Department of Political Science
Law & Courts in Comparative Perspective: Social Change
POLS 317, 414, 418, 494, 495, 498, 619
T TH 11:30am-2pm
Instructor: Artemus Ward
Office Hours: By appointment
This course will compare
the legal structures and substantive law of a number of countries including the
All students registered
for at least one POLS course will meet at the regular meeting time, T TH
11:30am-2pm. Students registered for more than one course should be in contact
with me to discuss their individual research projects. It is strongly
encouraged that you begin, if not complete, your independent research projects
prior to leaving for
Epp, Charles R., The Rights Revolution: Lawyers, Activists, and Supreme Courts in Comparative Perspective (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).
Hirschl, Ran, Towards
Juristocracy: The Origins and Consequences of the New Constitutionalism (
Kavanagh, Dennis, David Richards, Martin Smith, and Andrew
Geddes, British Politics (
The following requirements are for ALL students enrolled in one political science course.
Attendance will be taken, via sign-up
sheet, at each
Participation at each class session and during field trips will be worth 25 percent of the final course grade. In general, relevant in-class and field trip participation will be evaluated according to the following scale (with plus and minus grades being possible):
A = regular and thoughtful participation
B = occasional and thoughtful participation
C = regular attendance, but little or no participation
D = less than regular attendance
F = little or no attendance
The field-trip reaction paper is worth 25 percent of the final course grade, and will consist of 2-3 pages of reflections following our law firm/courthouse visit. You should address the following issues in your paper: What did you gain from the field trip? How did the speakers affect your view of law and courts? Note 1-2 statements that the speakers made that affected you and why. How did your observations affect your view of law and courts? Note 1-2 specific people, places, or things you observed that affected you and why. Would you recommend this particular field trip to a future class? Letter grades will be awarded for these assignments. In computing the final course grade, the letter grade will be converted as follows: A = 95, A- = 91, B+ = 88, B = 85, B- = 81, C+ = 78, C = 75, C- = 71, D+ = 68, D = 65, D- = 61, and F = 0.
The final examination essay or "think piece" will be in-class and last one-hour. Be sure to bring paper to write on. You may use the books and your notes. The exam will consist of material covered in the readings. The final will be scored on a 0 to 100 percent scale and assigned a corresponding letter grade (with plus and minus designations included when appropriate). In computing the final course grade, the final exam grading scale will be as follows: A = 95, A- = 91, B+ = 88, B = 85, B- = 81, C+ = 78, C = 75, C- = 71, D+ = 68, D = 65, D- = 61, and F = 0.
SUMMARY OF GRADED REQUIREMENTS
Attendance = 25 Percent
Active Class Participation = 25 percent
Field Trip Reaction Paper = 25 Percent
Final Exam (Essay/"Think Piece") = 25 Percent
Additional Requirements for Undergraduates Enrolled in a Second Political Science Course as well as for Graduate Students
Students enrolled in one
additional undergraduate course are required to write one final paper of 10-12
pages that does not exceed 15 pages. Students enrolled at the graduate level
should write papers of 15-20 pages that do not exceed 25 pages. The final paper
should be well researched, well constructed, well written, and follow the
specific substantive and style guidelines detailed below. The final paper is
due no later than July 30, 2009: our final class at
The entire grade for the second undergraduate course will be based on the quality of the research paper. Graduate students must complete the regular course requirements in addition to the research paper.
This paper is designed to afford students (within reason) maximum flexibility to pursue their true interests. However, here are some paper topics that you may find of interest. If you decide on one of these topics, be sure to clear it with me first as only one student may do each topic (or country in the case of the first topic).
The Legal Structure of the
European Union, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
India, South Africa, or Israel.
We will focus on each of these common-law countries in our seminar from the perspective
of social change. However, in your paper you should choose one country and
discuss how the legal system is structured. How did lawyers, courts, judges,
and laws develop? How is the country you are studying similar of different from
courts in the
Meaning and Legacy of the Magna Carta. Consider the historical context in which the Magna
Carta was drafted and signed, as well as its
multifaceted role in the development of modern political and legal thought.
Signed by King John on the banks of the River Thames on June 15, 1215, the
Magna Carta is an iconic and much mythologized
document that sets out the terms of a new constitutional arrangement between
the Crown and the country’s most powerful nobles. Over the centuries, the Magna
Carta has come to be regarded as a charter of
individual liberty and a bulwark against despotism. Recent scholarship has
explored the document’s relationship to canon law, Roman law, and customary
practice, as well as to the Charter of the
· The International Criminal Court. Discuss how the ICC came about and how it functions. Why is the ICC so controversial? Be sure to consult Benjamin Schiff’s Building the International Criminal Court (2008), William Schabas’ An Introduction to the International Criminal Court (2007), and Mauro Politi and Federica Gioia’s The International Criminal Court and National Jurisdictions (2008) as well as other relevant sources.
