Political Science 1201
Wednesday 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Office: 425 Gladfelter
Office hours: Mondays 10am – 12pm, and by appointment
Themes of the Course
This course will explore what we gain by studying the world through a comparative politics lens. We will focus on several overarching questions: What is comparative politics? What are we actually comparing? What is the state and how do we measure its strength? How do democratic regimes differ from authoritarian regimes? Are there particular regions more susceptible to authoritarian regimes? What role does economic development play? We will spend the first few weeks trying to define what comparative politics entail, and how it relates to the studying global politics. We will then move on to analyzing different types of political rule. Spending particular attention on how difference in regime type influence domestic and international politics in terms of economic development and political violence. The class will conclude by looking at what the impacts of increased globalization will be on global politics and the study of comparative politics.
Weekly Blackboard Question10%
Entrance Essay5%Due Jan. 27
Country Reports Proposal5%Due Feb. 20
Short Essay20%Due March 6
Annotated Bibliography5%Due April 3
Group Presentation and Final Report20%Due April 24
Final Exam20%Due May 15
Readings for this course will be comprised of excerpts and chapters from a wide array of sources. Some of these readings will be posted on Blackboard, however there is one book that your are required to obtain (either purchase or borrow):
* Essentials of Comparative Politics (4th Edition) by Patrick H. O’Neil
Each week there will be, several different pieces that you are expected to have read prior to attending class. Do not expect to do well in this class without reading all of the required reading. The reading load for this class is substantial. However, there is reading and then there is reading. Pay particular attention to the chapters from the textbook, these will serve as the basis for class lectures. The academic journal articles and book chapters are also important and will be the focus of class discussions, but focus more on ascertaining general themes and arguments, less on knowing everything presented in these pieces. The readings and their corresponding dates are subject to change if unforeseen circumstances arise.
You are expected to attend class. Repeatedly being late to or absent from class will dramatically lower your final grade. If you know you will be unable to attend class, due to a legitimate excuse, please let me know ahead of time. Excused absences will only be given before the start of class, in the event of sickness, personal crisis (this does not mean “Oh, sorry I overslept, and then my cat got loose, and then I got a flat tire” or “My cousin is in the hospital for a cracked rib” – both excuses I have actually heard from students), and any other authorized University commitment.
And while in class, you are expected to contribute to class discussions. Participation can take many forms. In essence, I want you to demonstrate how you are becoming engaged with the material. If you have questions, ask. If you do not understand a concept or a reading, let me know. If you do not agree with something another student said, start a conversation. Topics discussed in this course will be controversial, and it is okay to have a different opinion then other students, but it is vital that you treat each other in a respectful manner. All arguments and comments must be presented in a way that is classroom appropriate. Failure to act in a collegial spirit will result in a lowered...