Northern Illinois University

Department of Political Science

Fall 2005, Dusable 461

Section 1: M, W, F 11:00-11:50



Professor: Kheang Un

Office: Zulauf 414

Phone: 815-753-1011 ; email: kun1@niu.edu

Office Hours: M, W, F 9-10:30 and by appointment


This course is NIU’s introduction to the study of political systems outside the United States.  As such, it has two main goals.  First, it will give you a chance to study the politics of particular countries you probably know little about.  Second, it seeks to convey analytical approaches to the study of politics and to provide you with an opportunity to reflect on some of the essential questions, old and new, with which students of politics have to grapple.  Your new understanding from this class should enhance your role as citizens in a democracy, i.e., enable you to make more informed judgments on the policies that our leaders propose to follow in dealing with foreign countries.


To achieve its comparative goal, this course will examine the political systems of Great Britain, France, Japan, China, Russia, Iran and South Africa.


Course Policies and Requirements

1.  The Learning Environment. Your instructor is committed to the principle of active learning.  This principle requires 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.  Respect for the learning community should preclude such behavior as persistent tardiness, leaving the room during class time (unless prior advice was given to the instructor or in case of emergency), falling asleep, reading the newspaper, studying for another class, and chatting with others.


2. Readings and Lecture. Please purchase a copy of textbook for this course:  Michael G. Roskin, Countries and Concepts: Politics, Geography, Culture 8th edition at the Student Center or at the Village Common Bookstore.  Some short readings may also be distributed in class.


Lectures will parallel and compliments the readings.  As such, students cannot just rely solely on lectures or readings.


3. Class attendance and Participation.  Attendance at all class sessions is expected, and the instructor will check the attendance regularly.  Class participation and attendance will account for 10 percent of the total course grade.  Informed participation in class discussion will significantly help students in borderline grade situations.

4. Exams.  This course will have three exams.  Two will be midterms written in class on September 26 and November 02.  Each of these exams will be worth 25 percent of the total course grade.  A final exam, worth 30 percent, will be taken during the regular final exam day, December 05 from 10:00-11:50 pm.  The format of each exam will be a combination of essay, short answer, and multiple-choice.  No make up exam will be offered, except in cases of emergency, as defined by the instructor, and with advance notification.  There will also be some pop quizzes given without prior notice.  The total points from all quizzes will be worth 10 percent of the total course grade.


5. Course Grade.  Course Grades will be distributed as follows:

            Final Average                                       Final Grade

            90-100 %                                                        A

            80-89 %                                                          B

            65-79%                                                           C

            50-64                                                               D

            Below 50%                                                      F


6. Academic Integrity.  Students are expected to know and comply with NIU polices on academic integrity (see p. 47 of 2001 Undergraduate Catalog).  Any student found guilty of cheating or plagiarizing will receive an “ F” for the examination and the course.  He or she may also be subject to additional sanctions imposed by the university.


7. Undergraduate Writing Awards. The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.


8. 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 Health Services Building. 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.


9. Department of Political Science Web Site.  Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science’s web site 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://polisci.niu.edu



               Schedule of Lectures, Required Readings, and Exams


August 22

Introduction to the course


August 24

Key Concepts

Reading: Roskin, pp. 1-18.


August 26

Key Concepts continued

Reading:Roskin, pp. 1-18


August 29

Great Britain: Impact of the Past

Reading: Roskin, pp. 22-34


August 31

Great Britain: Political Culture

Reading: Roskin, pp. 53-65


Sept 02

Great Britain: Elections and Parties

Reading: Roskin, pp. p. 50, box. 51, pp. 66-73.


Sept 05

No Class Labor Day


Sept. 07

Great Britain: Key Institutions

Reading: Roskin, pp.36-50-, pp. 74-77.

Video: “Order! Order!”


Sept. 09

Great Britain: Quarrels

Reading:  Roskin, pp. 79-93.

Donley Studlar, “A Constitutional Revolution in Britain?” in Christine   Soe ed., Annual Edition: Comparative Politics, 03/04, (Guilford: McGraw, 2004), pp. 12-17. [to be handed out].


Sept 12

France: Impact of the Past

Reading: Roskin, pp. 96-111.

Video: “The French Revolution Reconsidered.”


Sept 14

France: Political Culture

Reading: Roskin, pp. 130-45.


Sept 16

France: Elections and Parties

Reading: Roskin, pp. 147-160, pp. 124-125, box on p. 126.


Sept 19

France: Key Institutions

Reading: Roskin, pp. 113-124, p. 127, box on p. 128.


