Because this course will be conducted entirely online, much of the learning will have to be done on your own. For each week I will provide a set of readings, as well as my own introduction to the weekly theme (usually in video form). In addition, I will create a discussion forum in Blackboard each week with some questions for discussion. After reading all of the required material, students must answer some of the discussion questions and respond to other students’ answers.
Throughout the week I will remain available for any questions you have about the topic. I will respond to emails in a timely manner, and will make a reasonable effort to be available to video chat over Collaborate Ultra if you like.
Required Texts and Materials:
There are no books required for purchase. All required reading will be made available to you via Blackboard.
Reading of required materials and forum participation 40%
Paper Outline, Synopsis, and Annotated Bibliography 20%
Final Paper 10%
Final Exam 30%
NOTE: You must participate in a minimum of 70% of all forum discussions and complete a minimum of 70% of all course work otherwise you’ll receive an UN.
Because this is an online course, most of your learning will be carried out independently. The required reading for each week will be posted on Blackboard. The final exam will test your knowledge of material from all required readings.
Every weekI will post some discussion questions on the Blackboard forum. You must answer at least one of the questions, and respond to at least two of your classmates’ answers. There is no strict word count requirement for these answers, but something in the range of 150-300 words per question should be the goal. The idea is to substantively engage with and do some real thinking about these issues. The more you respond (meaningfully) to your classmates’ posts, the higher your grade for this component will be.Because an important part of this component is the ability to respond to other students’ answers, I’ll ask that you give your initial answer as early in the week as possible, so as to allow your classmates more time to engage with your thoughts. We’ll all get more out of this class if we do that.
This is worth 40% of your total grade. If you are not a regular contributor to the weekly forums it will be difficult for you to succeed in this course. Think of it as attendance in a regular lecture-style course. You would not expect to do well in any other class if you skipped class most weeks. This is no different.
I will be checking the forums regularly throughout the course. I will not respond to each post but I’ll add my thoughts here and there as needed, if the discussion calls for it.
This assignment will have you complete every step of a research essay except the actual writing. Successfully completing this project will provide you with the tools needed to write strong political science papers.
You will be required to submit an outline with thesis statement, outline, synopsis (i.e. 150-250 word description of how you intend to make your argument), and annotated bibliography. An example of each of these will be made available on Blackboard and discussed in class.
The bibliography must contain at least 5 scholarly sources.
Due: July 15th
Once you have sufficiently researched your topic, formulated a thesis statement and outline, and figured out how to describe your argument in less than a page (i.e. the previous assignment) putting it all into final paper form is surprisingly easy. It will also result in a better organized paper, the main argument of which will be easier for the reader to comprehend.
Your final paper should be roughly 1,500 words. More information about requirements will be given later in the semester.
Due: August 5th
The final exam will cover material from the entire semester. It will include multiple choice and short answer questions.
All written assignments must be submitted through Blackboard. Assignments must be properly formatted: size 12 font, double spaced, 1-inch margins. Please use the APSA reference style. More information on APSA can be found here: https://guides.highpoint.edu/apsa.
Late assignment policy:
-Late assignments will be accepted, but 1 grade step (i.e. from A to A-, or C+ to C) will be deducted every 3 days after the due date, starting immediately after the due date, until the paper is submitted.
-Extensions will be the exception, not the rule. They will only be granted in cases of unforeseeable events that directly affect your ability to complete the assignment on time. -Requests for extensions must be provided in writing before the due date. Once I receive the request, I will make a decision based on the severity of your circumstance. If you submit a late paper along with a doctor’s note, but did not ask for and receive an extension before the due date, late deductions will still apply. In other words, a doctor’s note is not a blank check for late assignments.
– Extensions will NOT be given in the event of computer problems or software incompatibility. It is your responsibility to back up your work and ensure that I receive it on time.
-Assignments submitted after the last day of classes will not be marked, unless an extension has been granted in writing by the instructor.
The Douglas College grade scale can be found athttps://www.douglascollege.ca/ programs-courses/general-information/grading
Week #1 (Week of May 4) – Course Intro / Orientation to Online Learning
Week #2 (Week of May 11) – Overview of Political Science, the Politics of Pandemics
Readings: Thucidydes, excerpt from History (on Blackboard)
Achen& Bartels, “The Social Construction of Blame” (on Blackboard)
Questions: What do political scientists study?
