Associate Professor of Political Science
Ben Gaskins is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Lewis & Clark College. He teaches courses in American and Comparative Politics, including classes on religion and politics, public opinion, political parties and interest groups, and the presidency. His research seeks to better understand the role of religion in structuring political attitudes, knowledge, and behavior.
Monday - Friday 10-11am and by appointment
Introduction to the central questions in comparative politics. Fundamental differences in the organization of states, democratic political institutions (presidentialism versus parliamentarism, for example), and domestic social forces (for example, social capital, ethnic versus non-ethnic identities). The impact of political organization on economic performance and social peace. Propositional and predicate calculus, deductive techniques, and translation into symbolic notation.
POLS 351: Presidential Politics
The U.S. Supreme Court and judicial review from 1787 to the present. The court’s landmark constitutional decisions, as well as the theory and techniques of constitutional interpretation. The court’s authority within the wider political and social context of American government, with emphasis on the court’s jurisprudence in the areas of equal protection (including segregation and desegregation, affirmative action, gender discrimination, and sexual orientation discrimination) and due process (including privacy and abortion rights). Discussions of actual Supreme Court rulings, majority opinions, and dissenting arguments, as well as the political and historical context of those decisions in an effort to understand how and why the Supreme Court has played such an influential role in American politics and political thought.
Prerequisites: POLS 103 recommended
Gaskins, Ben, Jason Barabas, and Jennifer Jerit. 2020. “Qualitative Quotes: The Prevalence and Effects of Survey Respondent Exemplars in Political News Coverage.” The International Journal of Press/Politics 25(1): 96–114.
Gaskins, Ben, Todd Lochner, Ellen Seljan, Katie Kowal, Zane Dundon, & Maya Gold. 2019. “From the FEC to the Ballot Box: Voter Accountability for Campaign Finance Law Violations.” American Politics Research 47(5): 1000–1035.
Beard, T. Randolph, Robert B. Ekelund Jr., George S. Ford, Ben Gaskins, & Robert D. Tollison. 2013. “Secularism, Religion, and Political Choice in the United States.” Politics & Religion 6(4): 753 – 777.
BA in Political Science and Music, Furman University (2006)
M.S. in Political Science, Florida State University (2008)
PhD in Political Science, Florida State University (2011)