The “Special Relationship”
Terrorism. Discuss the history of
terrorism in the
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING THE RESEARCH PAPER
Research and Documentation: The final paper should be carefully and properly documented.
(a) Use a reasonable number of complete footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical references to indicate sources, supporting evidence, interpretations, contrary analyses or views, as well as to give credit for quotations or paraphrases. These citations must be accompanied by a full bibliography at the end of the paper.
(b) Use at least seven or eight different "solid" sources for the undergraduate paper and no less than 10 or 12 for the graduate paper. These sources should be reflected in the endnotes, footnotes or parenthetical references, not merely the bibliography. More sources are always preferable.
(c) Avoid dependency or overuse of particular sources. Diversify sources and citations throughout the entire paper.
(d) Use one widely accepted form of citation, such as MLA, APA, APSR, or the Chicago Manual of Style. The specific form is your choice.
(e) Use quality source material (e.g., books, scholarly journal articles, interviews, memoirs of decision-makers, speeches, government documents, etc.). Every paper should have some of these types of sources. The NIU library has access to a number of good databases (e.g., JSTOR, EBSCO, LexisNexis, etc.) that will allow you to search for journal articles thoroughly and efficiently. Do not be afraid to ask a librarian for assistance.
(f) Citations from newspapers and newsmagazines are acceptable, but they will not be counted toward the required number of sources. (Speak to the instructor if this is truly the only type of material that can be found find on your subject.) Newspapers of record, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, or other good quality newspapers, such as the Christian Science Monitor, should be employed. Obviously, high quality British newspapers are also acceptable.
(g) Good quality sources of information from the World Wide Web are acceptable and will count toward the source minimum, but this information is it not an excuse for doing library research. Use Internet material in moderation and be sure it is well cited so that anyone could locate the same information.
Quality Writing and Structure: The final paper should be well written in formal English.
(a) Begin with a clear and coherent research question or thesis statement. Graduate-level papers should definitely employ research questions.
(b) Include a "roadmap paragraph" early in the paper that explains how the paper will be organized and presented.
(c) Use subheading and subsections to organize the paper.
(d) Have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Be sure to clear analytical approach and structure for the body.
(e) Avoid the use of contractions in formal papers, such as it's, don't, can't and weren't. Instead use it is, do not, cannot, and were not.
(f) Avoid spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and awkward sentences. Be sure verbs agree with their subjects and pronouns agree with their antecedents. Grammatical errors include split infinitives, clichés, improper or missing capitalization, improper use of apostrophes, confusing plural and possessive forms of words, double negatives, fluctuations in verb tense, and missing or improper punctuation.
Use its and
it's, affect and effect, and
(h) Carefully proofread the final paper before submitting it.
Paper Grades: The main criteria to be used in evaluating the paper will be the caliber of research, understanding of subject, quality of analysis and argumentation, quality of writing and overall presentation, degree of independent thinking, and the use of evidence and reasoning to reach meaningful conclusions. It goes without saying that the paper must fully meet the stated goal of the assignment and the specific guidelines (discussed above).
Sun June 28: Reception—6pm.
T June 30: POLS Class Meeting—11:30am-2pm.
TH July 2: Class Field Trip:
F July 3: Whole Group
Trip: Globe Theatre in
T July 7: POLS Class Meeting—11:30am-2pm.
TH July 9: Class Field Trip:
T July 14: Whole Group Field Trip. Chartered Bus:
TH July 16: POLS Class Meeting—11:30am-2pm.
F July 17: Whole Group Field Trip.
T July 21: POLS Class Meeting—11:30am-2pm.
TH July 23: Whole Group
Trip: Chartered Bus. Shakespeare students plus a few extras will go to Stratford-upon-Avon to explore
the birthplace of Shakespeare and the Swan Theatre to see the Royal Shakespeare Company
perform “Winter’s Tale.” Some may go instead go to
F July 24: Beatles
T July 28: Class Field
W July 29: Final Program Party!
TH July 30: POLS Final Class Meeting—11:30am-2pm. First half of class: discussion; second half of class: final exam. All papers due today.