAC 21
GO

Government 312L satisfies the second half of the mandated six hours of government that every UT student must take.  Course covers analysis of varying topics concerned with American political institutions and policies, including the United States Constitution, and assumes basic knowledge of government from GOV 310L, which is a prerequiste. May be taken for credit only once.

GOV 370L • Congressional Elections

38650 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 21
II

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 310L • American Government

38085 • Spring 2018
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM
GO

This course is an introduction to American government and politics.  While the main focus is on the national level, additional attention is paid to the state and local governments of Texas. Topics will include U.S. political history, political institutions, elections, public opinion, rights and freedoms, and public policy issues.

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

38420 • Spring 2018
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM CLA 0.126
II

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 379S • Pope Francis's Cath Church-Ita

38460 • Spring 2018
IIWr (also listed as LAH 350, T C 358)

MAYMESTER COURSE
POPE FRANCIS'S CATHOLIC CHURCH: THE MAKING OF THE MODERN PAPACY - ROME, ITALY

This program offers the unique opportunity to explore first-hand the history and politics of papal succession and church policy in Rome, Italy. Specifically, we will concentrate on Pope Francis, the Holy See, the Vatican, and the world that it serves. The course will introduce, describe, and analyze how the Church makes its decisions and why. In addition to a regular classroom schedule, we will visit the great churches of Rome, meet with the Princes of the Church, and observe the church's far-reaching influence. By the end of the course, students will have developed an understanding of the Church as a historical, religious, and political organization. Local program staff in Rome will organize orientation and housing and support students throughout the program's duration.

The deadline to apply for this program is Nov. 1, 2017. More information including application instructions can be found here: https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/plan2/current_stdnts/abroad/italy.php

ENROLLMENT NOTE: Students who enroll in this class and are not accepted into the Maymester progarm will be dropped from the course in January.  Students may enroll in a full course load (12-17 hours) in addition to the 3 hour Maymester course as the Maymester course is not counted against total registration hours.

GOV 310L • American Government

38575-38580 • Fall 2017
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM
GO

This course is an introduction to American government and politics.  While the main focus is on the national level, additional attention is paid to the state and local governments of Texas. Topics will include U.S. political history, political institutions, elections, public opinion, rights and freedoms, and public policy issues.

GOV 312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

38380 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.306
GO

Government 312L satisfies the second half of the mandated six hours of government that every UT student must take.  Course covers analysis of varying topics concerned with American political institutions and policies, including the United States Constitution, and assumes basic knowledge of government from GOV 310L, which is a prerequiste. May be taken for credit only once.

GOV 370L • Congressional Elections

38615 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 101

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 310L • American Government

37715-37720 • Spring 2016
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM

This course is an introduction to American government and politics.  While the main focus is on the national level, additional attention is paid to the state and local governments of Texas. Topics will include U.S. political history, political institutions, elections, public opinion, rights and freedoms, and public policy issues.

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

38065 • Spring 2016
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM GSB 2.126
II

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 379S • Pope Francis's Cath Church-Ita

38100 • Spring 2016
(also listed as LAH 350, T C 357)

Students may only enroll in this course if accepted into the 2016 Maymester Program: 

Pope Francis’s Catholic Church: The Making of the Modern Papacy 

Course offered in Rome, Italy May 24-June 21, 2016

This program offers the unique opportunity to explore first-hand the history and politics of papal succession and church policy in Rome, Italy. Specifically, we will concentrate on Pope Francis, the Holy See, the Vatican, and the world that it serves. The course will introduce, describe, and analyze how the Church makes its decisions and why. In addition to a regular classroom schedule, we will visit the great churches of Rome, meet with the Princes of the Church, and observe the church's far-reaching influence. By the end of the course, students will have developed an understanding of the church as a historical, religious, and political organization. Local program staff in Rome will organize orientation and housing and support students throughout the program's duration.

