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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "PL 223-1"
COURSE NAME: "Comparative Politics"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2017
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Driessen
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 1:30 PM 2:45 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS: TTH 1:30-3:30pm

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
As both a subject and a method of study, comparative politics examines the nature, development, structure and functioning of the political systems of a selection of countries with very different cultures, social and economic profiles, political histories and geographic characteristics. Through case studies, students will learn to use the comparativist’s methods to collect and organize the information and develop general explanations.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

 

The course is divided into 3 sections which look at 1) Comparative Politics in Western Modernity; 2) Transitions, Revolutions and 3rd Wave Considerations; and 3) New Directions in Comparative Politics. Over 9 units, we will study 10 countries along a timeline and critically chart out how these states differ and converge in the ways in which they organize power and distribute goods to citizens. In order of appearance, they are Great Britain, Italy, USSR, USA, Chile, the Czech Republic, Congo, Iran, China, and Egypt. Each unit introduces one major 1)Regime Type; 2) Country Example 3) Political Idea or Theme. Along the way, the student will learn something about the dominant enduring topics of study of comparative politics, including liberalism, fascism, communism, democracy, democratic transitions, ethnic politics, civil war, political economies, identity politics, authoritarianisms, electoral systems, political parties and revolution.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

My pedagogical hope is that students will finish this course equipped with a foundational set of tools to critically distinguish among modern political systems that will allow them to begin to analyze the relationships between the ideas, institutions, cultures and histories which underpin these systems. They will also learn the defining political characteristics of 10 modern nation-states. The essential goal will be to help students to begin practicing a higher level of political analysis and a more nuanced appreciation of the practical ways in which humans attempt to achieve common goods in modern times. When finished with this course students should expect to substantively answer the following questions about any nation: 1) what is the regime type? 2) what does the political economy look like? 3) What does the state look like? 4) What are the institutions, policies, and ideas that describe these three attributes? 5) Are there cultural, historical and religious affinities to all the above?   

TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Essentials of Comparative Politics, 5th Ed. (International Student Edition)Patrick H. O’NeilWW Norton9780393920741 Please send all of my book orders to the Almost Corner bookstore- thanks!
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of CapitalismWeberPenguin0140439218  
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Mid-term Exam 20%
Final Exam 30%
Short Reflections (6)1 page each, on any reading or set of readings within a section of the course. Reading reflections must be turned by the date specified in the course calendar. 40%
ParticipationAttendance and Presence of Mind are mandatory for this class. The goal here is to advance towards the art of asking good questions. Quality, not quantity of participation is what counts, although some quantity is better than no quality. Students will be allowed 2 unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence thereafter will result in the lowering of the attendance grade by 1/3rd a letter grade. More than 12 unexcused absences may result in a failure to pass the course.10%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cours
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
Attendance and Presence of Mind are mandatory for this class. The goal here is to advance towards the art of asking good questions. Quality, not quantity of participation is what counts, although some quantity is better than no quality. Students will be allowed 2 unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence thereafter will result in the lowering of the attendance grade by 1/3rd a letter grade. More than 12 unexcused absences may result in a failure to pass the course.
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

Course Outline:

Part I. Comparing Politics in Western Modernity

1. Modern Nation-States and the Rise of Political Liberalism

            Countries: England (and France)

2. Late Nation-State Builders and Liberalism in Crisis

            Countries: Italy (and Germany)

3. Liberalism in Crisis part II.

            Country: USSR

4. Liberal Revenge. 

            Country: USA

Part II. After the End of History: Transitions, Revolutions and 3rd Waves

5. 3rd Wave Transitions:

            Countries: Chile and the Czech Republic.

6. Identity Politics, Poverty, Civil War and Failed States

            Country: Congo

7. Theocracy and the Return of Religious Politics

            Country: Iran

8. Competitive Authoritarianism and Authoritarian Capitalism

            Country: China

Part III. New Directions:

9. Tahrir Square and the Future of Comparative Politics: Dealing with pluralism in the 21st century

            Country: Egypt

 

Course Calendar

 

January 16

Class 1

Course Introduction

 

Part I: Comparing Politics in Western Modernity

 

1. Modern Nation-States and the Rise of Political Liberalism: England (and France)

 

January 18

Class 2

 

O’Neil chapters 1 & 2

 

January 23

Class 3

 

 

Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism : First read chapters 1 & 2 (from part I “The Problem”): “Denomination and Social Stratification” and “The Spirit of Capitalism.” (pp.s 1-28 in Penguin Edition)

Then read chapter 2, “Asceticism and Capitalism,” from part II (pp. 105-122 in Penguin Edition)

January 25

Class 4

 

Fareed Zakaria, “A Brief History of Human Freedom,” Library Reserves  (chapter 1)

Recommended:

Fareed Zakaria, “Capitalism, not Culture, Drives Economics,”

J. S. Mill, On Liberty, chapters 1 & 2

January 30

Class 5

(Reading Reflection 1 Due)

 

O’Neil chapter 5

Magna Carta (skim)

France’s “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

2. Late Nation-State Builders and Liberalism in Crisis: Italy (and Germany)

February 1

Class 6

 

Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism” (1932)

The Futurist Manifesto, and paintings

February 6

Class 7

 

Alexander Gershenkron, “Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective,” (chapter 1)

Michael Mann, “A Political Theory of Nationalism and its Excesses,” chapter 4 in Notions of Nationalism, ed. S. Periwal 1995, available as e-book on JCU Library’s worldcat

