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Our Web Syllabus is the sole source of information for this course. The pages of the paper syllabus that I pass out on the first day of class will quickly be out of date. I will change assignments and add mandatory readings and links throughout the semester. You are responsible for knowing about any of these changes, especially writing assignments. I strongly advise you to check this site at least three times a week.

Paper Sources

  • John Kingdon, America the Unusual
  • Cas Mudde and Cristobal Kaltwasser, Populism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
  • Václav Havel, Open Letters: Selected Writings,1965-1990
  • Carolina Maria de Jesus, Child of the Dark

As the proud father of two Notre Dame graduates, I am especially mindful of the high cost of assigned readings for Notre Dame students. Therefore, I am not using a course reader.  Aside from the books, all of our assigned readings are available on this syllabus.  You should print all of the assignments marked PRINT.  This is especially important for your Friday discussion sections.  I recommend that you create a binder in which you assemble all of these readings.

NOTE:  Some of your article assignments can be found under the e-Locator heading on the Hesburgh Library site.  My link goes directly to this site.  Type in the name of the journal and find a site that corresponds to the appropriate year and month of publication.  Usually, the link will be JSTOR or Pro Quest Social Science.

In addition, I recommend that you get into the habit of reading any decent online newspaper or news magazine on a regular basis. Many are free.  Among the news sources I read on a daily basis are the New York Times and the Guardian. In my view, the best sources are usually those that openly identify and correct their errors (see our reading from John Stuart Mill).  No one is perfect!  I also turn to international sites.  There are some excellent news links and articles on Blogsideinn.  I also highly recommend this survey of the world press:  Watching America  If you think our enemies are nasty, look at what our friends say about us!

Virtual Sources

You, your classmates, and your TAs will engage in regular discussions and debates over Google Doc (or a similar medium). Participation in these virtual discussions is required. This format will help you prepare for your Friday sections by testing your ideas and encouraging you to argue with your classmates. Oh, politics is all about conflict. A little (non-violent) conflict in the defense of one’s views is a good thing!

Other sources are available on this syllabus. These include: Web links and links to online electronic sources in the Hesburgh Library. If your assignment says PRINT, you must print it immediately for use at your discussion section.

Visual Sources

There are several required films in the course. The first and the third films will oblige you to attend evening showings on one of two alternative nights (i.e., you won’t have to attend both nights; you just choose the evening that works best for you).

Film #1:  “The Vietnam War,” by Ken Burns, Episode 8.  Monday, February 12 and Tuesday, February 23,  both at 7:00. Location TBA.

Film #2: “Journey to Russia.”   In-class

Film #3: TBA

Earning your Grades

You will earn your grades in this course by completing different types of assignments. We will have two take-home essays during the semester and one final examination (I will determine the format later). Make sure you meet the deadlines! The take-home essays will be docked 1/3 of a grade for every day they are late.

Your participation in discussion sections is a major part of your grade. By “participation,” I mean the quality of your comments during the section, your weekly writing assignments, and your virtual discussions over Google Docs: You will earn a lower grade by failing to attend class or discussion sections. We are watching!

First Reflective Essay                  15 percent
Second Reflective Essay              15 percent
Participation                              30 percent
Final Examination                       40 percent

Human Resources

Your teaching assistants will play a major role in this class.  They are here as much as I am to facilitate your education.  Your TAs and I meet on a regular basis to discuss course objectives, identify topics for discussion sections, determine grading standards, and consider the progress of each of you as individuals.  We care about both the course and your success in taking it.

Both your teaching assistants and I are here to serve you.  Please do not hesitate to visit us during our office hours.  You may certainly ask us specific questions about the course.  But, you should also free to raise any subject you like, including the meaning of life.  Each of you is required to visit your TA at least once during the semester. For information about your TAs, consult the TA link on the right margin of this page or go here. Your TAs’ addresses:

Romelia Solano:  rsolano@nd.edu

Omar Colonel:  ocoronel@nd.edu


I hold my office hours on Tu 1:30-2:30; and W 2:00-4:00 at the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, located in the fabulous, new Nanovic Hall (across from the Eck Alumni Center).

I am a teacher.  I want to meet you.  Visit me!


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