For more information visit:

http://www.utexas.edu/cola/plan2/current_stdnts/abroad/italy.php

GOV 310L • American Government

37612-37613 • Fall 2015
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM
GO

GOV 310L AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

A basic survey of American government, including fundamental political institutions, federal, state, and local; special attention to the United States and Texas Constitutions. Part of a six-semester-hour integrated sequence, the second half of which is Government 312L. Fulfills first half of legislative requirement for government.  

Prerequisite: Twelve semester hours of college coursework and a passing score on the reading section of the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) test (or an appropriate assessment test).  

Designed to accommodate 800 or more students. Course meets online during scheduled class times and includes a live-streaming video component. Students are encouraged to visit http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tower/gov310L/ to test their computer and network connection and learn about the course structure.

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

38080 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 101
Wr

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • Congressional Elections

38995 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 214

 

Government 370L:

Congressional Elections

 

Fall 2014

 

Course Description

In this course, we’ll examine congressional elections historically and contemporaneously.  We’ll also analyze them from a political science as well as political junkie perspectives.  The first half of the course will discuss campaigning and the second half of the course will deal with election outcomes and their consequences on policy making.  Each student will be required to become an expert on a particular congressional and senate race. 

 

Course Format

Though there will be more than 100 students in the class, it will be a personal challenge of mine to make it feel like 30 students.  As such, I expect all of the students to do all of the readings for all of the classes.

 

Grades

Grades will be determined by a major paper, several midterms, and in-class participation:

  • 20% Midterm 1
  • 20% Midterm 2
  • 20% Midterm 3
  • 20% Course Project
  • 20% Class Participation

 

 

Readings

The course readings TENTATIVELY consist of the following:

  • Gary Jacobson’s The Politics of Congressional Elections
  • Sean Theriault’s The Gingrich Senators
  • A on-line course packet

GOV 370M • Research On The Us Congress

39015 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 5:00PM-6:30PM MEZ 1.212
II

Gov 370: Research on the U.S. Congress, part 1

 

Professors Theriault and Jones

Fall 2014

 

Pre-requisites

Gov 310, Gov 312, and permission of Professors Jones or Theriault

 

Course Description

This course will introduce the student to social scientific research by incorporating the students into the active research agendas of two professors who study American politics.  The project has three aims.  First, the students will learn the general principles of empirical research.  The second, the student will be active players in on-going research projects.  Third, the students will develop their own research papers in line with the research that they are conducting with the professor

            This course is the first semester of a two-semester research experience offered in conjunction with the Pickle Research Apprenticeship Program, which is under the direction of Professor Sean Theriault and Professor Bryan Jones.  Except in very limited circumstances, students enrolled in the fall semester will also enroll in the spring semester research class taught by Professor Jones.  Professors Jones and Theriault will work hard to make the transition from the fall to the spring as seamless as possible.

 

Readings

  • Sean Theriault’s The Gingrich Senators
  • Bryan Jones’s Policy Dynamics

 

Grading Requirements

  • 25%  Class Participation
  • 75%  Research Project

 

Flag:

Independent Inquiry

GOV 310L • American Government

38975 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM FAC 21
E GO

Course Description

In this course, we’ll examine the American political system through the lens of the elections.  We will analyze them from a political science as well as political junkie perspectives, paying particular, though not exclusive attention to the 2012 elections.  In addition to discussing, analyzing, and debating the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, we will develop a framework to understand the critical link between voters and candidates.  We will also explore the dynamics among citizens, elected officials, and the policymaking world.  The first half of the course will focus on the campaigns and the second half of the course will deal with election outcomes and their consequences on policy making.  There will also be a semester project that focuses on a particular state during this election cycle.

 

Prerequisites

None.

