POLS 260: Foreign and Comparative Politics
Fall 2004, Sections 2-3; DuSable 459: MW &
Gregory D. Schmidt
Office: Zulauf 308
Office Hours: MW -
& by appointment
to the world of comparative politics!
This course is NIU’s introduction to the study of political systems
outside of the
Course Policies and Requirements
1. The Learning Environment. Your instructor is committed to the principle of active learning. For me, this means that learning cannot take place without students’ active involvement in, commitment to, and responsibility for their own education. Hence, it is important that students conduct themselves in ways that indicate respect for the learning community and the learning process. During lecture segments, please raise your hand if you have a question. We can, however, be less formal during class discussions, so long as we remember to treat one another with common courtesy. Respect for the learning community precludes such behavior as persistent tardiness, leaving the room during class time (unless one has previously advised the instructor or there is an emergency), falling asleep, reading the newspaper, and studying for another class. NIU policies regarding classroom conduct are discussed in the 2004-05 Undergraduate Catalog, pp. 49 and 307.
2. Attendance. Regular attendance is expected and will account for 10 percent of your final grade. Two absences and two tardies are automatically excused but documentation will be needed to excuse any additional absences. I will subtract 1 point for each unexcused absence and a half point for each additional tardy. Students with extremely poor attendance will receive negative grades for attendance.
In general, I will excuse absences for illness (with doctor’s note), a documented emergency or family tragedy, an occasional school activity that is scheduled at the same time, and other reasonable conflicts. I will not excuse absences for regular commitments (e.g. sports practices, play rehearsals, student teaching) that may be scheduled at the same time. If you have such a conflict, you should take another section of this class or consider another course. Nor should you schedule commitments at the time of class (e.g. routine doctor’s visits, dentist appointments, waiting for your cable to be installed, etc.).
Michael G. Roskin, Countries and Concepts: Politics, Geography, Culture, 8th edition (Prentice Hall, 2004)
Gregory D. Schmidt, Peru: The Politics of Surprise (McGraw-Hill, 2004) (available later in the semester).
Some short readings may also be handed out in class or placed on Blackboard.
Lectures will parallel and complement, but not merely repeat, the material in the textbook. You are responsible for material covered in the readings but not in the lectures and vice versa. You should complete reading assignments for each date before coming to class.
4. Study Guides, Quizzes, and Website. Study guides and other ancillary materials will be posted on Blackboard before most, if not all, classes. These resources and the website for Roskin (http://wps.prenhall.com/hss_roskin_countries_8) will help you prepare for
the 6-8 unannounced quizzes to be given in class on the reading assigned for that day.
Make-ups of quizzes will be given only under extraordinary circumstances at the discretion of the instructor.
You should review the relevant study guide, especially any “quizzable” questions, before coming to class. The study guides should also help you to integrate material from the readings and lecture for the exams.
Materials for Monday classes will be posted no later than of the previous Friday. Materials for Wednesday classes will be posted no later than of the preceding Tuesday. Only if there is a technical or human problem with Blackboard will the relevant materials be distributed in class.
5. Accessing Blackboard. You can access Blackboard by following these steps:
1. Type the URL http://webcourses.niu.edu/ in the address box of your browser (Internet Explorer works best) or go to the NIU homepage and click on "Current Students," then "Academics," and then "Blackboard Course Server." You can also access Blackboard with the A-Z feature of the NIU homepage.
2. Click the Login Button.
3. Type username (Novel ID = student ZID) and password. For help with your password, please go to password.niu.edu or phone 753-8100.
4. Click Login.
5. Click on the title of this course, .
6. Click on assignments.
7. Open and print out the relevant assignment.
If you have problems in accessing Blackboard, please call 753-8100.
6. Videos. I will show a number of videos on course-related topics to the extent that time and scheduling permit. These are not "blow-off" classes; indeed, some exam questions will be based on audiovisual materials. I will help you to focus on the most pertinent information and perspectives. You should print out any study guides for the videos before coming to class.
