Introduction to Comparative Politics
Political Science 003
Prof. Lee Ann Banaszak Time: MW
Office: 232 Pond Laboratory 108 Forum
Office Hours: W
Or by appointment
Web Page: http://polisci.la.psu.edu/faculty/banaszak/banaszak.htm
Sections 1,2 and 3: Sections 4, 5, and 9: Sections 6, 7, and 8:
Young-Hun Kim Jonah Victor Maria Inclan
214 Pond Laboratory 322 Pond Laboratory 322 Pond Laboratory
865-6230 863-1594 863-1594
Hrs: Thurs. Monday Monday
This course is designed as an introductory course about comparative politics -- the study of domestic politics in different nations. The goals of this course are twofold. First, by the end of this course you should have acquired information about the politics of a number of different countries in various parts of the world. This factual knowledge provides the basis for understanding other political systems and the changes which are occurring in these systems. Second, and more importantly, through this course you should begin to develop a means for interpreting and explaining what happens in the world. Thus, substantial pieces of the course will be devoted to developing a general understanding of politics in different systems through comparing and contrasting different countries and the introduction of theories and concepts which help us understand the way politics work.
Sodaro, Michael J. 2001. Comparative Politics: A Global
The New York Times: All students are required to read stories in the weekly The New York Times (excluding weekend newspapers) about politics in other countries. While other newspapers may provide similar coverage we will be referring to specific newspaper stories in lecture and section. If you chose a different paper, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are getting the same information that you need. We will be discussing current comparative politics stories in section and occasionally in lecture. Any material of this type discussed in lecture or section as well as major news stories are fair game for the exams.
Course Requirements and Grades.
Student Responsibilities: The class will meet Monday and Wednesday from to . In addition, all students must attend a weekly recitation section. Class and recitation sessions will be devoted to lectures and discussion. We will often cover material not included in the reading and this material WILL be tested. Therefore, it is your responsibility to attend class or to obtain good lecture notes from fellow students when you miss class. It is also important to have read and thought about the assigned portions of the text prior to the class period. Otherwise you risk being lost or confused by what is said in class and being unable to participate in discussions.
Grades: Grades will be determined by a strict percentage; I do not curve exam grades. The grading scale is as follows:
A 94 – 100
A- 90 - 93
B+ 87 - 89
B 83 - 86
B- 80 - 82
C+ 76 - 79
C 70 - 75
D 60 - 69
F below 60
1) There will be two unit exams -- one on October 4th and one on November 8th. Each exam will be worth 25% of your grade and will cover the information in that unit.
2) The final exam will be cumulative, covering
all course material, although the emphasis will be on material covered since
the second unit exam. It will be held in
the scheduled exam period during finals week, and will account for 30% of the
grade. You should check the final exam
schedule when it becomes available. Only
those students filing for a conflict exam will be allowed to switch the date
they take the final exam. Airline
tickets home or to the
3) The final 20% of your grade will be determined by your attendance and participation in recitation sections, and quiz grades in recitation section.
Makeup Exam Policy
NO MAKEUP EXAMS will be allowed unless written proof is provided of a serious emergency (e.g. hospitalization, death of a parent). In such cases, you must contact me as soon as possible (when possible prior to the exam); failure to do so will result in an F for the exam. In these rare cases, the makeup exam will be in essay format and include material covered in the intervening period.
Extra Credit Policy
No extra credit will be given on an individual basis. Two forms of extra-credit are available in this class to all students: in-lecture minute papers and web-based quizzes.
In-lecture minute papers. While we cannot take regular attendance in lecture, you will occasionally be asked to hand in an in-class writing assignment or short quiz. These will not be graded but will serve to allow you to reflect on the day’s lecture topic or give feedback on the lecture. Since participation in the lecture is part of this assignment, there are no excused absences for these in lecture writing assignments. If you’re not in class when the assignment is given, you cannot make them up. These assignment will only be used in close calls (that is, when your final grade is close to a higher grade) to bump people up to the higher grade.
Extra-credit quizzes. These can be worth at most 2% of your total final grade. Six quizzes will be available starting at different times throughout the semester. Once a quiz becomes available you may take it at any time in the next six weeks; however, your grade will be discounted 25% after the quiz has been available for 3 weeks. Therefore to get full extra credit you will want to take the quiz as they are made available (new quizzes will be announced in lecture).
To take a quiz, go to the web site of university testing services ( From there you will be asked to enter your e-mail user id and your Access Account Password. When you click on the “Continue” button, you will see a list of all of you classes using the web-based testing. Clicking on PL SC 3 will give you a list of all of the quizzes for the semester. Clicking on the quiz will give you the first question. Two important points about taking the quiz:).