 

Grades

Grades will be determined according to the following formula:

  • 20%      Attendance and Class Participation.  Throughout the class you will have random attendance quizzes.  There will be no excuses for missing attendance quizzes.
  • 20%      Midterm Exam I (September 28)
  • 20%      Midterm Exam II (October 26)
  • 20%      Midterm Exam III (November 30)
  • 20%      Course Project

 

Course Readings

The course readings consist of the following:

  • A course packet available at Speedway Copy and Printing (in Dobie Mall).  All readings in the Course Packet are designated as a hollow circle.
  • Sean M. Theriault.  2013.  The Gingrich Senators.  Oxford University Press.
  • Ken Kollman.  2012.  The American Political System, Core Edition.  Norton Press.

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

39355 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 201
Wr

 Course Description

This course takes an in-depth look at lawmaking in the modern Congress.  Through this systemic approach, we’ll analyze various factors influencing the legislative process including presidents, the public, parties, and pivots.  We’ll also examine explanations for the legislative process and party polarization in Congress. 

 

Course Format

Although this class will have a lecture format, it will revert to seminar more than you would probably think possible.  As such, students are expected to come to class ready to actively contribute to classroom discussions. 

 

Prerequisites

Successful completion of GOV 310 and GOV 312. 

 

Grading Policy

Grades will be determined according to the following formula:

  • 15%     Class Participation.  Throughout the class, I reserve the right to take attendance, to give pop quizzes, and to assign homework projects.
  • 15%     Midterm Exam I
  • 15%     Midterm Exam II
  • 15%     Midterm Exam III
  • 40%     Class Project

Because of the demand for this class, I will not give a Q-drop to a student unless he or she is passing the course.  I frown on issues of academic dishonesty and will severely punish any student caught plagiarizing, cheating, or engaged in unethical classroom practices.  I will not accept late assignments.  I will not accept excuses for missing pop quizzes.  All grade disputes must be type written and turned in within 1 week of receiving the grade.  I will use plusses and minuses in this class, with the 0.7 and 0.3 at cutoffs.  So, an 82.9 is a B- and an 83.1 is B; an 86.9 is a B and an 87.1 is a B+.

 

Course Readings

The course readings consist of the following:

  • Available at Speedway Copy and Printing:  A Course Packet
  • Available at the UT Co-op: Readings on the U.S. Congress.  Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
  • Ø Available at the UT Co-op: Theriault, Sean M.  2013.  The Gingrich Senators.  New York: Oxford University Press.

v On occasion, I will make some information available in the Documents folder on Blackboard.

Flag: Writing

GOV 370M • Research On The Us Congress

39325 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 5:00PM-6:30PM MEZ 1.212
II

 

Prerequisites

Gov 310, Gov 312, and permission of Professors Jones or Theriault

 

Course Description

This course will introduce the student to social scientific research by incorporating the students into the active research agendas of two professors who study American politics.  The project has three aims.  First, the students will learn the general principles of empirical research.  The second, the student will be active players in on-going research projects.  Third, the students will develop their own research papers in line with the research that they are conducting with the professor

            This course is the first semester of a two-semester research experience offered in conjunction with the Pickle Research Apprenticeship Program, which is under the direction of Professor Sean Theriault and Professor Bryan Jones.  Except in very limited circumstances, students enrolled in the fall semester will also enroll in the spring semester research class taught by Professor Jones.  Professors Jones and Theriault will work hard to make the transition from the fall to the spring as seamless as possible.

 

Grading Policy

  • 25%  Class Participation
  • 75%  Research Project

 

Texts

  • Sean Theriault’s The Gingrich Senators
  • Bryan Jones’s Policy Dynamics

GOV 381L • Congress

39365 • Fall 2013
Meets M 3:30PM-6:30PM BAT 1.104

Course Description

Course topics offer an overview of the major literature on Congress and the Presidency.  The readings and topics reflect a mix of scholarly, historical, and practitioner perspectives.  I have three aims in this class:

  • The first is to provide a coherent introduction to the most important Congress literature.
  • The second is to identify questions worthy of original research.
  • The third is to develop student deliberation, writing, and presentation skills.

The class will be a seminar.  As such, all students will be expected to come to class prepared to have an in-depth (and interesting!) conversation about the readings.

