POL 103 - Spring 2019

General Information

Professor Chad Rector
Mondays and Thursdays 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Ballston 3010

Syllabus coming soon.

You are welcome to drop by my office any time to talk, but in order to guarantee a meeting in my office or at Ballston I advise you to make an appointment. To see the schedule and make an appointment use this calendar. (You must be logged in to gmail or Marymount email. Scroll to the right to see future weeks.) If you do not make an appointment you are welcome to drop by but I cannot promise that I will be there. If you make an appointment but then cannot make it to that appointment, please email me to let me know. Any student who makes, and then misses, three or more appointments without cancelling them in advance will be permanently banned from making future appointments.  

Assignments:

The assigned electronic textbook is Samuels, David. 2018. Comparative Politics, second edition. It is available at the Pearson web page at this link:
https://www.vitalsource.com/referral?term=9780134637174

Sample of exams from prior years. Note that reading assignments change from year to year, so past exams may refer to different topics. However, the basic exam format will be the same.



Grades

Final course grades will be determined on a fixed scale, not on a curve. Each assignment is worth a fixed number of points, listed below; these add up to 100. Each assignment will be returned with a numerical score. Course grades will be based on the total number of points out the 100 possible, with 90-100 an A, 80-89 a B, 70-79 a C, 60-69 a D, and 59 and below an F.

Course grades will be based on a weighted average of the following:
  • Three exams. 15% each, 45% total. Each exam consists of two parts: 5 short-answer identification questions worth 2% each (choose 5 out of 8) and 1 short essay question worth 5% (choose 1 out of 2). Students who miss exams will have one chance to take a makeup and will be marked down unless they have a valid medical or university business excuse. The exams will be written in class without books, notes, computers, phones, audio devices, or other aids. Students found violating the Marymount principles of Academic Integrity will fail the course and be formally charged through the University’s Academic Integrity process.
  • Three short papers. 15% each, 45% total. The specific assignments will be posted online three weeks before each due date. Students turning in papers containing plagiarism will fail the course and be formally charged through the University’s Academic Integrity process. Papers will be marked down one point for each day (or fraction of a day) late for the first five days after the deadline; any paper late more than five days may be turned in for up to half credit at any time before the final exam.  

  • One-on-one meeting. 5%. Bring to my office an outline of a short paper you plan to write for either the first or second paper assignment. This must include source references, a thesis statement, and a summary of each contributing fact and idea.
  • Group meeting. 5%. A complete outline of a topic. This must be prior to the first exam.

There are substantial opportunities for extra credit:
  • Extra credit games. We will play several games in class over the semester. Students who are in class will receive extra credit points which can significantly improve final course grade, depending on how they do in the game. Games will not be announced ahead of time, cannot be made up, and will not be held on recognized religious holidays.
  • DC event. 5% for a first event and 3% for a second. Attend an informative, professional lecture, seminar, or hearing in the DC area on the subject of public affairs and write a summary of your experience. Specific instructions about attending and reporting on events are here. Summaries must be well-written to receive credit; I will send back poorly-written ones for revisions before they are accepted. You will receive 5 extra credit points for one event, and 3 points for a second. These must be submitted before the last meeting of the semester. Summaries are kept private by default, but we may post selected summaries on the Marymount world politics blog by mutual agreement.

  • Class participation. Students who consistently contribute in a thoughtful and constructive way to class discussions may be awarded up to 5% in extra credit. 
Any student who misses more than 7 class sessions will lose 1/3 of a letter grade for each class missed class session over 7. Students will not be penalized for missing a class for a recognized religious holiday.

Papers will be marked down one point for each day (or fraction of a day) late. Students who miss an exam will have one chance to take a makeup and will be marked down unless they have a valid medical or university business excuse. Students will not be penalized for missing a class assignment for a recognized religious holiday. The exams will be written in class without books, notes, computers, phones, audio devices, or other aids.

I may, at my discretion, check any written assignments for plagiarism at any time during or after the semester, using electronic or other means. Students found violating the Marymount principles of Academic Integrity will fail the course and be formally charged through the University’s Academic Integrity process. By accepting this syllabus and enrolling in the course, students acknowledge that they have reviewed the University’s standards of academic integrity.

I do not, in general, grant extensions on major assignments. If you think you have gotten an extension from me but you do not have something in writing from me that specifically says that, then you probably haven’t. Like, if you tell me in person that your paper is going to be late, and I say “okay” or I give you advice on how to complete it, that isn’t me giving you an extension – that’s me saying that I understand that your paper is going to be late. It is only an “extension” (a promise from me that you may turn in a paper late without being penalized) if I have said so, explicitly, in an email message. There is no such thing as an "excused" absence. If you tell me that you are going to miss a class and I say "okay" or something polite like that, the absence will still count toward one of the 7. If you feel like you have a legitimate reason why you will miss 7 or more class sessions during the semester I suppose you could try talking it through with me.
Course Schedule and Readings

Readings should be completed before the class session under which they are listed. “Chapter” refers to a chapter in the assigned textbook. Readings outside the textbook are linked below.

Listed by each class meeting day is a reading assignment. Complete the reading before the class meeting.


Part 1: The balance of coercion and consent

January 13
Introduction and overview (slides)

January 16
Theory and evidence (slides)

January 23
Violence and Order (slides)
Reading: Chapter 2

January 27
Democratic institutions (slides)

January 30
Parliamentary democracy (slides)
Reading: Chapter 3

February 3
Parties and voting (slides)

Paper #1 due February 5

February 6
Immigration (slides)
Reading: Chapter 13

February 10
Immigration / Ethics week

February 13
Coercion (slides)
Reading: Chapter 4

February 17
Authoritarianism (slides)

February 20
Review

February 24
First Exam


Part 2: State and Society

February 27 
Regime Change (slides)
Reading: Start Chapter 5

March 2 
Social activism and mobilization (slides)
Reading: Finish Chapter 5

March 5
Democracy breaking down

Paper #2 due March 6

Spring Break

March 16
Identity (slides)
Reading: Chapter 6

March 19
Religion (slides)
Reading: Chapter 7

March 23
Gender
Reading: Chapter 8

March 26
Collective action (slides)
Reading: Chapter 9

Paper #3 due March 29

March 30
Violence (slides)
Reading: Chapter 10

April 2
Review

April 6
Second Exam


Easter break


Part 3: Political Economy

April 14
Development (slides)
Reading: Chapter 11

April 16
Paths to development (slides)

April 20
Economic convergence (slides)

April 23
Redistribution (slides)
Reading: Chapter 12

April 27
Poverty (slides

April 30
Issue to be voted on by the class

May 4, noon to 2:30 p.m.
Third Exam