Northern Illinois University

Department of Political Science

Spring 2006, Dusable 459

Section 04: T&Th 3:30-4:45


Instructor: Dr. Kheang Un

Office: Zulauf 414

Phone: 815-753-7043

Email: kun1@niu.edu

Office Hours: T &Th 2-3:30 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 roles 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, turning your cell phone on, studying for another class, or chatting with others.


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


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


3. Class attendance and Participation.  Attendance at all class session is expected, and the instructor will check the attendance regularly.  Class participation and attendance will account for 10 percent of the total course grade.  More significantly, 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 February 16 and April 06.  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, May 11 from 4:00-5:50 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 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



January 17

            Introduction to the Course


January 19

            Key Concepts, Roskin, pp. 1-18


January 24

            Great Britain: Impact of the Past, Roskin, pp. 22-34

            Great Britain: Political Culture, Roskin, pp. 53-65


January 26

            Great Britain: Elections and Parties, Roskin, p. 50, box on p. 51, pp. 66-73

            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].


February 31

            Great Britain: Key Institutions, Roskin, pp. 36-50, pp. 74-77

            Video: Order! Order! Order!


February 02

            Great Britain: Quarrels, Roskin, pp. 79-92


February 07

            France: Impact of the Past, Roskin pp. 96-111

            Video: The French Revolution.


February 09

            France: Political Culture, Roskin pp. 130-145

            France: Elections and Parties, Roskin pp. 147-160, pp. 124-125, box on p. 126          


February 14

            France: Key Institutions, Roskin pp. 113-124, p. 127, box on p.128

            France  : Quarrels, Roskin: pp. 162-175; 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].


February 16

            Exam I


February 21

Russia: Impact of the Past, Roskin, 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,

            Russia: Political Culture, Roskin, pp. 295-309.


February 23

Russia: Government Institutions, Roskin, pp. 279-293, p. 314, pp. 319-322, box on p. 316,


March 28

Russia: Parties and Elections, Roskin, box on p. 288, pp. 310-312, p. 293 (A Party

System Under) box on p. 292,


March 02

Russia: Quarrels, Roskin, pp. 314-318, pp. 324-336, p. 314

            M. Goldman, “Putin and the Oligarchs,” Foreign Affairs Vol. 83, Issue 6         (Novemebr/December 2004), pp. 33-44 [to be handed out].        

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

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


March 07

            China: Impact of the Past, Roskin, pp. 416-424, box on p. 434

                        Video: “Two Coasts of China.”


March 09


            China: Political Culture, Roskin, box on p. 420, box on p. 421, pp. 430-432,

                        box on p. 433, box on p. 435, box on p. 436


March 21

China: Government Institutions, Roskin, PP. 424-429


March 23

            China: Quarrels, Roskin, box on p. 426, pp. 433 (from Chrouching)-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].





March 28

            Japan: Impact of the Past, Roskin pp. 340-353

                        Video: Meiji: “Asia’s Response to the West.”   

            Japan: Political Culture, Roskin, pp. 367-381.


March 30


Japan: Elections and Parties, Roskin pp. 359-363, box on p. 364, pp. 387-389,

                       pp. 391 (danger of)-394                      

Japan: Government Institutions, Roskin pp. 363-66, pp. 382-386,

            pp. 389 (No One)-391


April 04

           Japan: Quarrels Roskin pp. 396-411

           The Economist, “The Sun Also Rises,” (October 8, 05), pp. 3-6 [to be handed out].


April 06

            Exam II


April 11

South Africa: Impact of the Past, Roskin, pp. 482-487, box on pa. 488, box on p. 493, box on p. 497.


April 13

            South Africa: Political Culture, Roskin, pp. 498-503.


April 18

            South Africa: Elections and Parties, Roskin, pp. 495-496, pp. 503-509.

            South Africa: Government Institutions, Roskin, pp.487-494.


April 20

            South Africa: Quarrels Roskin, pp. 509-515.


April 25

            Iran: Impact of the Past, Roskin, 518-525

            Jeffrey Herbst, “Mbeki’s South Africa,” Foreign Affairs (November/December

            05) Vol. 84, Issue 06, pp. 93-105 [to be handed out].


April 27

            Iran: Political Culture, Roskin, pp.529-535, box on p. 536


May 02

Iran: Election and Parties, Roskin, Box on p. 526, pp. 528-529, pp. 535-539

            Iran: Key Institutions, Roskin, p. 525, pp. 526-528



May 04

            Iran: Quarrels, Roskin, pp. 540-548.

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

Vol. 83, Issue 6, 2004, pp. 9-16. [to be handed out];

The Economist, “Still Failing, Still Defiant,” pp. 23-25 [to be handed out].


May 11

Final Exam 4:00-5:50 pm