 

Grading Policy

Grades will be determined according to the following formula:

  • 30%     Reaction Papers (3-5 pages, topics assigned)
  • 10%     Presentation (based on outside readings)
  • 30%     Final Paper (topic depends on student objectives)
  • 10%     Final Paper Presentation
  • 20%     In-class Participation                

 

Texts

The course readings TENTATIVELY consist of the following:

Mayhew, David R. 1974.  Congress: The Electoral Connection. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Theriault, Sean M.  2013.  The Gingrich Senators.  New York: Oxford University Press.

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

38995 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.306
Wr

Prerequisites

6 semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

Course Description

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

This course takes an in-depth look at lawmaking in the modern Congress. Systematically, we will analyze various factors influencing the legislative process including presidents, the public, parties, and pivots. We will also examine explanations for the legislative process and the current polarization occurring within Congress.

 

Grading Policy (Tentative)

Class Participation, Pop Quizzes, and Homework: 20%

Semester Project:  20%

Midterm Exam I: 20%

Midterm Exam II: 20%

Midterm Exam III: 20%

 

Texts

Custom Published CQ Reader including chapters from Congress and Its Members (12th Edition)

Party Polarization in Congress

Course Packet

GOV 310L • American Government

38570 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 106
GO

Course Description

In this course, we’ll examine the American political system through the lens of elections.  We will analyze them from a political science as well as political junkie perspectives, paying particular, though not exclusive attention to the 2012 elections.  The first half of the course will focus on the campaigns and the second half of the course will deal with election outcomes and their consequences on policy making.  There will also be a semester project that focuses on a particular campaign. 

The number of students in the course will demand that it be mostly lecture, however, I like to get the students involved in my lectures.  Consequently, it’ll feel like the class is just you and 300 of your friends.

 

Grading Policy

Grades will be determined by a semester project, several midterms, and in-class participation:

  • 20% Midterm 1
  • 20% Midterm 2
  • 20% Midterm 3
  • 20% Course Project
  • 20% Class Participation

 

Texts

The course readings TENTATIVELY consist of the following:

  • Gary Jacobson’s The Politics of Congressional Elections
  • Aldrich and Rhode’s Change and Continuity
  • Sean Theriault’s Party Polarization in Congress
  • A course packet available at Speedway (in Dobie Mall) 

GOV 370L • Congressional Elections

38843 • Fall 2012
Meets MW 3:00PM-4:30PM WEL 2.312

Course Description

In this course, we’ll examine congressional elections historically and contemporaneously.  We’ll also analyze them from a political science as well as political junkie perspectives.  The first half of the course will discuss campaigning and the second half of the course will deal with election outcomes and their consequences on policy making.  Each student will be required to become an expert on a particular congressional and senate race. 

Though there will be more than 100 students in the class, it will be a personal challenge of mine to make it feel like 30 students.  As such, I expect all of the students to do all of the readings for all of the classes.

 

Grading Policy

Grades will be determined by a major paper, several midterms, and in-class participation:

  • 20% Midterm 1
  • 20% Midterm 2
  • 20% Midterm 3
  • 20% Course Project
  • 20% Class Participation

  

Texts

The course readings TENTATIVELY consist of the following:

  • Gary Jacobson’s The Politics of Congressional Elections
  • Aldrich and Rhode’s Change and Continuity
  • Sean Theriault’s Party Polarization in Congress
  • A course packet available at Speedway

 

GOV 312R • Constitutional Prins: Equality

38585 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM MEZ 1.306

This course takes an in-depth look at the Catholic Church, not as a religious institution, but as a political one.  Over the course of the semester, we’ll read parts of the Bible, Enlightening readings, some founding documents, and papers from the Second Vatican Council.   

