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PSC 302: Comparative Government, Syllabus

revised 21 Aug. 2016, by Jeremy Lewis.

Catalog description
Comparison of institutions and processes of major liberal democracies, particularly in Western Europe. Development of European Union and political concepts in social democracies. Other types of government such as utopian, authoritarian and totalitarian. Comparison and contrast with processes, institutions and values in the United States.
200 level course recommended.

Course objectives
Developing critical understanding of the comparison of political systems
Developing knowledge in particular of the advanced Western European democracies
Student Learning Objectives Students will demonstrate these expected outcomes in See the Requirements page for details.
A political science course-by-conference normally requires the same tests, papers and examinations as the regular course, except that any class session that is missed, shall be replaced with an essay of one typed page, single-spaced  on the session's reading or topic -- or, at the discretion of the instructor, by a tutorial session.
Books (click here for latest information on editions)
1. Crepaz, Markus, and Jurg Steiner, Jurg. European Democracies, New York: Longman, Pearson. (Entire.) Steiner gives a lively explanation of the contrasts in political values and practice found in Europe, and compares them with those found in the USA.

Common to more than one course:
2. Hauss, Charles. Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges.  A well-written, incisive country-by-country analysis of types of regime, and selections on major developed nations and the European Union.  Selected chapters; other chapters will be used in PSC 309.

3. Curtis, Michael (ed) The Great Political Theories, vol. II (Selected chapters from the political science companion reader, useful in most PSC classes).

4. Material on current affairs or types of global government may be placed in an electronic dropbox or physical library reserve.

In this course you will engage in a broader global comparison of government in different types of regime around the world. Then you will explore more carefully those advanced industrial political systems most comparable to the US: West European politics, public policy and institutions. you will find in Steiner's book topical and comparative analysis of West European governments generally, with (in Hauss's text and our lectures) case studies of British, French, Italian, Swedish and German government which present interesting contrasts with American politics. You will learn through texts and video documentaries about the development of the European Union, perhaps spotting some similarities with dilemmas the American Founders faced two centuries ago. You must expect to discuss current international affairs, such as a European crisis, even where this postpones part of the syllabus.

Thus you will experience the modern comparative, topical and supranational approaches with the traditional country-by-country method. You should by the end of the course understand Western European social democratic states; and how the European system is constantly changing over time. You will have an introductory understanding of the context of the many developing countries, whose problems of development are often more challenging than those found in the advanced industrial states.

The style of the course will be a reading-based seminar with students contributing essays, presentations and a research paper. Equipment and time permitting, we shall also explore western European sources on the World Wide Web.

Behavior: you are expected to comply with the HC Honor Code and with specific rules placed on our Requirements page above.

HC's attendance policy

Students are expected to attend all classes.
My Specific Attendance Policy
While school sanctioned excuses will not count against you, absences reduce your potential contribution to class, and absences in excess of four contact hours will reduce your class participation score.
HC's Policy on completion of absence related work
A specific policy for completion of absence related work is up to the individual instructor.  The instructor must state the policy in the course syllabus.  The specific policy must not penalize a student for participation in a documented College sanctioned event or for a documented medical, personal or family emergency.  [Also requires prior notification via a new online form, and verification by a coach, or similar]
My specific policy on completion of absence related work
Late completion of tests or other graded exercises in class will only be permitted in cases with documented, prior notification and documented excuses from a coach, medical doctor or similar authority.
Grading Policy
See my timetable of weekly topics and deliverable documents (or click on the course code on masthead)
See my Requirements page
Support Services for Students with Disabilities
Faculty at Huntingdon College make every effort to accommodate unique and special needs of students with respect to speech, hearing, vision, seating, or other possible adaptions. Please notify the Disability Services Intake Coordinator, Ms. Camilla Irvin, as soon as possible of requested accommodations.
Staton Center for Learning Enrichment
The Center for Writing and Critical Thinking, located in Jackson 103, provides support at all levels to students working to improve proficiency at skills associated with college-level reading, writing, and critical thinking. The Center offers an active interface among student, instructor, assignment, and tutor. Free one-on-one tutoring is available to all Huntingdon students, either by appointment or on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Contact Ms. Vaughan Dickson, Director of the Center for Writing and Critical Thinking, at (334) 833-4454 or by email at vdickson@hawks.huntingdon.edu to schedule an appointment or for more information.
Medical Considerations
If you have a medical condition that may preclude participation in this course or any aspect of this course, the College suggests you consult your physician. The College will work with you based upon physician recommendations to find the best means to address any concerns.
Title IX
Huntingdon faculty are committed to supporting students and upholding the College's non-discrimination policy. Under Title IX, discrimination based upon sex and gender is prohibited. If you experience an incident of sex- or gender-based discrimination, we encourage you to report it. While you may talk to a faculty member, understand that as a "Responsible Employee" of the College the faculty member MUST report to the college's Title IX Coordinator what you share. If you would like to speak with someone who may be able to afford you privacy or confidentiality, there are people who can meet with you. Faculty can help direct you or you may refer to Huntingdon's Sexual Misconduct Policy at http://www.huntingdon.edu/student-life/student-service/misconduct. You do not have to go through the experience alone.