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CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL THOUGHT

CODE: UK00302 SEMESTER 1, SESSION 20010/11


LECTURER OFFICE TELEPHONE E-MAIL CONSULTATION : DR. ANANTHA RAMAN GOVINDASAMY : ROOM NO.24, LEVEL 1, PPIB : 088-320000 EXT. 5275 : anan@ums.edu.my : FRIDAY (3:30 5:00 PM)

Synopsis

This introductory level course exposes the student to the political thought, philosophy, theory and ideas that shape the fundamental questions and problem of political life in the contemporary world. The central questions of i) who gets what when, and how, ii) how a society should function, and iii) how it actually functions, as well as key political principles and values like freedom, liberty, equality, justice, and rights are explored via the appreciation of both contemporary mainstream and alternative political ideologies. Emphasis is given to developing the ability of the student to think, understand, analyse, evaluate, and apply these ideas and thought on current empirical examples. This course also intends to promote critical thinking, and logical discourse amongst students in comprehending the political transformations of the contemporary world.

Course Objectives

To introduce and expose the student to contemporary political thought, philosophy, theory, and ideas. To provide understanding, and to encourage the student to think, analyse, and evaluate the fundamental problem and questions of the contemporary political world. To enable the student to apply their knowledge in various aspects of political life based on current empirical examples. To promote critical thinking, and logical discourse amongst students in comprehending the political transformations of the contemporary world. To develop the soft skills of students, particularly the ability to express their respective views/ideas, both orally (participation in class discussions), and in writing (essay-oriented assignment), and to enable them to do so, in a critical, analytical, clear, and effective manner. To cultivate open-mindedness amongst students, namely their ability to think openly and rationally, not mentioning, respect different perspectives, viewpoints, and discourses.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students shall be: familiar with both mainstream and alternative political thought, philosophy, theory, and ideas in the contemporary world. able to understand, think, analyse, and evaluate the political questions and problems of the contemporary world. able to apply their knowledge in various aspects of political life based on current empirical examples. able to develop critical thinking and logical discourse in comprehending the political transformations of the contemporary world. able to express and communicate their views in a critical, analytical, clear, and effective manner.

COURSE SYLLABUS / OUTLINE


Introduction (Week 1)

Course description Aims and objectives Learning outcomes Brief summary of lecture themes/topics Methods of assessment Criteria for assignment/project paper Essential and suggested readings Question and Answer session

Introduction to Politics and Political Studies (Week 1-2)


General and specific understanding/s of politics and political studies Sub-fields of Political studies/political science What is political thought? Why is political thought/philosophy important? The fundamental problems/questions and debate in political thought Political Thought/Philosophy: Traditional, Modern, and Contemporary Summary

Democracy (Week 2 4)

Introduction and Definition/s The Historical Background/Legacy of Democracy The Social Conditions for Democracy Models of Democracy Principles of Democracy
Citizen Involvement/Paticipation Elitism; Pluralism; Corporatism and Participatory Democracy Representation Rule of Law The Electoral System Equality political equality; Equality before the Law; Equality of Opportunity; Economic Equality, Social Equality

Freedom, Liberty and Rights Natural Rights and Civil Rights; Types of Liberty Current Trends Democratisation; Civil Society; Group Rights Summary

Capitalism and Socialism (Week 5-6)

Democratic Capitalism - The principles of Democratic Capitalism - Capitalism and Democracy - Criticisms of Democratic Capitalism - The Problem of Welfare Democratic Socialism -The Principles of Democratic Socialism - Socialism and Democracy - Criticisms of Democratic Socialism - Market Socialism - Developmental Socialism Current Trends - The Third Way - Economic Democracy - Cooperation - Communal Living Summary

Conservatism and Liberalism (Week 8-9) Conservatism Liberalism Contemporary Conservatism and Liberalism Liberalism dan Comunitarianism Extreme Right/Ultra-right Current Trend Summary Feminism (Week 10-11) The Development of Feminist Thought The Nature of Feminism: The Personal is Political Sex and Gender/Sexism - Socialisation; Religion, and Language The Nature and Characteristics of Oppression and Subordination Equality and Differences The Feminist Response Current Trend Voting Rights and Votes for Women; Multiculturalism; Reproductive Rights Summary

