Playing Politics: Games and Strategies in the Real World

Course Instructor: James Sloat

"Both luck and skill enable you to overcome difficulties. Nevertheless, he who relies least on luck has the best prospect of success." Machiavelli, The Prince

Life is full of decisions, dilemmas, and opportunities. By thinking strategically, we can increase our chances for success in a complex world. In this seminar, students will learn and practice strategic thinking. Drawing on the wisdom of Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, and others, we will learn and apply the techniques of game theory in order to be able to understand (and manage) complex situations. Students will then apply these ideas to "real world" situations in college such as which movie to watch, which topping to place on a pizza, or which romantic interest to pursue. Games such as Jeopardy, basketball, and card games will help us explore and develop strategic thinking. Simulations will provide the opportunity to recreate and analyze larger strategic settings (Congress, world politics) through simulations. By both thinking and doing, students will learn that the art of politics is both practical and fun.