Course Requirements

3 semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

Grading Policy (Tentative)

Class Participation, Pop Quizzes, and Homework: 20%

Semester Project:  20%

Midterm Exam I: 20%

Midterm Exam II: 20%

Midterm Exam III: 20%

Texts

Course Packet

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

38849 • Spring 2012
Meets MW 3:30PM-5:00PM GSB 2.126

Course Description

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

This course takes an in-depth look at lawmaking in the modern Congress. Systematically, we will analyze various factors influencing the legislative process including presidents, the public, parties, and pivots. We will also examine explanations for the legislative process and the current polarization occurring within Congress.

Course Requirements

 6 semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

Grading Policy (Tentative)

Class Participation, Pop Quizzes, and Homework: 20%

Semester Project:  20%

Midterm Exam I: 20%

Midterm Exam II: 20%

Midterm Exam III: 20%

Texts

Congress and Its Members (12th Edition)

Party Polarization in Congress

Course Packet

T C 357 • The Senate

42925 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CRD 007A
II

Instructor: Sean Theriault, Associate Professor, Department of Government, College of Liberal Arts

Description:This course will examine the Senate of the United States through a variety of different perspectives:  mostly political science, but we will also draw on journalism, biography, film, and history.  We will aim to discover the activities in the Senate as well as to develop an understanding of how the Senate has changed (or not changed).  

Texts/Readings:•    Lee, Frances E. 2009.  Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles, and Partisanship in the U.S. Senate.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.•    Koger. Gregory.  2010.  Filibustering. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  •    Wawro, Gregory J., and Eric Schickler.  2006.  Filibuster.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.•    Wendy Schiller’s Partners and Rivals•    Sean M. Theriault.  2011.  The Gingrich Senators.  Unpublished Manuscript. •    A course packet will comprise about half of the readings for the course.

Assignments:•    30%    Class Participation.  The grade for this portion will be determined by class homework assignments, pop quizzes, and active participation in class as well as sections. •    10%    Preliminary Paper (4 pages).•    50%    Final Paper (15 pages).•    10%    Presentations of Research  

About the Professor:

Professor Theriault researches American political institutions, primarily the U.S. Congress.  His current research is on the Gingrich Senators and how they have transformed the U.S. Senate.  His classes include the U.S. Congress, Congressional Elections, Party Polarization in the United States, and the Politics of the Catholic Church.  He has received numerous teaching awards, including the Friar Society Teaching Fellowship (the biggest undergraduate teaching award at UT) in 2009.Professor Theriault has published two books, The Power of the People: Congressional Competition, Public Attention, and Voter Retribution (Ohio State University Press, 2005) and Party Polarization in Congress (Cambridge University Press, 2008). He has also published numerous articles on subjects ranging from presidential rhetoric to congressional careers and the Louisiana Purchase to the Pendleton Act of 1883.

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

39065 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM MEZ 1.102
Wr

This course takes an in-depth look at lawmaking in the modern Congress.  Through this systemic approach, we’ll analyze various factors influencing the legislative process including presidents, the public, parties, and pivots.  We’ll also examine explanations for the legislative process and party polarization in Congress. 

GOV 312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

38445 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM FAC 21
GO

Course Description
In this course, we’ll examine congressional elections historically and contemporaneously.  We’ll also analyze them from a political science as well as political junkie perspectives.  The first half of the course will discuss campaigning and the second half of the course will deal with election outcomes and their consequences on policy making.  Each student will be assigned to a team to follow a particular senate election.  

Course Format
Though there will be more than 200 students in the class, it will be a personal challenge of mine to make it feel like 30 students.  As such, I expect all of the students to do all of the readings for all of the classes.

