Kastor has taught numerous courses on the presidency, ranging from freshman programs to senior seminars. He is currently teaching a lecture course titled “Americans and their Presidents.” These courses all seek to situate the presidency in broad context, both historical and cultural. Examining the institution from George Washington through Barack Obama, Kastor’s courses explain not only how the presidency operates, but also how Americans situate the presidency within national life.
“My goal is to think beyond the voting behavior, campaign strategies and policymaking objectives that are of greatest interest to politicians, pundits and political scientists alike,” says Kastor, who is also a professor of American culture studies and director of undergraduate studies in history.
“Instead, I want to explore how Americans understand the presidency and how the institution of president and vice president define the way we understand ourselves. That process means not only thinking about average voters, but also the ways those assumptions inform how those politicians, pundits and political scientists approach the challenge of analyzing the presidency.”
In addition to his teaching interests, Kastor’s scholarly research examines the creation and growth of American political institutions during the early American republic, with a particular focus on how the practicalities of governance shaped the ways Americans understand politics, citizenship and culture.
His current research combines work on a narrative history of federal governance with a major digital archive, which provide an unprecedented perspective on the federal government in its earliest decades.
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