POLS 260: Foreign and Comparative Politics
Fall 2005, MW, DuSable 459
Instructor: Eric R. Digman Department of Political Science
Office: 476 Zulauf Hall Office: 315 Zulauf Hall
& by appointment
Welcome to the world of comparative politics! This course is NIU’s
introduction to the study of political systems outside of the
During the first half of the course we will explore key issues
in comparative politics and contrast the political development of
Michael G. Roskin, Countries and Concepts: Politics, Geography, Culture, 8th edition (Prentice Hall, 2003)
Additional handouts and readings will be provided.
Videos will be presented if time allows.
The course lectures will follow the general outline of the readings. Thus, all students are expected to complete the assigned readings before attending class. While the readings and the lectures will overlap, independent material will be presented. Note that exams and quizzes will draw from ALL SOURCES of information assigned or presented in class.
Course materials may be posted via 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.
Exams: 60 pts.
Two exams are scheduled for this course. A mid-term exam, scheduled for October 17, will be comprised of multiple choice and true/false questions. The final exam, scheduled for December 5, will follow the same format. Each exam will cover a discrete section of the course, though some of the material has a cumulative character. Each exam will be worth 30% of the course grade. 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 at the Department of Political Science and available for review until the end of the Spring 2006 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 when possible or immediately thereafter. The format of make-up exams will be at my discretion and may require more intensive preparation. If you anticipate any problems or conflicts, contact me well in advance of the exam.
Quizzes: 20 pts.
Six unannounced quizzes will be given in class throughout the semester. Of these six, only the best four will count towards your grade (5 points for each quiz). Make-up quizzes will be given only under extraordinary circumstances at the discretion of the instructor.
Paper: 20 pts.
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 significant recent event in
Attendance and Class Participation: 4 pts. Extra Credit!
Attendance and participation at all class sessions is expected. I will check attendance regularly. If you arrive after roll is checked, please notify me at the end of class and I will mark you tardy (a tardy may not count as an entire class). 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.
You can earn up to 4 points of extra credit through attendance and class participation. If you have 2 or fewer recorded absences, I will add 2 points to your course average. If you have 3 or 4 recorded absences, I will add 1 point to your course average. Thus, good attendance can help you, but you are not penalized for poor attendance. I will also give extra credit to students who in our judgment have made significant contributions to class discussion. I will add 1 point for above-average class participation and 2 points for outstanding participation. In assessing class participation, I will emphasize quality, rather than mere quantity.
After the first week of class, I ask that students try to sit in approximately the same place to facilitate my learning of your names and to be able to quickly monitor attendance.
The following weights will be use in determining your course average:
Any extra points for attendance and class participation will be added to this average.
Course Grades will be distributed as follows:
Final Average Final Grade
Below 50% F
The Learning Environment:
Respect for the learning community and the learning process would normally include coming to class on time and remaining in ones seat, requesting permission to speak and exclude persistent lateness, leaving the class room during class time, studying for another class, and reading a newspaper. Comments that are not relevant to the ongoing discussion, off the point, disruptive, insensitive to others, or attempt to dominate the discussion will not be rewarded. I expect all of you to treat one another with respect. Hurtful comments of your classmates will not be tolerated. Also, there is a cell phone policy in this class. I expect all of you to turn your phones OFF before class begins. If you are expecting an emergency call, please inform me and you may turn your phone to vibrate and respond to it in the hallway.
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. If you have some cause for concern, please see me as soon as possible.
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. However, it is not fair to modify the class schedule or set exam dates simply to accommodate the preferences of some students as other students inevitably suffer.
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.
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
Department of Political Science Web Site:
Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science 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
Undergraduate Writing Awards:
The Department of Political Science recognizes, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies, such as independent studies or honors theses. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and a check for $50.00. There is no requirement as to the length of papers submitted for the award. Often the Department awards prizes for both an outstanding short paper and an outstanding long paper. The number and types of awards is dependent upon the papers submitted for consideration in any given year. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Only papers written in the previous calendar 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. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to the undergraduate studies secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Direct any further questions to the director of undergraduate studies.
Introduction and Concepts: Nation and State, Democratization
August 22: Introduction to Course
No assigned readings.
August 24: Basic Concepts: Nation and State
Read: Roskin, pp. 1-9, box on p. 17.
August 29: Democratization
Read: Roskin, boxes on pp. 9 and 15
Read: Roskin, pp. 20-35.
September 5: Labor Day; University Closed!
Read: Roskin, pp. 11-12, boxes on pp. 13-14, 53-65.
Read: Roskin, p. 10 (paragraph on parties), pp. 50-51; review pp. 56-58 and 61; pp. 66-73.
Read: Roskin, pp. 9-10, 12-16, 36-50, 73-78.
Video: Order! Order! Britain’s Parliament at Work
Read: Roskin, pp. 17-18, 79-93; review box on pp. 16.
Read: Roskin, pp. 96-112.
Video: The French Revolution
Video: The Essential History of
Read: Roskin, pp. 130-145.
Read: 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
Read: Roskin, pp. 113-124, 127-128 157-160.
Read: Roskin, pp. 162-175.
October 17: Mid-Term Exam
People’s Republic of
Read: Roskin, pp. 416-423, pp. 433-440, box on pp. 429
The Two Coasts of
Video: The Chinese Revolution
Read: Roskin, 430-432
Read: Roskin, pp. 424-429
Read: Roskin, pp. 440-447
Read: Roskin, pp. 518-525
Read: Roskin, pp. 529-541, box on pp. 547
Read: Roskin, pp. 525-529
November 23: Thanksgiving Break Begins!
Read: Roskin, pp. 541-549
November 30: Review for Exam
December 5: Final Exam:
Paper handed back