Psc 2301

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Comparative Political Systems – PSC 2301 (02 & 03)
M-W-F: 10-10:50am - Building 10, Room 007
Spring 2013 – Al Akhawayn University

Professor: Dr Angelos Sepos
Office: Building 8/102
Email: A.Sepos@aui.ma
Office Hours: M-W 1-4:30pm; T-R 1-2pm.

Course Objectives

The module aims to provide solid introduction to the key concepts, theories and questions relevant to the comparative study of politics. It includes an analysis of the origins, development and characteristics of the state, with particular emphasis on the democratic state; an overview of selected contemporary political structures, institutions and ideologies; the study of the role of the ‘actors’ of politics, including individuals, pressure groups, social movements and political parties. A special emphasis is given to Morocco and the ‘Arab Spring’ region in order to allow the students to bring a critical view of their political environment and eventually actively participate in it.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, successful students will be able to:

* Understand key concepts and major theoretical debates in politics as well as their application in different political contexts and situations. * Compare and contrast different political systems and ideologies in the world. * Critically assess the key issues and debates as they relate to contemporary Moroccan and North African politics and society. * Pursue independent research and demonstrate enhancement of oral and written critical and analytical skills.

Textbook and course materials

The textbook for the course is Kenneth Newton and Jan W. Van Deth, Foundations of Comparative Politics, second edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). The book is available at the University Bookstore (in some numbers) and a few copies are also placed on reserve (under the course’s code) in the library. You can also purchase the relevant chapters (as a course pack and in sections) from the Copy Centre. Additional materials for readings will also be assigned (uploaded through Jenzebar) and announced by the instructor.

It is also strongly encouraged that students follow current international events which are relevant to this class. Some recommended sources are as follows: BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera (English version), The Washington Post, The Independent, The Economist, European Voice (Europeanvoice.com) and EU Observer (EUobs.com). Government web sites such as that of the EU (europa.eu), the UN (un.org), OECD (oecd.org) and the World Bank (worldbank.org) are also useful. Various international academic journals may also be useful tools, particularly for your research paper: American Political Science Review, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Integration, Journal of European Public Policy, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of European Social Policy, West European Politics, European Union Politics, Journal of Balkans and Near Eastern Studies, Comparative European Politics, South European Society and Politics, Third World Quarterly, Arab Studies Quarterly, Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Quarterly, The Journal of Modern African Studies, African Studies Quarterly, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Mediterranean Politics, Comparative Political Studies, European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, European Journal of International Relations, International Affairs, Foreign Affairs, International Organization, Public Administration, Publius: Journal of Federalism, Regional and Federal Studies. Some useful research databases are those of EBSCO and JSTOR. Watching political programmes (e.g. Hardtalk on BBC, Empire on Al Jazeera) and documentaries is also helpful. The list is of course not exhaustive.

Course requirements

Students are required to read the relevant assigned readings as indicated by the instructor and to actively participate in class...
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