Sept 21

France: Quarrels

Reading: Roskin, pp. 162-175.

John Andrews, “A Divided Self: A Survey of France,” in Christine   Soe ed., Annual Edition: Comparative Politics, 03/04, (Guilford: McGraw, 2004), pp. 29-38. [to be handed out].

Sept 23

Catch-up and Reviews


Sept 26

Exam I


Sept 28

Japan: Impact of the Past

Reading: Roskin, pp. 340-353.

Video: Meiji: Asia’s Response to the West


Sept 30

Japan: Political Culture

Reading: Roskin, pp. 367-381.


Oct 03

Japan: Elections and Parties

Reading: 359-363, box on p. 364, pp. 387-389, pp. 391 (danger of)-394.


Oct 5

Japan: Government Institutions

Reading: Roskin, pp. 363-66, pp. 382-386, 389 (no one)-391.


Oct 7

Japan: Quarrels

Reading: Roskin, pp.396-411.

S. MacDonald and J. Lemco, “Japan’s Slow-Moving Economic

Avalanche,” Current History (April, 2002), pp. 172-176. [to be handed out].


Oct 10

Russia: Impact of the Past

Reading: Roskin, pp. 262-277, box on p. 286, box on p. 287, box on p. 312, box on p. 313, box on p. 315, box on p. 317, box on p. 320, box on p. 321.


Oct 12

Russia: Political Culture

Reading: Roskin, pp. 295-309.


Oct 14

Russia: Government Institutions

Reading: Roskin, pp. 279-293, p. 314, pp. 319-322, box on p. 316.


Oct 17

Russia: Parties and Elections

Reading: Roskin, box on p. 288, pp. 310-312, p. 293 (A Party System Under) box p. 292.


Oct 19

Russia: Quarrels

Reading: Roskin, pp. 314-318, pp. 324-336, p. 314.

                           M. Goldman, “Putin and the Oligarchs,” Foreign Affairs Vol 86

    (Novemebr/December 2004), pp. 33-44.    

   The Economist, “The Challenger,” December 11, 2004, p. 9; “Vladimir

    III?” p. 46-47. [to be handed out].   

Oct 21


China: Impact of the Past

Video: “Two Coasts of China.”

Reading: Roskin, pp. 416-424, box on p. 434.


Oct 24


China: Political Culture:

Reading: Roskin, box on p. 420, box on p. 421, pp. 430-432, box on p. 433, box on p. 435, box on p. 436.


Oct 26

China: Government Institutions

Reading: Roskin, pp. 424-429.



Oct 28

China: Quarrels

Reading: Roskin, pp. box on p. 426, pp. 433 (from Chrouchin)-446.

            Clay Chandler, “Inside The New China: Part Communist, Part Capitalist-and full

speed ahead,” in Suzan Ogden, Global Studies: China 11th edition, (Guilford:

McGraw, 2004), pp.104-107. [to be handed out].


Oct 31

Catch-up and Reviews


Nov 2

Exam II


Nov 4

South Africa: Impact of the Past

Reading: Roskin, pp. 482-487, box on p. 488, box on p. 493, box on p. 497.


Nov 7

South Africa: Political Culture

Video: “Facing the Truth.”

Reading: Roskin, pp. 498-503.


Nov 9

South Africa: Government Institutions



Nov 11

South Africa: Elections and Parties

Reading: Roskin, pp. 495-496, pp. 503-509.


Nov 14

South Africa: Quarrels

Reading: Roskin, pp. 509-515.

            A. Handley, “The New South Africa, a Decade Later,” Current History (May

2004), pp. 195-201. [to be handed out].

No 16

Iran: Impact of the Past

Reading: Roskin, pp. 518-525.


No 18

Readings: Political Culture

Reading: Roskin, pp. 529-535, box on p. 536.


Nov 21

Iran: Elections and Parties

Reading: Roskin, box on p. 526, pp. 528-529, pp. 535-539


Nov 23

Thank giving break


Nov 25 

No class


Nov 28

Iran: Political Institutions

Reading: Roskin, p. 525, pp. 526-528.


Nov 30

Iran: Quarrels

Reading: Roskin, pp. 540-548.

            Afshin Molavi, “Buying Time in Tehran: Iran the China Model,” Foreign Affairs,

83, 2004, pp. 9-16. [to be handed out].

The Economist, “Still Failing, Still Defiant,” pp. 23-25.

Dec 2

Catch-up and Review


Dec 5

FINAL EXAM 10:11:50