Anarchism and Libertarianism (Week 11-12)


The Principles of Anarchism Collectivist Anarchism Individualist Anarchism Anarcho-Capitalism Libertarianism Anarchist Social Thought Contemporary Trends Anarchism and Globalism Summary

Nationalism (Week 13)


Definitions & Understandings of the Concepts of Nation, Nationalism, & Nation-state Ideas and Fundamental Problem/Questions Ancient or Modern? Ethnic or Civic? The Rise and Spread of Nationalism Challenges towards Nationalism: Regionalism, Cosmopolitanism; Globalisation Nationalism in Reality: Issues and Practices The Janus-faced nature of Nationalism: Builder and/or Destroyer Current Trends Immigration; Separatism, Nationalist Conflicts Summary

METHODS OF ASSESSMENT

Semester Assignment - Project paper Mid-Semester Test Final Examination GRAND TOTAL

- 40% - 30% - 30% 100%

B.1 CRITERIA FOR PROJECT PAPER

Type of Project Topic/Title

: Group Essay (1 - 5 members per group) : To be Determined by Group (Essay topic must be directly related to course syllabus)

Essay Instructions Each group must produce a thesis-defended essay. This assignment requires group members to discuss and brainstorm, to develop an essay topic, which is interesting, yet directly related to the lecture topics. It is compulsory for each group to prepare a proposal and essay framework/ outline (single page) for the chosen topic. Group members are required to meet, discuss, negotiate with, and gain approval from the lecturer regarding the proposed topic during Week No.4. All groups are required to submit their respective assignments before or ON WEEK-8 2011 at my office. Late submissions shall incur an automatic penalty of 20 marks deduction.

Format of Essay: Please ensure that your essay fulfills the following specifications: Must be typed (double-spaced) using font style Tahoma size 11. Must be printed on one side of a sheet (no duplex printing allowed). Must be printed on white A4 papers. Must be paginated. Word limit shall be no more than 5,000 words. The total word count must be declared at the end of the essay. Must be in the form of an academic writing, with proper citations, references, and bibliography. For referencing style/system, please use either footnotes or Harvard style/system. Must have a front cover that contains the following information: (1) Essay topic/title; (2) course code and title/name (3) Semester 1, Session 2011/12; (4) names of group members, and (5) student numbers. These information must be printed using font style Tahoma, size 12, and in capital letters. The front cover of the essay must be printed on white A4 paper. You are strictly not permitted to use coloured/scented paper and pvc cover. Must be bound using staples and tape. You are strictly not permitted to use ring binding.

Language

Essays must be written in Bahasa Malaysia/Melayu, or English Language.

Grading of Essay

Your essay will be graded based on FOUR elements: (i) content ii) strength and clarity of argument/s (iii) your understanding of the topic and iv) language and writing styles.

B.2.

Mid-Semester Test

The Mid-Semester Test shall be held in Week No.10. Students will be informed in due course regarding the exact date. It is compulsory for all students of this course to sit for the Test. Failure to do so without any valid or justifiable reason shall lead to one being deemed as having failed to fulfill the requirements of the course, and therefore, shall be dealt with the maximum penalty (outright failure) .

B.3.

Final Examination

The Final Examination shall take place during the official examination period. The finalised exam schedule will be determined by the Academic Services Department. It is compulsory for all students to sit for the exam. If a student fails to do so, he/she shall be deemed as having failed to complete the components of assessment for this course, and therefore shall be automatically failed (outright failure). In terms of the examination format, the exam paper shall be divided into two sections. Section A comprises long essay questions, while Section B consists of a series of questions that require the student to provide short and concise answers.