Does a “political science” lens add anything to our understanding of pandemics?
Week #3 (Week of May 18) – The “science” of Political Science
Readings: King, Keohane &Verba, “The Science in Social Science” (on Blackboard)
Questions: What is meant by the “logic of inference?”
In what ways does political science go beyond simply memorizing or paying attention to current events?
In what ways is the study of politics like the natural sciences? In what ways is it like them?
Week #4(Week of May 25) – The “politics” of Political Science
Readings: Plato, excerpt from The Republic(on Blackboard)
Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 13:
Questions: Does Plato’s analogy of the “ship of state” tell us anything about democracy?
Why do people form/join states, according to Hobbes?
When people talk about “office politics,” what do they mean by “politics?
Is the choice between political candidates a matter of subjective preference, or is there an objective way to determine between better or worse candidates?
Week #5 (Week of June 1) – Power
Readings: Morgenthau, excerpt from Politics Among Nations (on Blackboard)
Nye, “Get Smart” (on Blackboard)
Questions: How does Morgenthau define power? Do you agree with his definition?
Who has power in contemporary politics?
What is the difference between power and influence?
Is the use of power intrinsically immoral?
Week #6(Week of June 8) – Freedom and Equality
Readings: pp. 133-151 from Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy (on Blackboard)
Questions: How important is it that governments minimize the gap between the rich and poor?
Is poverty always a result of poor personal choices?
How are the philosophical debates in the reading reflected in contemporary political disagreements between liberals, conservatives, and socialists?
What good reasons, if any, might there be for the government to limit what individuals can do with their property?
Week #7(Week of June 15) – Rights
Readings: Orend, “History I: Origins to the Nineteenth Century” (on Blackboard)
The Declaration of Independence: https://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/
American Bill of Rights: https://www.archives.gov/files/legislative/resources/education/bill-of-rights/images/handout-3.pdf
Universal Declaration of Human Rights: https://www.ohchr.org/en/udhr/documents/udhr_translations/eng.pdf
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf
Questions: Do rights exist even when they are not recognized by governments?
Do the rights of one person create duties that other people must follow?
Do we need a religious worldview to justify human rights?
Week #8(Week of June 22) – The State
Readings: Excerpt from Weber, “Politics as a Vocation” (on Blackboard)
Questions: What is the difference between states and other types of organizations, like gangs, corporations, churches, etc.?
What makes a leader legitimate?
Do government officials or regular citizens have more influence over public policy?
Week #9 (Week of June 29) – Democracy
Readings: Zakaria, “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy” (on Blackboard)
Reynolds, “When I Said North Carolina Wasn’t a Democracy, People Called Me Crazy:” https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/12/08/north-carolina-9th-district-democracy-222853
Questions: Is democracy intrinsically valuable?
What is the difference between liberalism and democracy? Why might it important to have both?
Are democracies likely to be less war-prone than other states? Why or why not?
Week #10(Week of July 6)– Citizenship
Readings: Excerpt from Aristotle, Politics (on Blackboard)
Introduction to Carter, The Political Theory of Global Citizenship (on Blackboard)
Questions: What are the rights and obligations of citizenship?
Does being a citizen of a state require you to prioritize its needs over those of other states?
Should states be allowed to revoke citizenship from their members?
Week #11(Week of July 13) – Law and Constitutions
Readings: Excerpt from Leacock, The Elements of Political Science (on Blackboard)
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-15.html
Questions: What is the purpose and function of a constitution?
Why are constitutions more difficult to change than regular laws?
What are some of the more prevalent forms of government in the modern world?
Week #12(Week of July 20) – War
Readings: Excerpt from Dyer, War (on Blackboard)
Questions: Why do states go to war?
When, if ever, is war morally justified?
Does war affect some groups of people (i.e. women, poor) more than others?
Week #13(Week of July 27) – Populism
Readings: Excerpt from Muller, What Is Populism? (on Blackboard)
Questions: Is populism good or bad for democracy?
Is populism an ideology, or a style of politics that can be used across right-wing and left-wing movements?
Are populist movements more prone to morph into authoritarian movements? If so, why is that?
Week #14 (Week of August 3)
No readings or discussions this week. Focus on completing your final paper and studying for the final exam.
Expectations & classroom policies: