American Authoritarianism

There are three articles you must review – McKay and Thorstein Veblen.  “The Rise of American Authoritarianism” Taub. DAVID FRUM

The Atlantic MARCH 2017 ISSUEIn a number of the articles picked for these reviews, I don’t want you to focus on the author per se, but rather the other authors/thinkers that the articles cite or are about.  Example, the author of the Veblen article, Ann Jones can be a little obnoxious but at same time provides us a very accessible intro to Thorstein Veblin and Kenneth Galbraith with application to current events.  IMO it is quite important to learn from these past political theorists and see if what they said in their time can help us understand ours.  So focus your response on Veblin (or Gilens and Page, or Arendt, etc.) more than the author except when the author makes their own claims in applying these previous theories. The purpose of assigning the article is to learn about VEBLEN, not Jones.

A literature review is part of an academic paper where prior to presenting your new data/theories/positions on a topic you review the previous literature on the subject to essentially give the “state of the subject,” thereby setting the stage for your own contributions building off what went before.  You don’t have to “reinvent the wheel,” but you do need to establish what the current wheel looks like. So, imagine you are doing a paper on the topic the articles assigned are about and are filling your reader in on what is “out there” in the literature prior to you providing your new policy or analysis or findings on that subject.

You may have one or more articles.  Adjust your organization to that number.  I want ONE unified review.  Do not write a separate response for a 2nd article.  You may have the option to read additional articles for extra consideration, but you then must write MORE.  IE, still a detailed evaluation of each article, NOT a superficial response to more articles.

What you write must be about the reading(s).  I do NOT want an essay on the topic that the article is about. I want a response to/evaluation of the reading(s). (I don’t want an essay of your opinion with just an occasional reference to the article(s) if they support your point. I want a review of the article(s) and how they prove THEIR point, tied together with a theme.)


Find unifying theme for the articles.  What is that “Big Paper” about? Set up the article(s) – What is the topic? Why is it relevant? Why is it important?  Why are we reading THESE articles?

In the BODY paragraphs:

Identify and Summarize the reading: Title, author, premise/thesis.  What is the thesis?

Choose a key or essential argument, statistic, etc. from the reading and explain it. What are the most important ideas,  theories, or data sets? Are there references to other theories/studies that are important (Dunning-Kruger effect, Hofstader, Gilens and Page…)?

Evaluate the argument.  Strengths? Weaknesses? What would you add? What did author fail to see?    Focus on the big picture,  not minutiae.

Repeat b and c for same article and then subsequent articles repeat a,b,c.  The more depth the better.


Evaluate the sum of the arguments.  What is the impact/importance of this data?  Does it MATTER (what are  the implications if true)?  Why/Why not? How does it contribute (or not) to our understanding of the main subject? Connect back to your specific questions and ideas in the intro.  Restate them.  Then “close the circle” and provide answers or insights based on the readings.

Try to apply ideas and theories presented in the Textbook!

Should have paragraph developmental sequence.  Typically should be 7 paragraphs as pretty much a minimum. DOUBLE SPACE.  12 point font.