ESSENTIAL READINGS AND GENERAL REFERENCES


Anderson, Benedict. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. Dobson, Andrew. 2003. Citizenship and the Environment. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Farrelly, Colin (ed.). 2004. Contemporary Political Theory: A Reader. London: Sage. Goodin, Robert E. & Philip Pettit (eds.). 1999. A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell. _________. (eds.). 2006. Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology (2nd Edn.). Oxford: Blackwell. Huntington, Samuel P. 1996. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster. Kylimcka, Will. 2002. Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction. (2nd Edn.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rosen, Michael & Wolff, Jonathan. (eds.) 1999. Political Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Vincent, Andrew. 1992. Modern Political Ideologies. Oxford: Blackwell. * Apart from the above list of suggested readings, students are strongly encourage to read and refer to additional reading materials that are both directly and indirectly related to the lecture topics. Additional reading materials can be obtained from: i) UMS Library (Politics Section / Book Shelves J; JA JC) ii), local/international magazines/newspapers/journals (for empirical examples) iii) electronic resources (e-journal; website, etc.)

COURSE POLICY
D.1 Attendance D.1.1. Students MUST attend all lectures. You are only allowed to be absent if you have reasonable and/or justifiable excuse/s (i.e. emergency, illness, official exemption from school, accident, etc.). If you fail to attend a lecture, but do have reasonable and/or justifiable excuse/s, you are required to furnish the course lecturer with an official letter together with any document/proof from the relevant authority that supports your reasons (i.e. medical certificate/letter from UMS panel of doctors). If you do not have any letter/ document of support, but you have what you deem as a strong/valid reason to be absent, you are still required to furnish the course lecturer with a show-cause letter explaining the reason/s for your non-attendance. Students, who go absent without official leave (AWOL), and fail to provide any show-cause letter, shall be penalised and automatically given grade D. You must be honest in explaining your failure to attend my lectures. If there is proof that a student has been dishonest, he/she shall be penalised and given grade E.

D.1.1.2. Attendance Sheet

I will be distributing the attendance sheet during every lecture, and you are required to put your initials/signature on the respective lecture date found on the sheet. You are strictly not allowed to sign in for the other lecture dates in the attendance sheet. Students found to have committed this grave offense shall be penalised and automatically given grade D. You are strictly not allowed to sign in on behalf of your colleagues/lecture mates who are absent. I will be conducting occasional and random checks. Any student absent from a specific lecture day/date, but found to have their signature/initials on the related space/box in the attendance sheet shall be penalized and given grade E. The student who signed on behalf (deemed as conspirator) shall be equally penalised, and given a similar grade. You are not allowed to leave the lecture hall at any time when the lecture is commencing without permission from the course lecturer. Only the lecturer has the right to end the lecture. Students found to have left the lecture hall without permission before the end of the lecture session will be required to give the lecturer a valid explanation for this act of disobedience. Failure to do so, and/or if the explanation is found to be unsatisfactory, the student shall be penalized and given grade D.

D.1.1.3 Late attendance

You are not allowed to be late for lectures. You must strive to come on time and be punctual.

D.2. Behaviour/Attitude in Class

You are strictly not allowed to leave the lecture hall to take a break while the lecture is commencing. When natures calling, and you need to go to the restroom, please ask for permission from the course lecturer before doing so. You are strictly not allowed to (1) make noise, (2) play around, (3) chat with your neighbour/s, (4) behave in an inappropriate manner (5) not pay attention (i.e. texting or answering the mobile, napping etc.) during lectures and/or class discussions. Those found to have committed misbehaviour (1), (2), (3), (4) and/or (5) shall be asked to leave the lecture hall with immediate effect.
You are requested to pay attention and listen to your fellow colleagues/classmates when they are expressing their views and ideas during permitted lecture intervals which are meant for discussions. You are requested to wait for your turn if you would like to contribute to the class discussion. Please put up your hand, if you intend to do so during the discussion.

D.3.

Policy on Academic Dishonesty

I will not tolerate/compromise on any form of plagiarism, and act of dishonesty (i.e. collusion, copying, cheating, etc.) that has been committed, or any attempt to do so by any student. Students found to have committed these grave offences, shall be penalized and given grade E. If two essays are found to be in any way similar in terms of their contents, both groups of students shall be penalized and given grade E.