The Politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Course Description

We will cover several themes of political science that are present in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including: the way formal institutions, like the real-word United Nations or the imaginary S.H.E.I.L.D. function; America’s role in the global (and, perhaps, intergalactic) order; how technology impacts citizens' daily lives; the way the government tries to assert control over the super-powered bodies of the series’ main characters; and theories of political representation, including descriptive representation, symbolic representation, and substantive representation.

This course will include popular media as well as foundational political science texts. Readings will incorporate theorists that you are likely to encounter in future political science courses on topics such as international relations or gender and politics.

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to work closely with the instructor to construct a research question and then complete your own independent research project on the topic of your choice. The culmination of the course will be a presentation of your research findings.

At the conclusion of this course, you will be able to:
• Recognize the dual sources of influence of media in political life—politics influences the media that we consume, and the media we consume influences our own political lives
• Evaluate political arguments for their truthfulness as well as for how well they align with one’s own political values
• Formulate a research question and design a research strategy to answer it
• Understand how to identify sources of power both within formal government structures and outside of them
• Gain a better understanding of how political structures impact your daily lives and understand the possibilities and limits of government power
• Evaluate how ideas about politics and power are presented in the media
• Learn to navigate the assignments and interactions critical to success in college, while talking about a subject that you love!


This course is open to all grade levels and does not assume previous knowledge about politics or superheroes.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 08, 2022
Duration: 2 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 3:30P-6:20P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Marie Schenk
Course Number: 10184