POLS 260: Foreign and Comparative Politics
Spring 2006, Section 3; DuSable 459: TTh
Gregory D. Schmidt Blake Klinkner
Office: Zulauf 426 (thru 415) Office: DuSable 476
Phone: 753-7039 Phone: 753-1818
Office Hours: TTH 11-12 Office Hours: W -5
T TH 2-3
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail: email@example.com
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. Attendance. Regular attendance is expected and will account for 10 percent of your final grade. After three grace absences, I will subtract 1 point for each additional absence. If you arrive after roll is checked, please notify me at the end of class so that you can receive a tardy. The first tardy is excused. The second tardy counts as a half-absence. The third and each subsequent tardy count as absences. Students with very poor attendance may even receive negative grades for this component.
I will normally excuse absences only for a recognized religious holiday of your faith that happens to coincide with a class meeting. Otherwise, I will excuse absences only under extraordinary circumstances, such as a prolonged illness, extended jury duty, or a major personal crisis, and then only after the three grace absences have been exhausted. Any excused absences must be documented.
Please do not ask me to excuse absences for minor illnesses, funerals, or scheduling conflicts (e.g. sports practices or games, play rehearsals, meetings, conferences, appointments with other professors or advisors, student teaching, doctor's appointments, court dates, jobs, job interviews, having your cable installed, etc.). I realize, of course, that students occasionally become ill, but it is unlikely that minor illnesses will force you to miss class more than three times. Moreover, even if you should be so unlucky, it is unlikely that an additional absence or two will make a difference in your final grade. I also am well aware that students have other interests and obligations, but you should nevertheless make this class a priority. If you are likely to have recurring conflicts, please take another course.
2. The Learning Environment. I am 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.
Faced with declining classroom decorum in recent years, the Undergraduate Committee of the Department of Political Science has encouraged faculty to state explicit expectations regarding behavior in their syllabi. Please be advised that each occurrence of the following during class time may result in the deduction of one point from your final course average:
a. Leaving the room, unless the instructor has previously agreed or there is an emergency, such as a fire alarm, tornado alert, or a bona fide illness. If you must leave early for any other reason––including going to the restroom––please do not return during that class period. (An additional half point may be deducted if you come back). If you are truly sick, please explain later.
b. Allowing your cell phone to ring more than once during the semester. (If there is a true emergency that may necessitate receiving a call, please let me know before class.)
c. Using a cell phone for conversation, text messaging, or as a camera. (However, students are welcome to tape record the class, if they so wish.)
d. Engaging in a private conversation.
e. Reading the newspaper, studying for another class, or undertaking some other activity that is not related to this course.
f. Eating or falling asleep. (Students may discreetly drink non-alcoholic beverages).
g. Listening to music or the radio, even with headphones.
h. Smoking (All NIU classrooms are smoke-free environments).
i. Any other behavior that is coarse, rude, noticeably inattentive, or inconsiderate of others.
If a student persists in behavior that is disruptive or that undermines the learning environment, I will request that he or she be barred from the class, following the procedures outlined in the 2004-05 Undergraduate Catalog, pp. 49 and 306. This sort of behavior also constitutes grounds for dismissal from the university.
Michael G. Roskin, Countries and Concepts: Politics, Geography, Culture, 8th edition (Prentice Hall, 2004)
Gregory D. Schmidt,
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 Tuesday classes will be posted no later than of the previous Saturday. Materials for Thursday classes will be posted no later than of the preceding Wednesday. 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:
a. 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 "Online Academic Resources," and then "Blackboard Course Server." You can also access Blackboard with the A-Z feature of the NIU homepage.
b. Type username (Novel ID = student ZID) and password. Your Novell network password is also your Blackboard password. Your initial password is your birth date in the form of YYYYMMDD. This initial password is temporary and must be reset before five usage attempts. Passwords expire every 130 days. You can change your password over the Internet at or by calling 815-752-7738 (815-752-RSET). For help with your password, please go to password.niu.edu or phone 753-8100.
c. Click Login.
d. Click on the title of this course.
e. Click on assignments.
f. 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 March 9, will be comprised of multiple choice and true/false questions. The final exam, scheduled for May 11, 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 Fall 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. Make-up exams may be all short answer, a format that requires more intensive preparation.
8. Paper. Drawing on recent periodicals, academic
journals, and possibly on-line sources, each student will write a 5 page paper
analyzing a major contemporary political issue or significant 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.
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 2005-06 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. 20-34.
Social Cleavages and Political Culture: Comparative
Roskin, pp. 11-12, boxes on pp. 13-14, 53-64.
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, 79-92.
Roskin, pp. 94-110.
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.
Roskin, pp. 113-124, 127-128 157-160.
Roskin, pp. 162-175.
Go Over Mid-Term Exam in Class
Roskin, pp. 176-195.
Video: The Germans: Portrait of a New Nation
Video: The Germans: Portrait of a New Nation (continued)
Roskin, pp. 215-228.
Video: The Essential
Roskin, pp. 207-213, 230-236, boxes on 237-238, 241-244.
Roskin, pp. 197-207, 209 (Bundesrat), 236-241,
Roskin, pp. 245-258.
Schmidt, pp. 2-18, 18-23 (skim), 23-37.
Schmidt, pp. 37-42, 78-79 (pre-reform malaise)
Video: Fire in the Mind
Video, Mario Vargas Llosa: The Story of the Novelist Who Would be President
Finish Vargas Llosa Video
Schmidt, pp. 42-45.
Schmidt, pp. 45-51 (very top), 79-82.
Video, Interview with Alberto Fujimori (Robert Novak) (selected portions)
Schmidt, pp. 51 (1st full paragraph) to 53.
Video, The Fujimori Empire (selected portions)
Schmidt, pp. 53-58, 81-82 (re-read).
Video, Peruvian News Coverage of 2000 election
Video, A Hazy Transparency: Peru’s 2000 Elections
Schmidt, pp. 58-69.
Schmidt, pp. 69-78.
Teacher Evaluation and Review