7. Exams. A mid-term exam, scheduled for October 20, will be comprised of multiple choice and true/false questions. The final exam, scheduled for December 6, will follow the same format. Each exam will cover a discrete section of the course, though some of the material has a cumulative character. If necessary, exam grades will be curved in accordance with overall student performance. I will hand back the mid-term for review in class, however, departmental policy requires me to retain all objective questions and answers on file. The final exam will remain on file and available for review until the end of the Spring 2005 semester.
Make-up exams will be given only in the case of a documented medical or personal emergency. In such an event, you must notify me before the exam. Make-up exams may be all short answer, a format that requires more intensive preparation.
8. Paper. Drawing on recent periodicals, academic journals, and/or on-line sources, each student will write a 5 page paper analyzing a major contemporary political issue or
recent event in
9. Extra Credit and Class Participation. I will not accept extra credit projects to improve low quiz or test grades. I will, however, be glad to help students improve their study habits. Moreover, you can earn up to 3 points of extra credit through class participation. I will add 1 point to the final averages of those students who, in my judgment, made a significant contribution to class discussion. I will add 2 points for above-average class participation and 3 points for outstanding participation. In assessing class participation, I will emphasize quality, rather than mere quantity.
10. Course Grade. The following weights will be use in determining your course average:
Any extra points for class participation will be added to this average.
Course Grades will be distributed as follows:
Final Average and Extra Credit Final Grade
Below 50% F
11. Seating and Checking Attendance. After the first week of class, all students will sit in permanently assigned seats to facilitate the checking of attendance and so that I can learn your names. If you arrive after roll is checked, please notify me at the end of class and I will mark you tardy.
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.
12. Incompletes. No 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.
13. Adjustments in Course Schedule. I will do my best to follow the course schedule outlined below, but I reserve the right to make reasonable adjustments with adequate warning if unforeseeable or uncontrollable circumstances (e.g. weather, illness, travel) so warrant. It is not fair, however, to modify the class schedule or previously set exam dates simply to accommodate the preferences of some students, since other students inevitably suffer.
14. Academic Integrity. Students are expected to know and comply with NIU policies on academic integrity (see p. 49 of 2004-05 Undergraduate Catalog). Any student found guilty of cheating will receive an “F” for the course. He or she may also be subject to additional sanctions imposed by the University.
Introduction to Course
Basic Concepts: Nation and State
Roskin, pp. 1-9, box on p. 17.
Roskin, boxes on pp. 9 and 15.
Roskin, pp. 20-35.
Video: Margaret Thatcher: “The Iron Lady”
Social Cleavages and Political Culture: Comparative
Roskin, pp. 11-12, boxes on pp. 13-14, 53-65.
Electoral Systems and Parties: Comparative
Roskin, p. 10 (paragraph on parties), pp. 50-51; review pp. 56-58 and 61;
Video on Proportional Representation
Governmental Institutions: Comparative Perspectives
Roskin, pp. 9-10, 12-16, 36-50, 73-77.
Video: Order! Order! Britain’s Parliament at Work
Quarrels: Comparative Perspectives and
Roskin, pp. 17-18, 79-93.
Roskin, pp. 96-112.
Video: The French Revolution
Roskin, pp. 130-145.
Essential History of
Roskin, box on p.119, pp. 124-126, review boxes on pp. 136
and 144; pp. 147-157.
Video, François Mitterrand: A Tale of Power
Roskin, pp. 113-124, 127-128 157-160.
Roskin, pp. 162-175.
Go Over Mid-Term Exam in Class
Roskin, pp. 340-350, box on p. 352.
Roskin, pp. 350-352.
Roskin, pp. 367-381.
Roskin, pp. 359-363, 387-389.
Roskin, pp. 354-359, 363-366, 382-386, 389-394.
Roskin, pp. 396-411.
Video, Bursting the Bubble
Schmidt, pp. TBA
Schmidt, pp. TBA
Video, Mario Vargas Llosa: The Story of the Novelist Who Would be President
Schmidt, pp. TBA
Video, The Fujimori Empire (selected portions)
Video, Peruvian News Coverage of 2000 election
Schmidt, pp. TBA
Schmidt, pp. TBA
Schmidt, pp. TBA
Schmidt, pp. TBA
Final Exam: (Section 2)