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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "PL 223-2"
COURSE NAME: "Comparative Politics"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Gabriele Simoncini
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00 PM 4:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS:

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 first part of this course covers the different concepts of comparative political analysis, while the second part compares and contrasts different political systems in a global context.  The course analyses political institutions, functions, and entities; discussing reasons, and methods.  Political culture, interest articulation, and political socialization are treated.  Emphasis will be placed on the issues of policy making, government, elections, and political parties.  The course provides a comparative analysis of different states’ political systems, including United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China.  The class format includes lectures, discussion, team work, presentations, and audiovisual materials.  The students will be asked to produce a final research project, making extensive personal use of information and communication technology.  Guest speakers and field trips are planned.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

Students will learn how to critically analyze processes and concepts related to different political systems.  They will be able to relate government, politics, and players within the political arena and society.  Students will learn to contextualize and explain the process of government and politics with current international events.  Students will be capable of critical analysis applied to the changing realities of different political systems in a global context.  Students will develop an ability to conduct basic research, and organize and present their findings in a logical and independent way.

TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Principles of Comparative Politics.Mahler G. S.Pearson, 2013.9780205852529)  
Comparative Politics. A Theoretical Framework.Powell G. B. et al.,Longman, 2012. 9780205082865)   
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Comparative Politics Today: A World View. Pearson 2011. Bingham Powell G.,Pearson 2011. 0205109136  
Comparative Politics in Transition.McCormick J., Wadsworth, 2011.1111832579  

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Introduction to Comparative Government. Curtis M. et al., Longman, 2006.0321364813  
Introduction to Comparative Politics.Kesselman M. et al.,Cengage, 2006.1111831823  
Comparative Politics.Caramani D.,Oxford, 2011.0199574979  
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Class ParticipatonClass Attendance and Participation: Regular attendance and active participation in class is required. Attendance requirements: A maximum of four absences are allowed throughout the semester. Any additional absence will result in a penalization of one grade level (e.g.: from B+ to B for five absences, B+ to B- for six absences, B+ to C+ for seven absences, etc.). Two latenesses count for one absence. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class by calling students’ names. Students not answering will be marked absent. Students arrived late will ask the instructor to be marked late at the end of the class, after which attendance records will not be modified. Use of Computers in class: The use of personal computers and technological devices in class is not permitted except for taking notes, or contributing to class activity during designated times. Students not respecting the rule will be penalized by getting no points in the Class Participation requirement (worth 10% of the final grade). Recording and filming in class is not allowed. 10%
Midterm ExamMidterm and final exam have the same format. The exams consist of two parts of equal value. The first part is an essay, the student will choose from one of three proposed themes, and will write a well-organized essay. The second part of the exam consists of ten terms to be concisely defined.20%
Final ExamMidterm and final exam have the same format. The exams consist of two parts of equal value. The first part is an essay, the student will choose from one of three proposed themes, and will write a well-organized essay. The second part of the exam consists of ten terms to be concisely defined.25%
Final research project with proposal and portfolioThe final research project (3,000 words) will be on any topic of the student’s choice related to the class program. The topic should be precisely defined and worthy of investigation. An electronic version of the project must be given to the instructor in class, in person, during any of the last three classes. Files sent by email are not accepted. The deadline is the last class. No materials will be accepted past the deadline. To produce the final project, students will receive written instructions in class. During the semester, students will show the instructor their final project work in progress and receive checks. Portfolio: In order to produce their final papers, students will keep a portfolio of research materials during the semester. The portfolio will be shared with, and evaluated by the instructor. The production of the final paper is a work in progress during the semester. The portfolio and the paper project are progressive steps toward completion of the final paper. A portfolio containing samples of reference materials must be attached to the final project.30%
Presentation, reports, and other assignmentsIn-class Presentation: Students are required give a short individual or team presentation on a specific topic of their choice, approved by the instructor and related to the class program. The presentation will be well-organized, concise, and include (when opportune) audiovisual and electronic materials. A draft presentation must be submitted to the instructor before presenting in class. An electronic version of the presentation must be given to the instructor in class, in person, during any of the last three classes. Files send by email are not accepted. The deadline is the last class. No materials will be accepted past the deadline. 15%
ActivitiesLibrary sessions: The class will meet sometimes in the library to receive instruction on electronic tools and sources. Individual assistance will be provided to the students for their research. To be announced. Guest speakers: Guest speakers expert in the fields related to the program may be invited during the semester. To be announced. Field trips: Field trips may be scheduled during the semester in connection with ongoing cultural events of interest in Rome. To be announced.  

