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

Paper Sources

John Kingdon, America the Unusual

The Bookstore’s copies are too expensive; used copies are available through Amazon and other booksellers. I strongly recommend that you buy the book since hard copies are required for discussion sections, though I will post links should you want to print chapters. Assauming you buy the book, you can always print chapters if it doesn’t arrive on time

Cas Mudde and Cristobal Kaltewasser, 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 to the relevant discussion sections. No exceptions

As the proud father of two Notre Dame graduates–and, well, thousands of ND undergrads–I am mindful of the exorbitant cost of assigned readings. Hence, I do not use a course reader.  With the exception of the required books, I have inserted links to all of your assigned readings 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.  The relevant articles are linked to this syllabus.  Type 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, members of the ruling class 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 factual truth is  verifiable.  If a source doesn’t routinely correct identifiable mistakes, you should be skeptical about its dedication to truth.

Here are some news sources (some liberal, some conservative, all middle-of the-road) that I believe adhere to this reasonable standard:  The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles TimesThe Financial TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian.  American TV news shows drive me crazy (you only get to choose among fake “fake facts,” outright disinformation and lies, and apoplectic handwringing). However, there are welcome exceptions to this rule.  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 and become the CBS election analyst.  Bob took this World Politics course–yes, roughly the same one you are taking–more than a decade ago.  The PBS News Hour is great as well.

I also recommend following international sources of information.  The BBC is good for non-US-centric information about the whole world. I watch the German news show, Tagesschau. There are some excellent news links and articles on Blogside Inn.  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. This is what comes with being a superpower.

If you have equally reliable sources, please let me know.

Virtual Sources

You, your classmates, and your TAs will routinely exchange ideas with Google documents. 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 contentious. There is nothing healthier than a little non-violent contention in the defense of one’s views. Feel free to change your mind.

Your TAs will tell you how to turn in your assignments.

Other reading assignments 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.

Visual Sources

There are several required films in the course. I will give you their locations at a later date.

Film #1:  TBA

Film #2: TBA

Film #3: TBA

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 take-home essay examination. Make sure you meet the deadlines!  In fairness to your fellow classmates, we will dock you essays 1/3 of a grade for every day they are late.  You can find the due-date for the final essay on the Registrar’s exam calendar.

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 on Google documents.

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

Human Resources

You can find out about your teaching assistants (TAs) and their 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, see HERE.

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 and right next to the poster of American  genius Frank Zappa.

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