POL 386 - Spring 2018

Wednesdays 10:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Ballston, room 3034.

General Information

As a writing-intensive (WI) course, the primary focus of the class will be the development of individual research projects. Students will be expected to draw on library materials to assemble a coherent research paper by the end of the semester. 

My office is Ireton G108. See cal.chadrector.net to make an appointment. 

Course Assignments and Grades

Course grades will be based on a weighted average of the following:
  • Midterm exam. 10%. Covers basic concepts in East Asian politics. Identify and explain any 5 concepts, from a list of 10. List of terms will be posted here. 45 minutes of class time.  
  • Map test. 5%. Correctly identify major East Asian countries and cities. Students will have several chances to complete the exam prior to spring break; I'll record each student's highest score.
  • Readings. 5%. Introduce and summarize (orally and informally) two assigned readings for class discussion, and participate in class discussions in a way that shows familiarity with assigned readings.  
  • Term paper. 70%. Term papers are at least 4000 words long (about 16 pages), and explore in depth a political issue involving East Asia. Assignments are due at midnight at the end of the specified day. A lot more detail about the term paper assignment will be posted here. The term paper will be completed in several steps: 
    • Topic paragraph. 5%.
    • Summaries of three scholarly articles. 5% each, total 15%. 
    • Hypothesis and case study summary. 5%. 
    • Initial draft. 20%.
    • Final draft. 20%. 
    • Class presentation. 5%. 
  • Peer reviews. 10%. Two reviews (5% each) of other student drafts, following an assigned format. 
Extra credit:
  • Class participation. Students may earn up to 3% for sustained, constructive contributions to class discussions. 
  • Attend one session of the State Department Foreign Policy Classroom, take a picture of yourself there and write a one-paragraph summary of the event. 6%. 
  • Extra peer reviews. Students who turn in a complete draft on time may complete up to two additional peer reviews for up to 3% each. Email me within four days of turning in your draft to get an extra credit assignment. I will give specific due dates with each assignment, but in any case these must be completed no later than the day of the final exam.
  • Wikipedia edit. Properly edit a Wikipedia article to include a sensible reference to a properly-cited scholarly article (one you used for one of your summaries) and email me a link to the log. See this tutorial or attend the class session of POL 250 in the library classroom. Up to 3% for a well-formatted edit. This must be completed by the day of the final exam.   
Any student who violates the code of Academic Integrity, by cheating on an in-class exam or plagiarizing a written assignment, will automatically fail the course. 

As this is a writing-intensive (WI) course, the completion of a revised full-length term paper is a non-negotiable requirement. Any student who does not complete a full revision will not pass the class. 

Assigned readings

Required books for the course:
Other readings are available online, linked below.

Course Schedule and Readings

The course is organized in two segments. In the first part of the course we'll cover the politics of South Korea, China, Japan, and Taiwan. In the second part of the course we will cover selected additional topics in-depth while students complete their research projects.

January 17 - Introduction, Confucianism, history, institutions (slides)

January 24 - Chinese institutions
New York Times: Tales of Army Discord and Xi Jinping Unveils
Weiss, Chapters 1 and 2

January 31 - Chinese foreign policy and nationalism
Weiss, Chapters 3-9

February 7 - Authoritarianism and democratization, paper topics
Baglione, Chapters 1 and 2
Heo and Roehrig, Chapters 1 and 2

February 14 - Democratic institutions

February 21 - Korea
Heo and Roehrig, Chapters 3-6

February 26 - article summary #2 due

February 28 - Regional Security
Kang, Chapters 1-3

March 7 - The United States
Kang, Chapters 4, 5, 8, and 9

March 21 - Midterm exam, paper discussion
Baglione, Chapters 5 and 7

Mandatory one-on-one meetings, between March 19 and 23

March 28 - no class today

April 4 - writing workshop, gender

April 11 - peer review, climate change

April 18 - peer review, North Korea

Mandatory one-on-one meetings, between April 23 and 27

April 25 - no class today

May 2 - additional topics per current events, presentations

May 9 - presentations 

May 13 - final paper due