Welcome to the world of comparative politics. This course is designed to
introduce and examine political systems outside of the United
States. Since it is impossible to study all
170+ nation-states in the world, we will focus on several countries that serve
as examples of different styles of politics conducted in various settings. Great
and Japan are
selected to illustrate their historical developments, key political
institutions, and political culture.
The Learning Environment.
Each student’s active involvement in, commitment to, and responsibility
for their education are clearly required. It is important that students
conduct themselves in ways that indicate respect for the learning
community and the learning process. Respect for the learning community
precludes such behavior as persistent tardiness, leaving the room during
class time, falling asleep, reading the newspaper, and studying for
another class. NIU policies regarding classroom conduct are discussed in
the 2002-03 Undergraduate Catalog, pp. 48 and 301.
Please purchase a copy of the textbook for this course: Michael G. Roskin. Countries and Concepts: Politics,
Geography, Culture, 8th edition (Prentice Hall, 2004) at
the NIU Bookstore or Village Commons Bookstore. Some short readings may
also be handed out in class or placed on reserve at Founders Memorial
Library’s Reserve desk.
will parallel and complement, not just merely repeating the material in
the textbook. You are responsible for the material covered in the readings
as well as in the lectures. You are expected to complete all the reading
assignments for each date before coming to class.
Adjustments in Course
Schedule: While I will try to follow the course schedule outlined
accordingly, reasonable adjustments may be made if unforeseeable or
uncontrollable circumstances so warrant.
incompletes will be given for reasons other than a medical or personal
emergency and then only after presentation of verifiable documentation.
Academic hardship does not qualify as an acceptable excuse.
Course Requirements and Grading
Exams: A mid-term
exam, scheduled for October 10, will be comprised of objective
questions (i.e. multiple choice and perhaps some true/false) and an essay.
The final exam, scheduled for December 8, will follow the same
format and will cover only the second half of the semester. MAKEUP
EXAMS WILL NOT BE GIVEN, except at the discretion of the instructor in
case of emergencies. In such cases, the instructor must be notified prior
to the exam date.
Journals: Beginning at
the second week of class, each student is required to turn in 2 to 3-page
essays (double spaced / font 12) dealing with political issues in foreign
countries other than the United States. First half of the paper should
provide summary and description of the event concerned and the second half
of the paper should analyze the selected event based on your personal
These short essays are due on Friday at the end of
class every two weeks. (See journal deadline below) You may turn in up to 7
journals and the 5 best will be counted toward your final grade. Late journals
will not be accepted.
Some excellent sources of international news
include the hard copy and online versions of the New York Times, the Washington
Post, the Christian Science Monitor and the BBC World News.
Journal due dates:
Journal 1 – September 5 Journal 5 – October 31
Journal 2 – September 19 Journal 6 – November 14
Journal 3 – October 3 Journal 7 – December 5
Journal 4 – October 17
Quizzes: There will be
8 unannounced quizzes given in class throughout the semester. These
quizzes will deal with the reading assigned for that particular day and
the 5 best will be counted toward your final grade.
Participation: - Please note that attendance accounts for half of your
participation grades. Attendance will be taken at every class. After the
first week of class, all students will sit in permanently assigned seats
to facilitate the checking of attendance.
- If you have 2 or fewer recorded absences, 2
points will be added to your course average. If you have 3 or 4
recorded absences, 1 point
will be added to your course average. (This is the only extra credit
Keep in mind that frequent
tardiness will adversely affect your grade.
- Please do not leave class early without prior permission, as this is very
distracting. I will count any
"walkouts" as absences unless the student
has permission or there is an emergency.
- The participation portion of your final grade is designed to reward those
students who come to class prepared. Satisfactory class participation requires
that students are present and attentive as well as contributing to class
discussion in a manner that reflects they have read the required materials.
Topics and Readings
August 25 Introduction to Course
August 27 – September 3 The
Concept of Country and Looking for Quarrels
(No Classes on 8/29 and 9/1) Readings:
Roskin Chapter 1
September 5 Comparing Polities: Democratization
Chapter 1 continued
September 8-12 Impact of the Past and Political
Roskin, Chapter 2
Roskin, Chapter 4
September 15-19 Government Institutions and
Election and Parties
Roskin, Chapter 3
Roskin, Chapter 5
September 22 Quarrels
Roskin, Chapter 6
September 24-29 Impact of the Past and Political
Roskin, Chapter 12
Roskin, Chapter 14
October 1-6 Government Institutions and Elections
Roskin, Chapter 13
Roskin, Chapter 15
October 8 Quarrels
Roskin, Chapter 16
October 10 Midterm
October 13-17 Impact of the Past and Political
Roskin, Chapter 17
Roskin, Chapter 19
October 20-24 Government Institutions and Elections
Roskin, Chapter 18
Roskin, Chapter 20
October 27 Quarrels
Roskin, Chapter 21
October 29-November 3 Impact of the Past and
Roskin, pg. 416-422
Roskin, pg. 430-433
November 5-10 Governmental Institutions Readings:
Roskin, pg. 424-428
Roskin, pg. 436-439
November 12 Quarrels
Roskin, pg. 440-447
November 14-19 Impact of the Past and Political
Roskin, Chapter 22
Roskin, Chapter 24
November 21- 24 Government Institutions and
Elections and Parties
Students are expected to know and comply with NIU policies on academic
integrity. Any student found guilty of cheating will receive and
"F" for the course. He or she may also be subjected to
additional sanctions imposed by the University.
Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities: Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons
with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may
have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require
accommodations should notify the Center for Access Ability Resources
(CAAR) on the fourth floor of the HealthServicesBuilding. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate
accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and
instructors be informed of any disability related needs during the first
two weeks of the semester.
Undergraduate Writing Awards: Papers written courses in the Department of Political Science
are eligible for the Department’s undergraduate writing award. Your hard
work could earn you $50, a certificate, and a nice line on your resume.
Papers written in Fall 2003 are due on February 28,
2004. See the Department
website for more details below.
Department of Political Science Website: Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to
consult the Department of Political Science website on a regular basis.
This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in
contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi,
exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department
events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs
and activities. To reach the site, go to http://www.niu.edu/acad/polisci/pols.html