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COURSE NAME: "Comparative Politics"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Bridget Welsh
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 8:30-9:45 AM
OFFICE HOURS: 2-5pm Mondays or by appointment

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.
This course is designed to introduce students to the subfield of comparative politics. This course will introduce students to a basic set of concepts and ideas which comparative political scientists employ to analyze differences and similitudes in the present and future political life of any given country. From the onset students will learn how power is studied and practiced and learn the tools to better understand the challenges in the modern globalized world. The course will include the basic concepts and theoretical approaches in comparative politics as well as discuss case studies where the issues and theories are relevant. Among the many important questions the survey course will examine are the nature of political regimes, debates about political culture, political identity and ideologies, public policy, political participation, the political economy and globalization. Students will enrich their knowledge and skills that will help them in any career and in becoming more empowered and informed citizens

After this course, students should expect to begin thinking, reading, writing and acting as a specialist on comparative politics!  

Specific Learning Objectives 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

·         Understand a Range of Concepts, Theories and Approaches in Comparative Politics

·          Appreciate the Diversity of Political Perspectives and Outlooks

·         Frame Problems from Multiple Perspectives

·         Construct and Present their Own Interpretations of Political Events 

·         Recognize the Range and Variation in Forms of Political Power

·         Evaluate Government Approaches to Key Issues of Welfare and Inequality

·         Formulate their Own Opinions on Political Issues

·         Research Contemporary Political Issues


Class Participation/In-Class AssignmentsStudents are expected to read all the required reading before class to participate in discussion. Please note that more than THREE absences of any class session will significantly lower a student’s final participation grade. Regular patterns of tardiness will also negatively affect a student’s performance. Class participation will be assessed based on the quality of participation in the class, with higher marks given to students who relate inputs to the course readings and express individual ideas articulately and succinctly. Students are not evaluated on the volume that they say, but the degree to which their participation adds value to the discussion. Students are asked to turn their smart phones and other devices on silent mode and not use them during class time. Laptops are to be used for note-taking, not chatting and emailing during class time. Student distractions that take away from the overall class learning environment are strongly discouraged and will be assessed in class participation performance. As part of the learning process, students will be asked to participate in a series of in-class simulations and problem-solving tasks. These assignments will also comprise your course participation grade. 15%
Book AssessmentStudents are asked to read the assigned for the course in 2-3 double-spaced pages (1000-1500 words). These book assessments must address the political issues in the text and connect these issues to the course material. The review must develop an argument and reflect your own personal engagement with the material. Assessments will be evaluated based on their individuality, clarity, presentation, argument and knowledge of the issues in the book. This assignment must be delivered through the protocol outlined above by 5pm on Thursday, September 21st. The book will be discussed at the course dinner on Wednesday September 13th. 10%
Reading Reflection Pieces (Two for 7.5% each)These TWO reviews of 1000 words each will draw on the assigned course reading and class lecture. For each review, students are asked to prepare an analytical commentary on the issues raised in the reading and class discussion. Students should refer to at least one recommended reading and develop an argument. The reflection pieces must be turned in within two days of the class session by 5pm through the assignment protocol. are responsible for finishing these assignments before the 12th week of the course, before November 16th. 15%
Reading Oral PresentationStudents are asked to present one course reading before Week 12 of the semester, November 16th. Students will sign up in the second week of the course and readings will be on a first-signed up basis on the CHOICE program in MOODLE. All of the presentations should be no more than 5 minutes (with five minutes for potential questions), include a one-page written synopsis of the main questions and findings of the reading as well as the student’s own commentary. The written synopsis is due by 5pm of the class session day through the assignment protocol. Any power point presentation should be forwarded the midnight before. Strict time limits will be imposed. Students will be assessed on their ability to present material clearly and succinctly, the quality of their synopsis as well as their understanding of the reading and comparative case study selected. The chosen reading cannot coincide with the same session of a reflection assignment. 10%
Short Analytical PaperStudents are asked to submit an original paper of 2000-2500 words concisely examining one of the issues developed in the course. The paper must apply a clear theoretical question to a case study. It must develop an argument and use concrete evidence. Further guidelines on this paper will be provided. This assignment must be turned in through the assignment protocol noted above by 5pm on the due date. Tuesday, November 21st. No late papers will be accepted. 20%
Final Examination Students will be required to sit for a final examination at the end of term. This examination will include identifications, multiple choice questions and short answer questions that assess the comprehension of the course reading and class discussions. The test will include both objective and subjective questions that test knowledge and the ability to formulate analytical responses.30%