-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 cour
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:
A maximum of four absences are allowed throughout the semester.  Any additional absence will result in a penalization of one grade level (e.g.: from B+ to B for five absences, B+ to B- for six absences, B+ to C+ for seven absences, etc.).  Two latenesses count for one absence.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class by calling students’ names.  Students not answering will be marked absent. Students arrived late will ask the instructor to be market late at the end of the class, after which attendance records will not be modified.
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

Program:

 Unit    1                   Introduction to the Course.  Methodology.  Definitions. 

 (Jan. 18, 20)                                                                                                                            (Mahler, p. xix-xxiv; Powell, p. 1 - 17; assigned readings)

 Unit    2                   Comparative Political Analysis.  The Political System.  Political Culture.  The Comparative Method.

(Jan. 25, 27)                                                                                                                                (Mahler, p. 1 - 26; Powell, p. 18 - 37; assigned readings)

 Unit    3                   Constitutions and Ideologies.  Constitutions as Political Structures.  Ideologies.  Classification of Regimes

(Feb. 1, 3)                                                                                                                                    (Mahler, p. 27 - 48; Powell, p. 38 - 45; assigned readings)

 Unit    4                   Legislative Institutions.  The Legislative Process.  Executive Institutions.  Coalition Governments.

(Feb. 8, 10, 12)                                                                                                                           (Mahler, p. 49 - 107; Powell, p. 46 - 56; assigned readings)

 Unit    5                   Judicial Institutions.  The Idea of Law.  Political Behavior.  Political Environment.  Role of the Political Elite.

(Feb. 15, 17)                                                                                                                           (Mahler, p. 108 - 153; Powell, p. 57 - 74; assigned readings)

 Unit    6                   Pluralism.  Corporatism.  Interest Groups.  Political Parties.  Social Movements.

(Feb. 22, 24)                                                                                                                           (Mahler, p. 154 - 176; Powell, p. 75 - 80; assigned readings)

 Unit    7                   The British Political System.  The British Constitutional System.  Executive and Legislative Structures.

(Mar. 1, 3*)                                                                                                                             (Powell, p. 194 - 228; Powell, p. 81 - 94; assigned readings)

                    * MIDTERM EXAM

 Unit    8                    The German Political System.  Federalism.  Executive and Legislative Structures.  Policymaking.

(Mar. 15, 17)                                                                                                                           (Mahler, p. 262 - 291; Powell, p. 95 - 105; assigned readings)

 Unit    9                   The Italian Political System.  Italian Power Structure.  State Institutions. Political Culture. Political Parties.

(Mar. 22, 24)                                                                                                                                                          (Powell, p. 106 - 122; assigned readings)

 Unit  10                   The European Union.  European Commission, European Union Council.  European Parliament.

 (Mar 29, 31*)                                                                                                                                                     (Powell, p. 123 - 132; assigned readings)

                    * PROJECT  PROPOSAL

Unit  11                   Political Systems Compared.  Policy-Making Process.  Public Policy.

 (Apr. 5)                                                                                                                          (Mahler, p. 176 - 193; Powell, p. 133 - 145; assigned readings)

 Unit  12                   The Russian Political System.  Ideology.  The Political Heritage.  Federalism.  Political Succession.

(Apr. 11, 14)                                                                                                                       (Mahler, p. 323 - 352; Powell, p. 146 - 166; assigned readings)

 Unit  13                   The Chinese Political System.

 (Apr. 19, 21)                                                                                                             (Mahler, p. 354 – 387; Powell, p. 167 - 182; assigned readings)

 Unit  14                   Globalization.  Integration and Interdependence. 

 (Apr. 26,28*)                                                                                                                                                       (Powell, p. 182 - 200; assigned readings)

                  * FINAL RESEARCH PROJECT  * PORTFOLIO

 (May 3 - May 7, t.b.s.*)

                          * FINAL EXAM

Films/Audiovisual Materials Sessions:

(1.   (date t.b.s.) at 19:30)          “on power”

(2.  (date t.b.s.) at 19:30)           “on diversity”

(3.  (date t.b.s.) at 19:30)           “on ideology”