Grading Policy:
•    20%    Attendance and Class Participation.  Throughout the class you will have random attendance quizzes.  There will be no excuses for missing attendance quizzes.
•    20%    Midterm Exam I
•    20%    Midterm Exam II
•    20%    Midterm Exam III
•    20%     Course Project


Textbooks:
The course readings TENTATIVELY consist of the following:
•    Gary Jacobson’s The Politics of Congressional Elections,
•    Sean Theriault’s Party Polarization in Congress
•    A course packet available at Speedway

GOV 381L • Congress

38775 • Fall 2010
Meets W 7:00PM-10:00PM BAT 5.102

Course Description:
Course topics offer an overview of the major literature on Congress and the Presidency.  The readings and topics reflect a mix of scholarly, historical, and practitioner perspectives.  I have three aims in this class:
•    The first is to provide a coherent introduction to the most important Congress literature.
•    The second is to identify questions worthy of original research.
•    The third is to develop student deliberation, writing, and presentation skills.


Course Format
The class will be a seminar.  As such, all students will be expected to come to class prepared to have an in-depth (and interesting!) conversation about the readings.

Grading Policy:
Grades will be determined according to the following formula:
•    30%    Reaction Papers (3-5 pages, topics assigned)
•    10%    Presentation (based on outside readings)
•    30%    Final Paper (topic depends on student objectives)
•    10%    Final Paper Presentation
•    20%    In-class Participation     


Textbooks:
The course readings TENTATIVELY consist of the following:
Mayhew, David R. 1974.  Congress: The Electoral Connection. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Rohde, David W.  1991.  Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House. University of Chicago Press.
Strahan, Randall.  2007.  Leading Representatives: The Agency of Leaders of the U.S. House.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.
Theriault, Sean M.  2008.  Party Polarization in Congress.  New York: Cambridge University Press.

GOV F370L • The United States Congress

84790 • Summer 2010
Meets MTWTHF 8:30AM-10:00AM MEZ B0.306

Course Description: This course takes an in-depth look at lawmaking in the modern Congress. Systematically, we will analyze various factors influencing the legislative process including presidents, the public, parties, and pivots. We will also examine explanations for the legislative process and the current polarization occurring within Congress.

Grading Policy (Tentative)

Class Participation, Pop Quizzes, and Homework: 20%
Semester Project:  20%
Midterm Exam I: 20%
Midterm Exam II: 20%
Midterm Exam III: 20%

Textbooks:

Party Polarization in Congress

Congress and Its Members (12th Edition)

Course Packet

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

39303 • Fall 2009
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM MEZ 1.306

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 379S • Party Polarization In The Us-W

38485 • Spring 2009
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM BUR 228
C2

Please check back for updates.

GOV 310L • American Government

39290 • Fall 2008
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM FAC 21
GO

This course is an introduction to American government and politics.  While the main focus is on the national level, additional attention is paid to the state and local governments of Texas. Topics will include U.S. political history, political institutions, elections, public opinion, rights and freedoms, and public policy issues.

GOV 370L • Congressional Elections

39575 • Fall 2008
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM MEZ B0.306

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

UGS 302 • Politics Of Catholic Church-W

66420 • Fall 2008
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM MAI 220B
C1

The Signature Course (UGS 302 and 303) introduces first-year students to the university’s academic community through the exploration of new interests. The Signature Course is your opportunity to engage in college-level thinking and learning.

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

40175 • Fall 2007
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GSB 2.126

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • The United States Congress-W

40180 • Fall 2007
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.102
C2

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Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

38950 • Spring 2007
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM UTC 3.110

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Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 379S • Party Polarization In The Us-W

39000 • Spring 2007
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.204
C2

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GOV 312L • Iss And Policies In Amer Gov

39595 • Fall 2006
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM UTC 2.112A
GO

Government 312L satisfies the second half of the mandated six hours of government that every UT student must take.  Course covers analysis of varying topics concerned with American political institutions and policies, including the United States Constitution, and assumes basic knowledge of government from GOV 310L, which is a prerequiste. May be taken for credit only once.