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.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Students are allowed three absences per semester, after which any absence for any reason other than serious matters outlined above or with written permission from the Dean's Office will affect the class participation component of the student's final grade. Students are strongly encouraged to attend class. 
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.
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.


Protocol for Handing in Written Assignments: Students must turn in all written assignments three ways. This assignment must be 1) emailed to the professor, 2) with a hard copy delivered to her office in the Tiber campus by 5pm on the due date and 3) an electronic copy delivered on through MOODLE to TURNITIN. This will require that you set up your own MOODLE account. 


WEEK 1 (August 27-September 2) Introducing Comparative Politics

Session 1 (August 28) Course Introduction
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 1.

Session 2 (August 30) Building Theory: Comparative Method Applied
Peter Katzenstein, Adam Przeworski, Theda Skocpol, et al. (1995) ‘The Role of Theory in Comparative Politics’ World Politics 48/1:1-25. 

WEEK 2 (September 3-9) State Formation and Types States

Session 3 (September 4) State Formation Trajectories
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 2, pp. 30-46
Francis Fukuyama, Political Order and Decay. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), Chapters 27-28, pp. 399-435
Case Study: England
Barrington Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993), Chapter 7, pp. 413-32 

Session 4 (September 6) From Predatory to Rentier: Types of States
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 2, pp. 46-61.
Case Study: Saudi Arabia
Paul Aarts and Carolien Roulants, Saudi Arabia: The Kingdom in Peril, (London: Hurst and Co, 2015) pp. 1-36, 135-141       

WEEK 3 (September 10-16) Political Culture and Religion

Session 5 (September 11) ‘Western’ and ‘Asian Values’
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 3, pp. 91-94.
Amartya Sen, “Democracy as a Universal Value,” Journal of Democracy, 10 (July 1999): 3-17    
Russell Bova, “Democracy and Liberty: The Cultural Connection,” Journal of Democracy, 8 (January 1997): 112-126
Mark Thompson, “Whatever Happened to ‘Asian Values’?” Journal of Democracy 12 (October 2001): 154-165
Christian Welzel and Russell Dalton, “Cultural Change in Asia and Beyond,” Asian Journal of Comparative Politics (June 2017), 112-132
Case Study: Singapore
Bilahari Kausikan, “Governance that Works,” Journal of Democracy, 8 (April 1997): 24-34.

Session 6: (September 13) Clash of Civilizations
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 3, pp. 77-90
Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996), pp. 192-198.
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 7
Case Study: ISIS
Joby Warrick. Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS. (New York: Anchor, Penguin, 2016), pp. 267-307.

**Course Dinner Discussion on Hillbilly Elergy on Wednesday, September 13, 7:30pm**

WEEK 4 (September 17-23) Social Cleavages, Nationalism and Ethnicity 

Session 7 (September 18): Nationalism and Nationhood
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 3, pp. 62-76.
Sara Rich Dorman. “The Varieties of Nationalism in Africa,” Current History, (May 2015), pp. 189-193.
Case Study: Nigeria
Brandon Kendhammer. “Nigeria’s New Democratic Dawn,” Current History, (May 2015), 170-176.
Ebenezer Obadare, “Perspective: A Nigerian President’s Disappointing Return,” Current History, May 2017, Vol 116, No. 790, pp. 194-96

Session 8 (September 20): Left and Right Politics
Brendan O’Leary. “Europe’s Embers of Nationalism,” Current History, (March 2015)
Case Study: Italy and United Kingdom
David Art. “Why 2013 is not 1933: The Radical Right in Europe,” Current History (March 2013)