 

3. Liberalism in Crisis part II: USSR

February 8

Class 8

(Reading Reflection 2 Due)

 

Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto (skip chapter III)

February 10

Class 9

(Make up for Easter Monday)

Lenin, “The April Theses?”: & “Lessons of the Revolution

Stalin, “The Foundations of Leninism: The Dictatorship of the Proletariat,” chapter IV

Recommended: O’Neil Chapter 9, pp.s 270-286  

February 13

Class 10

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: Part I: ch.s 1&4; part III: ch. 7; part IV: ch.s 1-2; Part VI: ch.s 2&7. [These selections correspond to pages 218-240; 253-273; 294-306 in The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005 (ed.s Ericson, Jr. and Mahoney) available in the Library Reserves]

4. Liberal Revenge: USA

 

February 15

Class 11

(Reading Reflection 3 Due)

 

 

Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History

 

February 20

Class 12

 

Robert Putnam, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital,” Journal of Democracy 6(1), 1995:

Read through Putnam’s survey instrument and data

Sheri Berman, “Understanding Social Democracy

 

February 22

Class 13

 

O’Neil Chapter 8

 

February 27

Class 14

Mid-term Exam

 

Part II: After the End of History: Transitions, Revolutions and 3rd Waves

 

5. 3rd Wave Transitions: Chile and the Czech Republic.

 

March 1

Class 15

 

 

Havel, “The Power of the Powerless,” sections I-X, XIV-XVI, XXI-XXII; and “New Year’s Address,” all in Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990:

 

March 6

Class 16

 

 

Samuel P. Huntington, “Democracy’s Third Wave,” Journal of Democracy, 2(2), 1991

 

Steven Levitsky and David Collier, “Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research,” World Politics, 49(3), 1997

 Pablo Neruda, “A Call for the Destruction of Nixon and Praise for Chilean Revolution

 

March 8

Class 17

 

 

O’Neil Chapter 9, pp.s 286-303

Valerie Bunce, “Rethinking Recent Democratization: Lessons from the Post-Communist Experience,” World Politics, 55, 2003

 

 

6. Identity Politics, Poverty, Civil War and Failed States: Congo

 

March 13

Class 18

(Reading Reflection 4 Due)

 

 

O’Neil chapter 10, pp.s 308-330

Frantz Fanon, “Concerning Violence,” chapter 1 from The Wretched of the Earth, Library Reserves

Leopold Senghor, “To New York

 

 

March 15

Class 19

 

 

Economist, “Africa’s Great War,” http://www.economist.com/node/1213296?story_id=1213296

James Fearon and David Laitin, “Ethnicity, Insurgency and Civil WarAmerican Political Science Review (97) 1. 2003

Recommended:

Filip Reyntjens, “Briefing: The Second Congo War: More than a Remake,” African Affairs, (98) 391, 1999

Congo on Knife-edge as opposition leader calls for Kabila to step down,” The Guardian  (December, 2016)

 

March 20

Class 20

 

O’Neil chapter 10 pp.s 330-340

Jeffery Sachs, The End of Poverty. 2005. Read chapter 13 (on reserve in the library)

 

William Easterly, “Was Development Assistance a Mistake?

 

Good News from Africa:

 

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/05/daily-chart-12

 

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/02/daily-chart-20

 

But the debate continues:

Damisa Moboyo (2009) “Dead Aid: Why Aid to Africa is not Working

And

Jeffery Sachs (2014) “The Case for Aid Foreign Policy

 

 

7. Theocracy and the Return of Religious Politics: Country: Iran

 

March 22

Class 21

(Reading Reflection 5 Due)

 

 

Economist, “In God’s Name,” (2007)

 

March 27

Class 22

 

 

Bernard Lewis, “The Roots of Muslim Rage,” The Atlantic, September (1990):

Michael L. Ross, “Does Oil Hinder Democracy?” World Politics, 53(3), 2001

 

March 29

Class 23

 

 

Vali Nasr, “The Rise of ‘Muslim Democracy,’” Journal of Democracy 16(2), 2005

Gunes Tezcur, “Democracy Promotion, Authoritarian Resiliency, and Political Unrest in Iran,” Democratization 19(1), 2012

 

8. Competitive Authoritarianism and Authoritarian Capitalism: China

 

April 10

Class 24

(Reading Reflection 6 Due)

 

O’Neil chapter 6

Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way, “The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism,Journal of Democracy, 12(2), 2002

Ivan Krastev, “The Rules of Survival,” The Journal of Democracy, (April), 2009

 

April 12

Class 25

 

 

Azar Gat, “The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers,” Foreign Affairs (86)4, 2007

Thomas Friedman, “Advice for China

 

Amnesty International, “Annual Report: China 2015/2016”

 

Part III. New Directions:

 

9. Tahrir Square and the Future of Comparative Politics: Egypt

 

April 19

Class 26

 

Samer Shehata, “In Egypt, Democrats v. Liberals” July 2nd, 2013, New York Times

Charles Lister, “Profiling the Islamic State,” Brooking Institute Doha (2014)

Recommended:

Ivan Krastev, “Russian Revisionism: Russia’s Plan for Overturning the European Order.” Foreign Affairs (2014)

 

April 24

Class 27

 

O’Neil chapter 11

Jason Willick, “Nationalists and Cosmopolitans: How Samuel Huntington Predicted our Political Moment,” American Interest (2016)

 

 

April 26

Class 28

Conclusions and Review

 

 

Final Exam