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Department of Political Science Dr.

Fariborz Mokhtari

POLS 71 Summer 2013

Comparative Political Systems

This is a fast-paced course offered online with emphasis on reading, analytical thinking, and writing. Comparative politics is essential to the understanding of political systems, but the comparison may appear as comparing apples and oranges. Thus understanding why comparing is desirable, and mastering how to compare, will be two essential objectives of the course.

Required Reading: TEXT: G. Bingham Powell, Jr., R.J. Dalton, K. Strom, Comparative Politics Today: A World View (Longman). The book could be acquired through the publisher (www.pearsonhighered.com), or online booksellers. ARTICLES: Karl Popper, The Open Society and its enemies revisited, The Economist, April 23, 1988, p. 19-23. (On Reserve) F. Mokhtari, Irans 1953 Coup Revisited: Internal Dynamics v. External Intrigue, The Middle East Journal, v.62, no. 3, Summer 2008, p. 457-488. (On Reserve) Expectations: Brief written analysis of reading assignments and relevant current events, willingness to express a position, and readiness to present sensible arguments are indicative of a students grasp of the assigned topics. Please tolerate challenges to your ideas and feel comfortable to engage your colleagues. Keep up with the news and read a good newspaper daily, a good news magazine weekly, and brows through scholarly journals at a library when you can to sharpen your skill for thoughtful analysis. Intellectual curiosity, the basic requirement for learning, is expected and appreciated. Students will be asked to provide brief analytical opinions on pressing political concerns each week.

Grading: Evaluation of students will be based on submitted analytical statements and a final exam. The written statements are to be brief, but must cover each chapter of the reading assigned for the week. Three chapters are assigned for each week, thus three statements per week are required, but could be presented in a single weekly brief. The briefs are to reflect the students understanding, and thoughtful analysis of the reading. I expect one brief covering three chapters (or more if so assigned) per week. The content of each brief may be three short paragraphs, but no longer than two standard pages. If a chapter deals with electoral systems, I expect a brief that indicates the student has grasped what single member district and proportional elections are, and their impacts on the societies that have selected one or the other. The briefs are expected by noon every Saturday, and will receive 40% of the grade for the course. The final exam question(s) will be given 24 hours before the deadline at the end of the course and will receive 40% of the grade with the remaining 20% reserved for the frequency and quality of participation in discussions. Please note that late submissions will be penalized by 50% per day. A submission worthy of a grade of 80, if turned in a single day late will thus be graded 40.

It is my sincere wish that every student who takes this course succeeds. I therefore urge anyone who registers for the course to access and utilize the required readings ahead of time. I will conduct the online course in a manner similar to that of a seminar. Questions will be posed to stimulate discussion with the goal of collective learning, as if sitting in a seminar room. Class preparation is therefore essential. I like to make my presentations accessible to all and at the same time. Thus I respond to a question as if asked in a seminar room, thus addressing everyone to benefit all students taking the course. I encourage student discussions, follow them daily, and make one daily observation after reading them. My one daily observation will be applicable to all participants, for it would not be practical for me to respond to every entry of every student separately every day. I encourage students to engage in discussion with colleagues by posting comments. Students often detect weaknesses in their fellow students arguments. That should be seen as a great learning opportunity to enhance ones analytical and critical thinking. Since I cannot be online at all times, I will make every effort to reply to e-mail inquiries within 36 hours. The textbook may be acquired from the UVM bookstore or through online distributors and book sellers.

The journal articles assigned are on reserve for the course through the UVM Library. An interesting frame of mind that facilitates success in learning online is to imagine that an avatar of your design is taking the course. Thus if you detect the avatar is not doing as well as it should, you would try to figure out the design problem and correct it to improve the avatars performance. Finally, to avoid the possibility of losing an assignment in cyberspace, send a duplicate copy to my e-mail address at every submission time.

Reading Assignment First Week: 7/01 Chapter 1, 7/02 Chapter 2, 7/03 Chapter 3, 7/04 7/05

Introduction: Issues in Comparative Politics Comparing Political Systems Political Culture & Political Socialization Review & Discussion Brief Submission Due

Second Week: 7/08 Chapter 4, Interest Articulation 7/09 Chapter 5 Interest Aggregation 7/10 Chapters 6 & 7, Policymaking 7/11 Review & Popper on Democracy & Elections/Discussion 7/12 Brief Submission Due Third Week: 7/15 Chapter 8, 7/16 Chapter 9, 7/17 Chapter 10, 7/18 7/19 Fourth Week: 7/22 Chapter 11, 7/23 Chapter 12, 7/24 Chapter 13, 7/25 7/26 Fifth Week: 7/29 Chapter 14, 7/30 Chapter 15, 7/31 Chapter 16, 8/01 MEJ 8/02

Britain France Germany Review & Discussion Brief Submission Due

Japan Russia China Review & Discussion Brief Submission Due

Mexico Brazil Iran Irans 1953 Coup Revisited/Review & Discussion Brief Submission Due

Sixth Week: 8/05 Chapter 17, 8/06 Chapter 18, 8/07 Chapter 19, 8/08 8/09

India Nigeria The United States Review & Discussion Exam Question(s) will be provided Exam Answers Due by 10:00 AM, Eastern Standard Time