Critical examination of the historical and contemporary struggle for the development of democratic political institutions in the United States at the state, local, and national levels. Particular emphasis given to the conflict between traditional elite’s versus historically disenfranchised social groups (women, people of color, and workers) in the conduct of U.S. political life.
Instructor Information: Nicholas Yuen
I have taught contemporary social justice politics and political theory in the Political Science
Department at De Anza College in Cupertino, California since 1989.
I graduated summa cum laude in political science from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota,
completed a J.D. at Berkeley Law, University of California Berkeley, and a Ph.D. at the Jurisprudence
and Social Policy Program, Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley.
My approach to the study of politics, combines both scholarship and a practical understanding of
political life gained from years of organizing and being active in environmental and social justice
You should know that while I teach an online class, this class is also a hands-on and participatory
version of POLI 1. If you are looking for a class where you only read material and take tests
anonymously, you should opt to take someone elseâ€™s class. I require a lot of public interaction both
on-line and ALSO in your community. You will be able to flexibly schedule almost all of this work into
your own schedule but public and hands-on learning and engagement will be a core part of your
I'm a real believer in not separating the words we speak from the lives we live. So, in addition to
being a full-time community college instructor, I coordinate De Anza's Campus Camp Wellstone
student activist training program, serve on the Executive Committee of the labor union representing
faculty members at Foothill-De Anza (the FHDA Faculty Association), direct two separate student
internship programs for Foothill and DeAnza College students and am active in the Political Action
Committee for our labor union.
Outside of De Anza, I am a consultant and trainer, carrying out workshops and seminars on
leadership development, political organizing, educational reform and cultural diversity. I serve on the
State Central Committee of the California State Democratic Party, am active in local politics in the
East Bay and in South Bay with a special focus on organizing to raise the minimum wage, am on the
statewide membership committee of the Faculty Association of the California Community Colleges,
and am also a local elected official in my third 4 year term on the Peralta Community College Board of
Trustees in the East Bay. For more information, go to www.NickyGY.org.
All of this work informs who I am as a classroom instructor and helps provide many opportunities for
Words to think on:
" If a teacher does not involve himself, his values, his commitments, in the course of discussion,
why should the students?"-- Sen. Paul D. Wellstone (1944-2002)
It is the people of our country who make it great, and unless we take care of the people first, we'll
never be successful in maintaining our greatness. Taking care of the people means providing
healthcare for everyone. It means keeping the environment clean, safe and preserved. It means great
schools and great jobs. It means improving the lives of families, rather than lining the pockets of big
business, or big politicians. It means taking care of each other here, and around the world. We're all
in this together.-- Carol S., Amherst, MA
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history
is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, and kindness. What we
choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it
destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places- and there are so
many- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the
possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however
small way, we donâ€™t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of
presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around
us, is itself a marvelous victory. --Howard Zinn
Office Location: F-21-L
Office Hours: Mondays: 3:00-5:00 PM; Wednesdays: 1:30-2:30 PM, 5:30-6:00 PM; 10:30-11:00 PM (after class in ADMN 101); or by appointment
Welcome! This is an introductory class on the U.S. political system. You'll learn not just about how the system works, but how you can think critically and act effectively as a citizen participant in this process. It's an important and exciting time in the world. There are big issues at stake, perhaps bigger than at any other time in the history of the human species. The speed and effects of technological change combined with reach of the global economy present us with important opportunities and grave dangers. We hope through this class you will be inspired to action and that you'll learn how to make this action effective.
TWO Class Websites: For this class you will not only be using De Anzaâ€™s â€śCatalystâ€ť course management website, but also my own class â€śwww.nypolisci.orgâ€ť website where I host pages for all of my classes. You will gain access to the Catalyst website once the summer term begins. In the meanwhile, you have access to almost all of the class logistical details at my www.nypolisci.org website.
The URL for my summer 2014 POLI 1 class is:
When visiting my nypolisci.org website be sure you are always on the SUMMER web page. The syllabus for the summer class has several different pages you should read and be familiar with. You will have a syllabus quiz due by the first Wednesday of the summer term (July 2) which you will take on Catalyst.
Please read the class syllabus for details about specific learning goals and how the course operates. Specifically, make sure you read:
o Overview and Learning Goals
o Required Reading
o Grading & Assignments
o Turning In Work
o Hands-on Learning
o Extra Credit
Then also review the class calendar. Keep in mind there are only 6 weeks in the accelerated summer term, but that the calendar on nypolisci.org has 12 units. This is because you will complete two units each week.
ORIENTATION: I will also hold a face-to-face in person 2-hour introductory orientation at De Anza on Monday June 30 from 6:30-9:30 in the new MLC building, Room 105. While this is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. I am also offering 25 bonus participation points for your attendance. It will be a great opportunity to meet your fellow Poli 1 students, get a head start on points, and discuss what is expected of you during this summer Poli 1 class.
I hope you will enjoy the class. Please be in touch with me with any questions or concerns you have.
I can be reached at YuenNicky@fhda.edu.
Nicky GonzĂˇlez Yuen, Ph.D, JDâ€¨
Instructor, Political Science Dept.â€¨
De Anza College
Policy on Copying and Cheating:Students who submit the work of others as their own or cheat on exams or other assignments will receive a failing grade in the course and will be reported to college authorities.
This course utilizes Catalyst, De Anza's Online Learning Community. Please view the Catalyst website at https://catalyst.deanza.edu/
to login. Please note that you will be unable
to login until the first day of class
. Be sure you are using your correct username and password - do not use your social security number or international "99" number. If you need help logging in or finding your
student ID, please view the short instructional video at: https://catalyst.deanza.edu/?pg=mod1
. Additional instructions and assistance can be found on the Catalyst website
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