A Territorial State: Geographic Expansion, the US Territories, and an “Introduction to American Politics”
by Bartholomew Sparrow, The University of Texas at Austin
The 87th annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, held in January 2016 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was the first ever convened outside the states. The irony, though, is that the United States’ territories are virtually invisible the discipline of political science. This is especially true in the classroom. In the April 2017 symposium, “‘Disembodied Shades’: Teaching the Territories of the United States,” eight scholars from various fields explain why the study of the territories evokes issues central to their subdisciplines, say why the territories merit more rigorous investigation by students of American politics and government, and describe how the U.S. territories might be routinely included in course syllabi and political science curricula. Such courses includes introductory classes on American politics and the U.S. government as well as courses on Congress, American Political Development, U.S. Foreign Policy, the U.S. Political Economy, Citizenship, and Constitutional Law. The contributing authors explain why a study of the U.S. territories, both past and present, is indispensable to learning and thinking about the U.S. political system.