Label each entry as you do them whether it’s the title or numbers.
Take a look at the requirements and example below and what’s attached.
Three learning journal entries per week (described below). At least one journal entry per week must address our semester reading, Our Own Worst Enemy, and other readings related to our special focus this semester: threats to US democracy and ways those threats can be mitigated.
Read the prompt details below and reach out if any questions. You aren’t graded on your political views. You are graded on whether you support your views with credible sources and evidence. Credible sources do not include opinionated commentators like Tucker Carlson or Michael Moore. They can be fun to listen to but are not college assignment sources. So too social media memes and conspiracy theories. I’m not joking. People have cited them. Provide evidence and citations to back up your claims to help others fairly evaluate your arguments. Anyone should be able to go to the materials you relied on upon and see for themselves to confirm, disconfirm or challenge your reading of that material. Then, and only then, can a free and open, and INFORMED discussion take place. No one is limiting your right to free speech by asking you to back up your claims, for additional evidence, or questioning the credibility of your sources.
Avoid logical fallacies
You’ll also find common logical fallacies (aka BS arguments) defined on the second part of this page. Once again, use it as a checklist and make sure you are making the best possible case for your point of view in your journals.
Questions to address for each idea in a learning journal
Once you have your three ideas (plus one optional extra credit idea) for the week answer the following four questions for each idea:
1) What was the one idea that struck you and why?
2) How does it connect to what you are learning about in class?
What does this mean? Step 1: As you read each section introduction and each page keep notes on the main idea- something that can be written in a sentence or a short phrase. Step 2: What is the main idea of both the module and the section on your topic page is located in? Step 3: What is the main idea you are writing or about or addressing in your journal entry? Step 4: Go back to your notes. What are the other main ideas from this section or module? Step 5: What main idea is your topic an example of? How does it compare to the other main idea(s)? How is it the same? How is it different? Your answer to Step 5 is your answer to question 2 on how your journal entry connects to what you learning in class.
3) How did it expand your understanding?
4) What would you like to learn more about?
Here are the journal entries
#1: Social Sorting A Deeper Dive (see attachment below)
#2: Dive Why Can’t We Get Along?
Jonathan Haidt: How common threats can make common (political) ground – YouTube
#3: One Explanation for How Liberals and Conservatives See the World
Jonathan Haidt: The moral roots of liberals and conservatives – YouTubeSocial Sorting: A Deeper Dive
This is excerpted from the introduction to the edited anthology: Democratic Resilience: Can the United States Withstand Rising Polarization? (Cambridge Press, 2022). The introduction provides a helpful introduction to the broad themes of threats to democracy and democratic resilience without the deep dive into the weeds of the individual chapters. I will provide definitions and introductory remarks as needed to help understandings for those new to political science. The introduction is titled
How Democracies Endure: The Challenges of Polarization and Sources of Resilience. It is by Robert C. Lieberman (Johns Hopkins University), Suzanne Mettler (Cornell University) and Kenneth M. Roberts (Cornell University). This section is fairly straightforward and the authors carefully define their terms. If you have any questions or have any trouble understanding a part of it please reach out. I am here to help.
This section takes a deeper dive into social identity politics, polarization and support for anti-democratic approaches and the rise of white identity politics. Identity isn’t just about policy, but also about core values that make up a sense of self, making compromise more difficult. People see the issues, and their parties, as “protecting their way of life” from those that would destroy it. “These developments, in turn, may put the polity at risk by leading to greater emotional hostility, moral disengagement, the possibility of violence, and the rejection of election results that threaten one’s own party.” The section also explores how gun ownership has become linked to larger value sets, identity and a way of life.
Social Polarization and Partisanship
As polarization has grown, many ordinary Americans themselves have been drawn into it. Four chapters explore how social polarization and partisan affiliation have come to be mutually reinforcing and what this trend means for democratic resilience. Lilliana Mason and Nathan Kalmoe introduce the concept of “social sorting,” showing how social identities have increasingly aligned with political identities. The mid-twentieth-century political parties that featured overlapping social identities have become transformed into a Republican Party made up primarily of white Americans, including those who strongly identify as evangelical Christians and those who are particularly concerned with maintaining their privileged status, while the Democratic Party has grown increasingly diverse in its composition and simultaneously more affirming of inclusive policies. Drawing on psychological theories, Mason and Kalmoe illuminate how such social sorting can lead to intergroup conflict and political intolerance. These developments, in turn, may put the polity at risk by leading to greater emotional hostility, moral disengagement, the possibility of violence, and the rejection of election results that threaten one’s own party. Mason aThose 3 journal entries are a minimum of 250 words for each idea
reflection per idea reflection. You can go longer on text or video if needed.
If you are doing text it would run about 2000 words for the three weeks of
reflections and about 2750 words in the final journal which will cover four
The format is your choice depending on your comfort level with technology
and what you feel best fits your topic and creative inspiration. It could be a
written Word doc. It could be a video. You could include your own creative
work such as photographs, memes, graphics, artwork, poems, songs,
graphs, diagrams, and tables. You can also use PowerPoint (link from
Google Drive in your assignment post), Prezi, or an audio file. Include links
to what is being discussed in your reflections when its from something
other than our course. If you are using video and it is a file smaller than 500
mb you can upload it directly to Canvas.
This can be a painless and enjoyable learning process if you do it regularly.
If an idea grabs you as you are reading the Canvas site or the Our Own
Worst Enemy book, do a short write-up. If you wait until a day before it’s
due, or worse, the day of, it will be unpleasant.
Credible sources are a must
As you analyze the different ideas, your evaluation of the pluses and
minuses of each idea is up to you. You will not be graded or judged
on your beliefs and values. This course is about reflecting on critical
political questions and issues and learning how to think, not what to
think. You are required to include citations and supporting evidence
for all your views. See the next page for definitions of credible
sources. Use it as a checklist. If it meets all the criteria use the
source. If it doesn’t meet all criteria don’t use it. You are responsible
for vetting your sources before using them in this course!
How to Get a Better Grade on an
To improve your grade on assignments use the following list of things to do
and things to avoid. Use it as a checklist as you edit your assignment. The
more checks the better your grade will be.
Above all remember as you analyze different perspectives, your
evaluation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of any political
position is up to you. You will not be graded or judged on your beliefs
and values. This course is about teaching you HOW to think, not
WHAT to think. I do not care if you are Republican, Democrat, Right or
Left or none of the above. What is important is to make the best
possible argument you can for your position. The tips on this page
will help you do just that. It begins with the six most common
mistakes that I’ve seen in assignments.
A) The Big Six:
1: Thoroughly read through the assignment prompt
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