This Web Syllabus is the sole source of information for our course. I will change assignments and add mandatory readings and links throughout the semester. You are responsible for knowing about these changes, especially writing assignments. I strongly advise you to check this site at least three times a week. A great American philosopher agrees HERE
John Kingdon, America the Unusual
Cas Mudde and Cristobal Kaltwasser, Populism: A Very Short Introduction
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
Václav Havel, Open Letters: Selected Writings,1965-1990
Carolina Maria de Jesus, Child of the Dark
All of these books are available on Library Reserve. However, you are required to bring your personal copies of The Communist Manifesto, Havel’s essay “The Power of the Powerless” in Open Letters, and de Jesus’s Child of the Dark to your discussion sections. No exceptions!
As the proud father of two Notre Dame graduates, I am mindful of the high cost of assigned readings. Hence, I do not use a course reader. Aside from the required books, all of your assigned readings are Thee available on this syllabus. You should print all of the assignments marked PRINT. This is especially important for your Friday Discussion Sections. You MUST bring these printed readings to your Discussion Sections. Your TAs will sometimes call on you to refer to them directly. They may even give you a quiz!
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. This syllabus’s links go 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.
At this political and existential turning point in modern history, Notre Dame students must keep up with the news! I recommend that you get into the habit of reading any decent online newspaper or news magazine on a regular basis. Many are free.
Facts exist and they matter! The best way to judge the quality of a news source is whether it openly identifies and corrects its errors (see our reading from John Stuart Mill). Everybody makes mistakes, including journalists. But truth is verifiable. If a source doesn’t correct identifiable mistakes, you can’t trust it.
Here are some news sources (some liberal, some conservative) that I believe adhere to this reasonable standard: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian. American TV media are driving me crazy (you only get to choose between fake “fake facts” and apoplectic haranguing). But there is some worthwhile television coverage. I recommend the excellent Washington Week. Bob Costa (ND ’08) was the former host of this show until he stepped aside to write a book (forthcoming in a few weeks) about the last days of the Trump administration. Bob took this World Politics course–yes, roughly the same one you are taking–from me more than a decade ago. The PBS News Hour is great as well. I also recommend looking for international sources of information. The BBC is good for information both outside the US and about the US. I watch the German news show, Tagesschau. 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 (diminishing number of) friends say about us!
You, your classmates, and your TAs will engage in regular discussions and debates over CANVAS. 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. Politics is all about conflict. A little (non-violent) conflict in the defense of one’s views is a good thing!
You will also turn in your assignments at your Canvas site.
Other sources are available on this syllabus. These include: Web links and links to online electronic sources in the Hesburgh Library. Again, if your assignment says PRINT, you should print it immediately and bring it to your discussion section. Psychologists have demonstrated conclusively that students learn much more from a printed document than from a web page.
If your assignment says READ, you must read it. There could be a quiz.
There are several required films in the course. I will give you their locations at a later date.
Film #1: TBA
Film #2: “Journey to Russia”
Film #3: “Mr. Johnson”
Earning your Grades
You will earn your grades in this course by completing different types of assignments. There will be a paragraph assignment for every discussion section. 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 class 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 Canvas. 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 20 percent
Participation 30 percent
Final Examination 35 percent
You can find out about your teaching assistants (TAs) and there respective emails and office hours HERE
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–at least once a week– to discuss course objectives, develop topics for discussion sections, create essay assignments, 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.
Your teaching assistants and I are here to serve you. Please visit us during our office hours. You may certainly ask us specific questions about the course. You should also feel free to raise questions about any subject you like, including the meaning of life (the answer is HERE). Each of you is required to visit your TA at least once during the semester. For information about your TAs and their office hours, please consult the TA link on the right margin of this page.
My office hours are: Tuesday from 1:30-2:30 and Wednesday from 2:00-4:00. My office is 2080 Nanovic Hall, two offices from the Political Science Department.
I am a teacher. I want to meet you. Visit me!