POLS 497 - Floor Class, Spring 2005

World Politics in a Global Era


Debra J. Kennedy

Office hours: M 12 – 1pm; T 6 – 6:30

Office: TA office, DU 476

Email: debrak72@comcast.net



Class time: Tues. 7:00-8:15

Room: Douglas Hall, Big Blue



The purpose of this course is to analyze and discuss the ways in which recent developments in the international system have changed both the nature of world politics and the ways in which we, as political scientists, interpret the impact of those developments on our lives and the lives of other people throughout the world.  Required readings will provide students a basic overview of international relations, including a strong historical foundation coupled with the integration of current issues and a cohesive theme of globalization and fragmentation – in order to provide them a better grasp the numerous issues in world politics today.


Course Outline:

This course will take the form of a seminar, in which student discussion is highly encouraged.  Therefore, students are expected to come to class prepared by reading the assigned readings on that week’s topic (approx. 50 pgs.).  At the beginning of each session, students will submit, in writing, a series of 5 questions or “talking points” on the readings for that week (these will serve as the basis for class discussion).  In addition to the weekly assignments, students will complete a 5-6 page essay on a recent global development and a discussion of the ways in which that development may forever change world politics as we currently understand it.


Required Textbook:

Speigel, Steven et al.(eds) 2003. World Politics in a New Era. Wadsworth Publishing. (required chapters will also be made available on electronic reserves – web address to be announced)


Tentative Course Schedule:

Tue. Feb 1: Session 1 -- Course Introduction 

Global changes and what they mean to us


Tue. Feb. 15: Session 2 – The end of the Cold War

Living in a unipolar world 

Readings: TBA


Tue. March 1: Session 3 – Terrorism

Responses and possible solutions

Readings:  TBA


Tue. March 22: Session 4 – Globalization and Trade

McDonaldization and other strange things

Readings:  TBA


Tue. April 5: Session 5 – Transportation and Telecommunications

It’s a small world after all

Readings:  TBA

Tue. April 19: Session 6 – World leaders

“Great Man” theories of politics

Readings:  TBA

Fri. April 22: Final Assignment Due by Noon



Attendance/Participation:                      30%                                         A:         90% - 100%

Weekly Assignments:                            30%                                         B:         80% - 89%

Final Assignment:                                  40%                                         C:         70% - 79%

                                                                                                            D:         60% - 69%

                                                                                                            F:           0% - 59%




Classroom Policies:

1.      It is the nature of political discussions to sometimes become “heated.”  I expect you to feel free to express your opinions, no matter how controversial they may be.  I also expect you to listen respectfully to your colleagues and if you disagree (which you undoubtedly will!), to do so in a respectful and academic (not personal) manner.

2.      While I encourage your participation in class discussion, I do not wish to include your friends.  Therefore, unless you are an organ donor or recipient, all cell phones and pagers MUST be turned off prior to class time.

3.      Once class has started, you are not allowed to leave, except for an emergency, or with special permission.

4.      All assignments are due on the day listed on the syllabus.  Late work will receive a grade of 0%, so if you miss a class, make sure you email your assignment for that day (as a Word attachment) to me BEFORE class begins.


Attendance/participation (30%)

1 missed class    = 83% (B)

2 missed classes = 67% (D)

3 missed classes = 50% (F)


Assignments (30%)

1 missed assignment   = 80% (B)

2 missed assignments = 60% (D)

3 missed assignments = 40% (F)

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 29, 2004.  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 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.
Students with Disabilities: NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding provision of reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. If you have a disability that may have a negative impact on your performance in this course and you may require some type of instructional and/or examination accommodation, please contact me early in the semester so that I can provide or facilitate in providing accommodations you may need.  If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. CAAR is located on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303).  It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester. 


Plagiarism: According to the NIU Undergraduate Catalog, “Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.”  In short, all ideas that are not your own or well known must be cited.  A general rule is that if the information cannot be found in three or more commonly available sources it should be cited.  All direct quotes must be placed in quotation marks. If you are unsure as to what should be cited, please ask me for assistance.