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Union JackPSC 321: British Politics, Syllabus

revised 01/12/20 by Jeremy Lewis

Please check the following, using your Hawks identity only:

In summer, 3 semester weeks are compressed into each summer week, and each week of readings begins on Wednesday with a test each Tuesday following; each textbook chapter (though not GoogOlympics event) should be noted in 4-5 paragraphs, and each short reading in one paragraph, submitted in the Google form for reports on readings.

When adapted for course-by-conference, any class session missed will be replaced with report paragraphs as above, or an alternative.

Catalog description: 321. British Politics. Sem. 1; Cl. 3; Cr. 2-3.
Ideas, institutions, policies and processes of British liberal democracy. The role of the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Monarch, political parties, House of Commons and House of Lords.  Impact of the European Union, the welfare state, the political parties, and political concepts such as social democracy. Foreign and domestic policy topics, such as the Falklands /Malvinas battle, official secrecy, and privatization or "Thatcherism".
200 level PSC course recommended.

Student Learning objectives: students will demonstrate knowledge of, and critical thinking about

  1. the ideas, institutions, policies, and development of modern British politics
  2. the impact of the European Union and other constitutional developments
  3. political concepts, such as social democracy and the welfare state
  4. modern domestic and foreign policy dilemmas
  5. simple data visualizations
Expected Outcomes: 
  1. Examinations of the ideas, institutions, policies, and development of modern British politics
  2. Examinations of the impact of the European Union and other constitutional developments
  3. Examinations of political concepts, such as social democracy and the welfare state
  4. Examinations of modern domestic and foreign policy dilemmas
  5. Simple data visualizations
  6. A competent research paper or set essay (may not be required in a short, summer session)
See the Requirements page for details.

You will learn through texts and a few video documentaries about the development of the modern Britain, spotting both similarities and contrasts with American ideas. You must expect to discuss current British affairs, such as a political crisis. You should become familiar with the House of Commons debates and question time, and leaders such as Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.  You will also consider the roles of monarchs such as Henry VIII, James I, and Elizabeth I and II in an established church.

Thus you will experience the modern, comparative approach as well as the traditional historical method; and a topical or policy approach as well as the institutional method.

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 British sources on the World Wide Web.

Books (click here for latest information on editions)
Norton, Phillip.  2011 or later.  The British Polity.  5th edition or later.  NY: Longmans. (The leading historical text).

Common to more than one course:
Curtis, Michael (ed). The Great Political Theories, vols I and II (the political science companion reader, useful in all PSC classes.) Selected readings relevant to British politics (such as King James I, the utilitarians, Adam Smith, Herbert Spencer, the socialists and marxists.)


Supplementary Materials: Current material on British government will be shown in multimedia form; via Dropbox or Gdrive; or linked on the web. Documentary video clips will be inserted only where time permits.  You should also watch the House of Commons question time and debates online or on C-SPAN. BBC World News is found on PBS.org and sometimes on APTV at 11:30 weeknights.

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

Students With Disabilities, HC Notice:

"Huntingdon College makes every reasonable accommodation for disabilities that have been processed and approved through our Disability Services Committee in accord with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In order to request disability-related services at Huntingdon College, students must self-identify to the Disabilities Intake Coordinator, and provide appropriate and up-to-date documentation to verify their disability or special needs. After the accommodations have been approved by the Disability Services Committee, the 504 Coordinator will notify your professor(s) of the Committee’s decision.
If you have any questions regarding reasonable accommodation or need to request disability-related services, please contact Disability Services at (334) 833-4556 or email disabilityservices@huntingdon.edu."