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, and Iran.
Course Policies and
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 9th edition at the StudentCenter or at the Village Common Bookstore.Some short readings may also be distributed
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.Students are allowed to
miss the class a total five times during the semester.An additional absence will result in lowering
final grade by one letter.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 October 02 and November 03.Each of these exams will be worth 30 percent
of the total course grade.A final exam,
worth 30 percent, will be taken during the regular final exam day, December 13 from .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:
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 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.
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
of Lectures, Required Readings,
Roskin, pp. 112 (France’s
electoral...)-113; p. 129 (democracy); pp.133-
141; box on page 142 (democracy)
France: Key Institutions
Reading: Roskin, pp. 100-112, pp. 114-115;
pp. 141 (business and …)-145.
Reading: Roskin, pp. 146-159.
Matine Durand and John Martin, “The
35-hour week: Portrait of a French Exception,” OECD Observer, No. 244 (September 04), pp. 10-12; The Economist, “France’s Failure,” and “An
Underclass Rebellion,” November 12, 05); pp.11-12, 24-26 [to be handed out].
Catch-up and Reviews
Japan: Impact of the Past
Reading: Roskin, pp. 337-351.
Video: “Meiji: Asia’s
Response to the West.” DS882 .M4451992
Japan: Political Culture
Reading: Roskin, pp. 366-379.
Japan: Elections and Parties
Reading: pp. 358 (the parties)-362; pp.
385-388; box on page 389 (democracy)
Japan: Government Institutions
Reading: Roskin, pp. 351-358; pp. 382-385;
pp. 362 (the Ministries)-365; p. 388
(no one in charge)-389.
Video: “Inside Japan, Inc.” DS
Reading: Roskin, pp.392-405.
The Economist, “The Sun Also
Rises,” (October 8, 05), pp. 3-6.
Russia: Impact of the Past
Reading: Roskin, pp. 261-277; Box on page 284
(democracy); box on page 311 (personalities); box on page 313 (personalities);
box on page 318 (personalities).
the Past (continued)
“Looking for Perestroika” HC336.26.C664 1990
Russia: Political Culture
Reading: Roskin, pp. 294-307.
Russia: Government Institutions
Reading: Roskin, pp. 278-291; p. 314
(comparison: semi-presidential ...); box on
page 316 (key concepts: runaway); pp.317-320.
Russia: Parties and Elections
Reading: Roskin, box on p. 286
2004); box on page 290 (Democracy); 291 (A party system ...)-292; pp. 309-310.
Reading: Roskin, pp. 322-335; p. 314 (taming
“Putin and the Oligarchs,” Foreign
Affairs Vol. 86
2004), pp. 33-44.
The Economist, “The Challenger,” December 11, 2004, p. 9;
46-47. [to be handed out].
China: Impact of the Past
Video: “Two Coasts of China.”
Reading: Roskin, pp. 408-421.
the Past (continued)
China: Political Culture:
Reading: Roskin, pp.436-438; box on
page 452 (the Great Leap Forward); box on page 453 (The Great Proletariat ...);
China: Political Culture
China: Government Institutions
Reading: Roskin, pp. 422-435.
Reading: Roskin, pp. P. 439 (Nationalism);
pp.443 (Crouching Anger ...)-448;
Video: “China” HC 427.92C457 1999
“The Dark Side of China’s Rise,” Foreign
Policy, March/April 2006, pp. 32-40
[to be handed out].
China Quarrels (continued)
Iran: Impact of the Past
Reading: Roskin, pp.
“Which Way Next for Iran?”
DS 318.825.W45 2000
No Class: Thanksgiving
the Past (continued)
Reading: Roskin, box on page 552
(Is Islam Anti-Modern); pp. 553 (Iranian
Iran: Political Institutions,
Elections and Parties
Iran: Political Institutions,
Elections and Parties (continued)
Reading: Roskin, pp. pp.563-571.
Molavi, “Buying Time in Tehran: Iran the China Model,” Foreign Affairs,
83, 2004, pp. 9-16. [to be handed
Economist, “Still Failing, Still Defiant,” pp. 23-25 [to be handed out].