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PLS 350

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Office: Old Main 333
Phone: 360-438-4588

email:
rlangill@stmartin.edu

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PLS 350
Government and Politics of Western Europe
Saint Martin's University
Course Syllabus

Dr. Richard L. Langill   Spring 2011
email: rlangill@stmartin.edu      Office: Old Main 333
Office Hrs: MWF 8-9 and 10-11 TR 10-11

Purpose of the Course
The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to contemporary European politics. Most students have some appreciation and understanding of the American political system. However, they have little knowledge about the political systems of Europe. This course seeks to fill this gap by providing a basis for comparing various governmental institutions and political process in their historical, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts.

This course will focus on the political systems of Britain, France, Germany, and Russia. The course will examine the factors that have influenced the development of each of these systems, their political culture and socialization, political structures, electoral dynamics, political parties, interest groups, and political problems.

Course Requirements
This course will be primarily a lecture course with discussion strongly encouraged. The instructor expects students to keep up with the reading so they will be able to participate more actively in these discussions.

EUROPEAN POLITICS JOURNAL

All students will be required to keep a global issues journal in his class.  This journal will focus on current newspaper articles related to the countries that we will cover in this class -

The instructor expects that students will find two articles per week for inclusion in this journal.  Students should obtain these articles from newspapers or current periodicals.  Students have a choice of either clipping these from a newspaper like the New York Times or photocopying these and pasting them in the journal, or they may download these directly from the web, and prints them for inclusion in the journal. (The instructor has provided a list of good academic journals that are available through EBSCO on the SMU Library network.
  Links to international newspapers are listed below for your information:

New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/
Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Christian Science Monitor  http://www.csmonitor.com/
The BBC (British Broadcasting Co)  http://www.bbc.co.uk/
International Herald Tribune  http://www.iht.com/frontpage.html
The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/
The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk
The Financial Times. http://www.ft.com/home/uk
Frankfueter Allgemeine Zeitung http://www.faz.com/IN/INtemplates/eFAZ/default.asp
Le Monde Diplomatique  http://mondediplo.com/
Agence France-Presse.  http://www.afp.com/english/home/
The Economist http://www.economist.com/

Moscow Times http://www.themoscowtimes.com/indexes/01.html
Russia Now. http://russianow.washingtonpost.com/

Grading Policy
There will be TWO EXAMINATIONS and a JOURNAL required of all students in this course. Each examination will count 25% of you total grade. The journal will also count 25%; class discussion and class participation will constitute the final 25% of the grade. The grades for this course will be calculated as follows:

Mid Term Exam  =100 points (25%) A= 400-360
Final Exam =100 points (25%) B= 359-320
European Journal =100 points (25%) C= 319-280
Participation/ Discussion =100 points (25%) D= 279-240
    400 points  F= 239-200

Attendance
I consider attendance to be an important part of this course. Excessive absences will be penalized. Students who miss more than 3 classes for any reason will be penalized one half of a letter grade (20 points); students who miss more than 5 classes will be penalized one letter grade (40 points). This policy will be strictly enforced.

Required Textbooks:
            M. Donald Handcock, et. al. Politics in Europe 4th  Ed. 2006    (PIE) 

Jan 10   Introduction (1)
Jan 12 Comparing Political Systems (1)
   Lecture Outline Comparing Political Systems
   
UNITED KINGDOM
Jan 14-21 Historical Background (3)
      (PIE)  pgs 1-27
Lecture Outline-British Historical Background
Lecture Outline- British History Since WW II
Jan 24-26 Political Parties and Elections (2)
     (PIE)   pgs 53-75
Lecture Outline- British Political Parties
Jan 28-31 Political Institutions (2)
    (PIE) pgs 28-52
Lecture Outline- British Political Institutions-Executive
Lecture Outline- British Political Institutions- Parliament
Feb 2 Film: Question Period in the House of Commons
Feb 4 Contemporary Problems (1)
     (PIE) pgs 76-100
Lecture Outline:  British Political Problems
Feb 7 Films on the United Kingdom
FRANCE
Feb 9-14 Historical Background (3)
     (PIE) pgs 101-113
Lecture Outline- French Political History
Feb 16-18 Parties and Elections (2)            
     (PIE)  pgs  136-167
Lecture Outline- French Political Parties
Feb 23-25 Political Institutions (2)                   
     (PIE) pgs  114-135
Lecture Outline:  French Political Institutions
Feb 28 Films on France
Mar 2 Contemporary Problems (1)
     (PIE) pgs 168-190 
Lecture Outline: French Political Problems
Mar 4th MID TERM EXAMINATION
GERMANY
Mar 7-11 Historical Background (3)
     (PIE) pgs 191-212
Lecture Outline: German Historical Background
Lecture Outline: Post-War German History
Mar 23-25 Political Parties and Elections (2)
     (PIE)  pgs 229-251
Lecture Outline: German Political Parties
Political Profile:  Angela Merkel
Political Profile:  Gerhard Schroeder
Mar 28-30 Political Institutions (2)
     (PIE)  pgs 213-228 and 252-264
Lecture Outlines: German Political Institutions
Apr 1 Films on Germany
Apr 4 German Political Problems (1)
         (PIE)  pgs 265-278
Lecture Outline:  German Political Problems
RUSSIA   
Apr 6-8 Historical Background (2)
     (PIE)  pgs 453-470
Lecture Outline: Russian Historical Background
Lecture Outline Gorbachev Era
Apr 11 Movie on Gorbachev years
Apr 13-15 Political Parties and Elections  (2)
     (PIE) pgs 483-494
Lecture Outline: Russian Political Parties
Apr 18 Movie: "Return of the Czar."
Apr 20-22 Political Institutions   (1)
     (PIE)  pgs 471-482 and 495-516
Lecture Outline: Russian Political Institutions
Apr 27 Russian Political Problems (1)
FINAL EXAM  (TO BE ANNOUNCED)
   

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