Session 9 (September 22): Class Field Trip 8:30-11am

***Book Assessment Due, Thursday, September 21st by 5pm***

WEEK 5 (September 24-30) Political Parties, Elections and Voting Behavior

Session 10 (September 25) Political Parties and Voting Behavior
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 5, pp. 158-68.
Pippa Norris (eds.) Comparing Democracies 2: New Challenges in the Study of Elections and Voting, (New York: Sage Publications, 2002), Chapter 7
David M. Farrell, “Campaign Strategies and Tactics,” in Lawrence Le Du et. Al. Comparing Democracies: Elections and Voting in Comparative Perspective, (New York: Sage Publications, 2002), Chapter 6
Case Studies: United States and Italy

Session 11 (September 27) Elections and Representation

Jan Teorell, Marino Torcal and Jose Ramon Montero. “Political Participation: Mapping the Terrain,” In Jan van Deth, Jose Ramon Montero and Anders Westholm (eds.) Citizenship and Involvement in European Democracies, (London: Routledge, 2007), Ch. 13, pp. 334-35
Christian Achen & Larry Bartels, Democracy for Realists: Why Elections do not Produce Responsive Government (Princeton, 2016), Chapter 1.
Russell J. Dalton & Christian Welzel (eds), The Civic Culture Transformed: From Allegiant to Assertive Citizens (Cambridge, 2014), Chapter 1. 

WEEK 6 (October 1-7) Research and Comparative Politics

Session 12 (October 2): Conducting Research on Comparative Politics  

Library Session for Comparative Politics
Research on elections and electoral systems in Italy and United States 

*Session 13 (October 4): Studying Elections
Field Assignment on Italian and US Elections: Conduct Interviews. No class.

WEEK 7 (October 8-14) Political Mobilization and Leadership

Session 14 (October 9) Movements, Protest, Populism and Disengagement

Charles Tilly and Leslie Wood. Social Movements, 1768-2008. (New York: Paradigm Publishers, 2009), pp. 1-37

Jan Werner-Muller, What is Populism? (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), pp. 41-74.

Case Study: Occupy Movements

William A. Gamson, and Micah L. Sifry. "The# Occupy movement: an introduction." The Sociological Quarterly 54, no. 2 (2013): 159-163

Session 15 (October 11) Role of Leadership, Ideas and Charisma

Max Weber. “The Three Pure Types of Legitimate Authority, Legal Authority with a Bureaucratic Administrative Staff, Traditional Authority, Charismatic Authority, The Routinization of Charisma, “The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, (N.Y.: The Free Press, 1984). pp. 328-336, 341-346, 358-373.

Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism,” http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/reading/germany/mussolini.htm

The Futurist Manifesto, http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/T4PM/futurist-manifesto.html and paintings, http://www.cartridgesave.co.uk/news/20-dynamic-paintings-from-the-italian-futurists/

Hitler,“Triumph des Willens”


***Students must have turned in at least one Reading Reflection by this week, October 12th***           

WEEK 8 (October 15-21) Democracy

Session 16 (October 16) Defining and Measuring Democracy

Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 5, pp. 136-142, 168-9.

Philippe Schmitter and Terry Karl, "What Democracy Is...and Is Not," Journal of Democracy 2 (July 1991): 75-88

Larry Diamond, Emily Green and William Gallery “Measuring Democracy,” in Larry Diamond, In Search of Democracy, (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 46-75.

Session 17 (October 18) Political Institutions and Democratic Governance
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 5, pp. 148-157.
Larry Diamond and Leonardo Morlino. “The Quality of Democracy: An Overview.” Journal of Democracy, 15 (October 2004): 20-31.
Case Study: India
Ashutosh Varshney, “India’s Democracy at 70: Growth, Inequality and Nationalism,” Journal of Democracy, (July 2017), 28/3: 41-51.

WEEK 9 (October 22-28) Regime Change: Democratization 

Session 18 (October 23) Early Waves of Democratization
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 5, pp. 143-47.
Larry Diamond, “Democracy’s Third Wave Today,” Current History, November 2011. 110:299-307
Philippe C. Schmitter. “Twenty-Five Years, Fifteen Findings.” Journal of Democracy, 21 (January 2010): 17-28.

