Political Science 2, Section 2759
Room: SOCS 201
Welcome to Comparative Politics. In this course we will analyze political systems of different countries in a comparative context. We will evaluate the dominant theories relating to political development and use a variety of countries as case studies. Themes we will evaluate are democratization, development, industrialization, modernization and globalization.
Class participation is required as part of your grade. You cannot participate if you are
not in class, so make sure you attend class.
Tardies are noted and are reflected in your grade through classroom demeanor. It is rude to your fellow students and me. Additionally, I tend to make announcements at the beginning of class, which will not be repeated. If you are late to class it is your responsibility to inform me that you were late at the end of class. If you do not inform me of your tardiness that day you will be counted as absent. Make sure your cell phone is turned off during class. Other things you should not do: talking in class, sleeping, wearing sunglasses, disturbing other students with your noise, leaving trash in the classroom, texting other students.
All papers turned in must be typed.
If one of the tests is missed, you must contact the me to make up the exam.. Only one makeup exam is permitted. If you miss the date of the makeup exam, another opportunity to make up the exam will not be given. Late papers will be reduced by 10%. There are no exceptions.
Various extra credit assignments will be given throughout the session. You can make
suggestions of independent extra credit projects.
It is helpful if you keep track of your points so you will know how you are doing in the
Do not presume that you can pass the class without turning in all of the required
work because most often you can not. It is better to turn something in late and lose
points than to never turn in a paper and lose all points. For example, students
sometimes choose not to turn in a paper worth 20% of their grade. This means that if
you received a perfect score on every assignment the best you could receive is an 80%
in the class. Don’t make this mistake.
If you intend to drop the class, it is your responsibility to drop yourself. I will not drop you. If you do not drop yourself you will receive an “F” grade. The last day to drop with a “W” is Friday, November 17, 2017.
Please do not wait to come to me if you are having problems in the class. It is very difficult to solve problems if you wait until the last minute. The last two weeks of class are not the time to come to me to ask how you can pass the class.
My hope for every student is that you are able to pass the class with the grade you desire. I will do everything possible to help you pass but ultimately the responsibility is on you.
Changes to the syllabus will be announced in class.
Fundamental to successfully meeting the goals and objectives for this course, it is strongly suggested that students will:
- Attend class regularly and be on time.
- Stay focused and attentive during class discussions.
- Buy the books early.
- Do the readings as assigned.
- Raise questions during class discussions or office hours
- Take advantage of the learning resources available on campus, including the Learning Resource Center, your Counselor as a resource, tutoring programs if needed and available, and other services and/or mini-classes designed to sharpen your “survival skills,” such as note taking, outlining chapter readings, and dealing with test-taking anxieties.
- Supplement note taking with audio recording of class discussions.
- Strengthen retention of concepts read and discussed by using flash cards.
- Use the review sheets to prepare for the exams.
- Form study groups to learn from one another.
- Read and review.
- Read and review.
- Read and review.
Upon completing this course, students will hopefully be able to describe the basic concepts, theories and functions of various political systems. Additionally students will be familiar with the dominant theories relating to political development and use a variety of countries as case studies. Hopefully the following objectives will be meet:
1. Identify and assess the basic theory of comparative political analysis and the commonly applied methodology.
2. Identify and evaluate the structures and functions common to all political systems.
3. Analyze the geopolitical, cultural, and historical antecedents of nation-states for comparative analysis.
4. Evaluate cultural-political systems in developing non-democratic nation-states.
5. Assess procedures used in democratic political systems in the determination of policy and legislation.
6. Evaluate and examine the major institutions that contribute to the political process.
7. Describe and analyze the European Union as a model of regional integration.
8. Identify and evaluate current government systems.
9. Assess the ways in which political parties, interest groups, and public opinion effect the political process.
Student Learning Outcome:
1. In a written essay, the students will discuss and critically analyze both differences and similarities found among different political systems as they pertain to the functions that their institutions perform.
2. In a written essay, the students will demonstrate knowledge and analyze the differences between presidential and parliamentary systems and the impact they have on the policymaking process.
3. In a written essay, the students will demonstrate knowledge of and analyze the various concepts of democracy and how these differences impact the system of government.
Week 1 Overview of Course
Week 2 Introduction to Comparative Politics, Essentials Chp 1
United States, Cases Chp 3
Week 3 Britain, Cases Chp 2
Essentials Chp 2
Week 4 Britain
Essentials Chp 3
Week 5 France, Chp 4
Essentials Chp 4
Week 6 France
Essentials Chp 5
Week 7 France
Essentials Chp 6
Week 8 Germany, Chp 5
Week 9 Midterm
Week 10 Germany
Essentials Chp 7
Week 11 Germany
Essentials Chp 8
Week 12 China, Chp 8
Week 13 Group Presentations
Week 14 Group Presentations
Essentials Chp 11
Week 15 China
Week 16 Final
Grades: 10% Quizzes (40 points)
10% Article analysis (40 points)
20% Group Presentation/Paper (80 points)
25% Midterm (100 points)
25% Final (100 points)
5% Class Participation (20 points)
5% Classroom Demeanor (20 points)
100% 400 Total points
O'Neil, Patrick H., Essentials of Comparative Politics, 5th Ed., WW Norton, 2015.
O'Neil, Patrick H., Fields, Karl, Share, Don, Cases in Comparative Politics, 5th Ed., WW Norton, 2015.
Notes on China
Notes on Germany
Group Presentation Assignment
What Democracy Is and Is Not Article, Schmitter and Karl
Critical Analysis Assignment
In a two-three page double spaced paper, read and critically analyze “Why Democracies Excel” based on our class discussions covered throughout the semester. Be sure to support your arguments. This assignment will be worth 40 points and will be due on Wednesday, December 7th. As part of your analysis, please consider the five policies advocated by the authors. I am grading you on your analysis so be thoughtful and concise.
Please watch this video on China and write a 1 page summary/analysis