POL 386 - Spring 2015

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General Information

Resources for the term paper:

Tuesdays and Fridays, 2:00-3:15
Gailhac Hall Room G101

In spring 2015 I have fixed office hours on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:10 to 11:30 a.m. (on each of those days that classes are scheduled). At those times please feel free to come by my office without an appointment. I also have rotating office hours at least 4 hours per week (usually much more); to meet me at one of those times you must 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.) All meetings are in my office, Ireton G108. 

The Spring 2015 section will include a study abroad component. We will travel as a class to Seoul, South Korea, to visit government offices, museums, and other sites of political and cultural significance. Our itinerary will include, but not be limited to:
  • A private tour of the National Assembly
  • A visit to the Demilitarized Zone
  • A class visit and social opportunities at Korea University 

As an honors course, there is a considerable amount of reading. Students are expected to have completed assigned readings and be prepared to discuss them in class. 

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, the resources of the DC area, and the experiences of the site visits in Korea to assemble a coherent research paper by the end of the semester. 

POL 386, 12, Korea, political development


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 and a letter grade equivalent. 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.

The specific details and grading criteria for each assignment will be posted during the semester, and linked below.
  • Term paper. 65%. Term papers are at least 4000 words long (about 16 pages), and explore in depth a political issue involving one or more countries in East Asia. Components of the assignment are due in several steps, emailed to me. Unless otherwise specified, assignments are due at midnight at the end of the day. Each of these five components is a specific course requirement – failure to complete any of the five will result in failure of the course.
    • Topic paragraph. 5%. Due February 28.
    • Summaries of three scholarly articles. 10%. Due March 23.
    • Summaries of two scholarly books. 10%. Due March 30.
    • Initial draft. 20%. Due April 6, 8:00 a.m.
    • Final draft. 20%. Due May 11.
  • Peer reviews. 10%. Due April 13. Two reviews (5% each) of other student drafts, following an assigned format. I will assign papers to review on April 7. You may write up to 2 additional high-quality reviews, for up to 3% in extra credit points each, by contacting me no later than April 9.
  • Class presentation. Sometime between April 24 and May 8. 5%. A 10-minute oral presentation, using slides and a formal outline, on the topic of your final paper, following an assigned format.
  • Midterm exam. 10%. February 17. In-class blue book exam on key concepts in Asian politics. Students must pass the map test (see below) by February 17.
  • Korean politics paper. 5%. Due March 4.
  • Korea blog posts. 5%. Due by March 20 at the latest. Field notes from travel, following a specified format I will distribute before the trip.
Extra credit:
  • Class participation. Students may earn up to 5% for sustained, constructive contributions to class discussions.
  • DC event. 5% for a first event and 3% for a second. Attend an event in the DC area on the subject of East Asia and write a blog post summarizing your experience. Specific instructions about attending and reporting on events are here. Posts must be well-written to receive credit; I will send back poorly-written posts for revisions before they are accepted. You will receive 5 extra credit points for one event and post, and 3 points for a second. All events must be completed by April 30 and blog posts submitted for final approval by May 3. (Blog posts are kept private by default, but we may make selected posts public by mutual agreement.)
Two additional mandatory course requirements do not count for any points:
  • Map test. A test of basic East Asian geography. Fill in the names of China (PRC), Mongolia, North and South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan (ROC) on a blank map, and identify properly 10 selected cities. The test will be administered at the beginning of each class starting the second week. You may take the test as many times as you wish until you pass, up to once per class meeting including the midterm exam. Any student who fails to pass the test by February 17 will automatically fail the course. The answers to the map test are here.
  • Attendance. Any student who misses 7 or more class sessions or who fails to attend sites visit while in Korea will automatically fail the course.

Papers will be marked down one point for each day (or fraction of a day) late. Students found violating the Marymount principles of Academic Integrity will fail the course and be formally charged through the University’s Academic Integrity process.

Assigned readings

Most, but not all, readings will be from the following books. All five of these books are required for the course:
Things to do before leaving for the trip:

Unless one of you comes up with a better site the class can use to aggregate pre-travel notes, here is this one


Course Schedule and Readings

Specific schedules of readings and assignments. Listed by each class meeting day is a reading assignment. Complete the reading before the class meeting. There is a large amount of Korea-specific reading; you should start those readings well before the deadlines. 

Part 1: China, Taiwan, and Japan

Tuesday, January 13
China: history and basic institutions (slides)

Friday, January 16
China: review of authoritarian institutions and initial site visit briefing (slides) (the movie "To Live")
Read: China's Political Development preface through chapter 3

Tuesday, January 20
China: party rule and political change (slides)
Read: China's Political Development chapters 5, 6, 8, and 9, and Tales of Army Discord...

Friday, January 23
China: economic development (no slides)
Read: China's Political Development chapter 12

Tuesday, January 27
China: foreign policy (outline)
Read: Enter the Dragon

Friday, January 30
Taiwan: identity, political system, and foreign policy
Read: Today's Hong Kong, Tomorrow's Taiwan

Tuesday, February 3
Japan: history and political culture
Read: Contemporary Japan chapters 1-4

Friday, February 6
Japan: party system and elections (slides)
Read: Contemporary Japan chapters 5-6

Saturday, February 7, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Rowley G209
Pre-departure meeting

Tuesday, February 10
Japan: political economy (charts)
Read: Contemporary Japan chapters 7-9

Friday, February 13
Review and second site visit briefing

Tuesday, February 17
Midterm Exam

Part 2: Korea

Friday, February 20
Political development (slides)
Read: The Park Chung-hee Era chapters 4-8

Tuesday, February 24
Economic development
The Park Chung-hee Era chapters 9-13

Friday, February 27 
Social and political identity
Final site visit briefing
Korea: The Impossible Country chapters 1-12

Topic paragraph due February 28

Tuesday, March 3
Read: Korea: The Impossible Country chapters 13-18 and 24-27

Korean politics paper due March 4

Friday, March 6 (no regular class today; class meets in transit)
North Korea
Read: Witness to Transformation

Part 3: Trip to Korea

March 6-15
Specifics to be posted in January

Part 4: Research projects

Tuesday, March 17 - Meet in library
Library workshop

Korea blog posts due March 20

Friday, March 20 - Meet in library
Library workshop

Summaries of three scholarly articles due March 23.

Tuesday, March 24
Research methods and inference

Friday, March 27
Logic and evidence

Summaries of two scholarly books due March 30.

Tuesday, March 31
Writing workshop

Easter Break

Initial draft due 8 a.m. Monday April 6

Tuesday, April 7
Draft review

Friday, April 10 - Meet in library Meet in classroom as usual

Reviews due April 13

Tuesday, April 14
Draft review

Friday, April 17 - No class meeting

Tuesday, April 21
Writing workshop and discussion of presentations

Friday, April 24

Tuesday, April 28

Friday, May 1

Friday, May 8 (2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
Presentations and 초코파이

Final draft due May 11