§ Do not use the browser “Forward” or “Back” buttons to move back and forth within a quiz. If you do this, the program will automatically submit the exam, and you will receive a zero on any questions you have not yet answered. Be sure to use only the “Next” key to take the quiz. Once you hit the “Next” button, you are submitting your final answer and there is no going back. Once you see the next question, you cannot go back and change an answer (or mark an answer) to a previous question. So be careful.
§ If there is no activity on the webpage for 10 minutes, the system will kick you out. You will then need to reenter the system and take the quiz again.
§ You should take a quiz only once! Repeat quizzes will not be included in your extra credit points.
§ One advantage of web-based quizzing is that you have more freedom to learn the material in the way that best suits you. Feel free to discuss questions with other members of the class and consult your book and/or notes. However, you may not ask other students to take a quiz for you, either by giving them your access id and password, or by having them sit nearby and simply give you the answers. This is an act of academic dishonesty.
Academic Honesty Policy
The Student Guide to University Policies and Rules states: “Academic dishonesty includes...cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor or tampering with the academic work of other students.” (p. 43) Students caught committing acts of academic dishonesty will receive an F in the course and will be referred to Judicial Affairs for further possible sanction.
A General Overview of Comparative Politics
SECTION Introduction to Section; What is Comparative Politics
9/1 Introduction to Policies and Procedures and Overview of the Course
SECTION **No discussion sections**
9/8 The study of Comparative Politics
Reading: Chapter 3 (1st and 2nd editions)
SECTION Hypothesis development with different political systems
9/13 Different Types of Political Systems
Reading: Chapter 2 (1st and 2nd editions)
9/15 Political Divisions within Nations
SECTION Totalitarianism vs. authoritarianism and polarized cleavages revisited;
9/20 Power, Domination, and Legitimacy
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 5 or 2nd edition: Chapter 4
9/22 The Concept of the State
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 6 or 2nd edition: Chapter 5
Tentative Schedule and
9/27 Nations and Nationalism
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 7 or 2nd edition: Chapter 6
9/29 Ethnicity and Citizenship
Reading: Review 1st edition: Chapter 7 or 2nd edition: Chapter 6
10/4 First Exam
10/6 What is Democracy?
10/11 What is Democracy continued? Consociational vs. Majoritarian Systems
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 8 or 2nd edition: Chapter 7
10/13 Presidential vs. Parliamentary systems
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 9 and pp. 372-378 and 457-462
or 2nd edition: Chapter 8 and
No Section – Fall Break
10/18 Governmental Instability in Presidential and Parliamentary systems
or 2nd edition: Chapter 8 and pp. 342-348 and 633-640
10/20 Different electoral systems
Reading: 1st edition: pp.398-407, 511-514 and review Chapter 9
or 2nd edition: pp. 362-372, 457-460 and review Chapter 8
SECTION Simulations of different electoral and party systems
Tentative Schedule and
10/25 Introduction to political parties and Party systems
Reading 1st edition: Chapter 11 or 2nd edition: Chapter 10
10/27 Different types of political parties
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 13 or 2nd edition: Chapter 12
SECTION Coalition building and party types
11/1 Interest group politics in different nations
11/3 Political Attitudes and Democracy
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 12 or 2nd edition: Chapter 11
SECTION Review for Exam
11/8 Second Exam
Non-democratic Political Systems
11/10 Introduction to Non-democratic Institutions
SECTION Review different types of authoritarian systems
11/15 Transitioning to Democracy
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 10 or 2nd edition: Chapter 9
11/17 Governmental arrangements in Communist Systems
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 22 and 634-656
or 2nd edition: Chapter 20 and 525-545
SECTION More on Democratic transitions
11/22 Government Linkages in Non-democratic Systems
Reading: Review 1st edition: Chapter 22 or 2nd edition: Chapter 20
11/24 No Class – Thanksgiving Break
No Section – Thanksgiving Break
11/29 Military governments
Reading: 1st edition: Pp. 809-830 or 2nd edition: Pp.687-706
Politics and Economics
12/1 The problems of moving from centrally planned systems
or 2nd edition: Read Chapter 13 and Review Chapters 19 & 20
SECTION Economic issues in democratic countries
12/6 Economically developing countries
Reading: 1st edition: Chapter 15 or 2nd edition: Chapter 14
12/8 Economic policies and problems in developing countries
Reading: 1st edition: Pp. 764-769 and review Chapter 15
or 2nd edition: Pp. 643-647 and review Chapter 14
SECTION Review for Final Exam