GOV 370L • Congressional Elections

39890 • Fall 2006
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM MEZ B0.306

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Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • Research On The Us Congress

38040 • Spring 2006

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Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

38055 • Spring 2006
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM ESB 115

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Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • The United States Congress-W

38065 • Spring 2006
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM ESB 137
C2

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Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 312L • Iss And Policies In Amer Gov

37542 • Fall 2005
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.306
GO

Government 312L satisfies the second half of the mandated six hours of government that every UT student must take.  Course covers analysis of varying topics concerned with American political institutions and policies, including the United States Constitution, and assumes basic knowledge of government from GOV 310L, which is a prerequiste. May be taken for credit only once.

GOV 379S • Party Polarization In The Us-W

37885 • Fall 2005
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 228
C2

Please check back for updates.

GOV 370L • Research On The Us Congress

36520 • Spring 2005

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 312L • Iss And Policies In Amer Gov

37205 • Fall 2004
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.306
GO

Government 312L satisfies the second half of the mandated six hours of government that every UT student must take.  Course covers analysis of varying topics concerned with American political institutions and policies, including the United States Constitution, and assumes basic knowledge of government from GOV 310L, which is a prerequiste. May be taken for credit only once.

GOV 370L • Congressional Elections-W

37457 • Fall 2004
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM MEZ 1.118
C2

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • Research On The Us Congress

35212 • Spring 2004

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

35230 • Spring 2004
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM CMA A2.320

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Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • The United States Congress-W

35235 • Spring 2004
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM WEL 3.260
C2

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Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 310L • American Government

35560 • Fall 2003
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM WEL 2.224
GO

This course is an introduction to American government and politics.  While the main focus is on the national level, additional attention is paid to the state and local governments of Texas. Topics will include U.S. political history, political institutions, elections, public opinion, rights and freedoms, and public policy issues.

GOV 370L • Research On The Us Congress

35907 • Fall 2003

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 312L • Iss And Policies In Amer Gov

34575-34590 • Spring 2003
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:00PM GAR 1
GO

Government 312L satisfies the second half of the mandated six hours of government that every UT student must take.  Course covers analysis of varying topics concerned with American political institutions and policies, including the United States Constitution, and assumes basic knowledge of government from GOV 310L, which is a prerequiste. May be taken for credit only once.

GOV 370L • Congressional Elections

35421 • Fall 2002
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CPE 2.208

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • Congressional Elections-W

35422 • Fall 2002
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM RLM 7.112
C2

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 312L • Iss And Policies In Amer Gov

34530-34545 • Spring 2002
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:00PM GSB 2.124
GO

Government 312L satisfies the second half of the mandated six hours of government that every UT student must take.  Course covers analysis of varying topics concerned with American political institutions and policies, including the United States Constitution, and assumes basic knowledge of government from GOV 310L, which is a prerequiste. May be taken for credit only once.

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

35909 • Fall 2001
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BUR 436A

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

GOV 370L • The United States Congress

35910 • Fall 2001
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CPE 2.208

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of lower-division coursework in government.

 

Publications


Books

Theriault, Sean M., and Mickey Edwards, Congress: The First Branch, Oxford University Press, 2020.

Jones, Bryan D., Sean M. Theriault, and Michelle Whyman, The Great Broadening: How the Vast Expansion of the Policymaking Agenda Transformed American Politics, University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Theriault, Sean M., The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress  New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Theriault, Sean M., Party Polarization in Congress  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Theriault, Sean M., The Power of the People: Congressional Competition, Public Attention, and Voter Retribution. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2005.

 

Articles

Lawless, Jennifer L., Sean M. Theriault, and Samantha Guthrie, "Nice Girls? Sex, Collegiality, and Bipartisan Cooperation in the US Congress," Journal of Politics, October 2018, 80(4):1268-1282.

Lewallen, Jonathan, Sean M. Theriault, and Bryan D. Jones, “Field Hearings and Congressional Oversight,” Wayne Law Review, Spring 2018, 64(1):163-184.

Alduncin, Alex, David C.W. Parker, and Sean M. Theriault.  (2017) Leaving on a Jet Plane: Polarization, Foreign Travel, and Comity in Congress Congress and the Presidency 44(2): 179-200.