*Session 19 (October 25) Contemporary Democratization
Field Assignment State of Democracy in Chosen Country (not your own)

WEEK 10 (October 29-November 4) Reflections Week 

Session 20 (October 30) No Class (Make-up Session was Fieldtrip)

(November 1) National Holiday. No Class.

WEEK 11 (November 5-11) Authoritarian Regimes

Session 21 (November 6) Types of Authoritarian Regimes
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 6
Ivan Krastev. “Paradoxes of the New Authoritarianism,” Journal of Democracy, 22 (April 2011):5-16
Case Studies: Egypt and Thailand
Emad El-Din Shahin. “Egypt’s Revolution Turned on its Head,” Current History (December 2015), 114: 343-348
Claudio Sopranzetti, “The Tightening Authoritarian Grip on Thailand,” Current History, (September 2017), 116/791: 230-34 

Session 22 (November 8) Authoritarian Resilience
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 9
Alexander Cooley, “Countering Democratic Norms,” Journal of Democracy, 26 (October 2015):49-63.
Case Studies: China
Minxin Pei. “Transition in China? More Likely Than You Think.” Journal of Democracy, 27/4, 2016. pp. 5-20. 

WEEK 12 (November 12-18) Democratic Decay and Deconsolidation

Session 23 (November 13) Democratic Decay
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 8            
Case Studies: Russia and Eastern Europe/ Turkey
Samuel A. Greene. “The End of Ambiguity in Russia,” Current History (October 2015), pp. 251-258.
Holly Case, “Perspective: Shape-Shifting Illiberalism in East-Central Europe,” Current History, Vol. 116 (March 2017), pp. 112-116.
Aaron Stein, “Take to the Streets: Turkey’s Failed Coup One Year Later,” War on the Rocks, July 14, 2017. https://warontherocks.com/2017/07/take-to-the-streets-turkeys-failed-coup-one-year-later/ 

Session 24 (November 15) Political Polarization and Democratic Deconsolidation
Takis Pappas. “The Specter Haunting Europe: Distinguishing Liberal Democracy’s Challengers,” Journal of Democracy, 27/4, 2016. pp. 22-36.
Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk, “The Signs of Democratic Deconsolidation,” Journal of Democracy (January 2017), 28/2: 5-16
Thomas Carothers and Richard Young, “Is Democracy Dying? Seeing through the Boom and Gloom,” Foreign Affairs (April 2017). 

***Last Week for Reading Reflections and Oral Presentations***

WEEK 13 (November 19-23) Inequality and Welfare

Session 25 (November 20): Inequality
Francis Fukuyama. “Dealing with Inequality,” Journal of Democracy, 22 (July 2011), 79-89.
Larry Bartels, Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), Introduction, pp. 1-28.            
Alfred Stepan and Juan J. Linz. “Comparative Perspectives on Inequality and the Quality of Democracy in the United States. Perspectives on Politics, 9(4) (2011): 841-856. 

Session 26 (November 22): Welfare
Giovanni Carbone. “The Consequences of Democracy.” Journal of Democracy, 20 (April 2009): 123-137.
Guiliano Bonoli. “Europe’s Social Safety Net Under Pressures,” Current History, (March 2016), 115:102-107. 

*** Short Analytical Paper Due, Tuesday, November 21st by 5pm***

WEEK 14 (November 26-December 2) Governance, Development and Globalization

Session 27 (November 27) Development & Good Governance    
Patrick H. O’Neill, Essentials of Comparative Politics, Chapter 10
Jeffery Sachs, “The Development Challenge,” Foreign Affairs, March/April, 2005.
William Easterly, “Was Development Assistance a Mistake?” http://williameasterly.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/50_easterly_wasdevelopmentassistanceamistake_prp.pdf
Susan Rose Ackerman Corruption: A study in political economy. (New York: Academic Press, 2013), pp. 211-233.
“The Wages of Sin” The Economist, January 30th 2016

Session 28 (November 28) Globalization
Nathaniel Persily, “Can Democracy Survive the Internet,” Journal of Democracy,(April 2017), 28/3: 63-76. 

Session 29 (December 1) Exam Review (Optional)

WEEK 15 (December 4-8) Final Examination TBD