Theriault, Sean, and Jonathan Lewallen. (2012) Congressional Parties and the Policy Process in The Parties Respond: Changes in American Parties and Campaigns, Fifth Edition, Mark D. Brewer and L. Sandy Maisel (eds.). Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Seo, Jungkun, and Sean M. Theriault.  (2012)  Moderate Caucuses in a Polarized U.S. Congress Journal of Legislative Studies, 18(2): 203-221.

Huang, Taofang, and Sean M. Theriault.  (2012)  The Strategic Timing Behind Position-Taking in Congress: A Study of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act.  Journal of Legislative Studies, 18(1):41-62.

Theriault, Sean M., and David Rohde.  (2011)  The Gingrich Senators and Party Polarization in the U.S. Senate, Journal of Politics, 73(4): 1011-1024.

Theriault, Sean M.  (2009) Party Polarization in the 111th Congress. APSA's Legislative Studies Section Extension of Remarks (January).

Karch, Andrew, Corrine M. McConnaughy, and Theriault, Sean M. (2007) The Legislative Politics of Congressional Redistricting Commission Proposals. American Politics Research  35 (Nov.): 808-825. 

Lawless, Jennifer L., and Sean M. Theriault. (2006) Women in Congress: From Entry to Exit in Women in Politics: Outsiders or Insiders, Fourth Edition, Louis Duke Whitaker (ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Theriault, Sean M. (2006) Party Polarization in the U.S. Congress: Member Replacement and Member Adaptation. Party Politics 12 (July): 483-503.

Theriault, Sean M. (2006) Party Politics during the Louisiana Purchase. Social Science History 30 (Summer): 293-324.

Lawless, Jennifer L., and Sean M. Theriault. (2005) Will She Stay or Will She Go? Career Ceilings and Women's Retirement from the U.S. Congress. Legislative Studies Quarterly Legislative Studies Quarterly.

Sniderman, Paul M., and Sean M. Theriault. (2004) The Dynamics of Political Argument and The Logic of Issue Framing in Studies in Public Opinion: Attitudes, Nonattitudes, Measurement Error, and Change, Willem E. Saris and Paul M. Sniderman (eds.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Theriault, Sean M. (2004) Public Pressure and Punishment in the Politics of Congressional Pay Raises. American Politics Research 32 (July): 444-464.

Theriault, Sean M. (2003) Patronage, the Pendleton Act, and the Power of the People. Journal of Politics 65 (Feb.): 50-68.

Theriault, Sean M., and Barry Weingast, B. (2002) Agenda Manipulation, Strategic Voting, and Legislative Details in the Compromise of 1850 in Party, Process, and Political Schange in Congress, David Brady and Mathew McCubbins (eds.). Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. 

Brady, David W., and Sean M. Theriault. (2001) A Reassessment of Who's to Blame: A Positive Case for the Public Evaluation of Congress in What is it About Government that Americans Dislike?, John R. Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse (eds.).  New York: Cambridge University Press.

Reprinted in The American Congress Reader, Steven S. Smith, Jason M. Roberts, and Ryan J. Vander Wielen (eds.).  New York: Cambridge University Press.  2008. 7-15.

Theriault, Sean M. (1998) Moving Up or Moving Out: Career Ceilings and Congressional Retirement. Legislative Studies Quarterly 23 (Aug.): 419-433.

Palazzolo, Daniel J., and Sean M. Theriault. (1996) Presidential Announcement Addresses: Campaign Strategies and Voting Behavior. Presidential Studies 26 (Spring): 350-363.

Undergraduate Research


Professor Bryan Jones and I run a year-long undergraduate research program during which the students work on our research projects and then slowly, but definitively by the end, work on their own research.  The year culminates in student poster presentations during Undergraduate Research Week.  

For more about the research program, please click here.

If you would like to participate in the research program, please download the application, complete it, and email it back to me.

 

 

 


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  • Department of Government

    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
    Austin, TX 78712-1704
    512-471-5121