Introduction to Political Science

Introduction to Political Science


Spring 2011
01/18/2011 - 05/15/2011

Course Information

Section 001
TTh 14:50 - 16:05
PIN1 403
Roy Casagranda

Office Hours

  • M W
    10:20 - 10:30
    PIN 407
  • M W
    11:50 - 12:00
    PIN 407
  • M W
    1:20 - 2:00
    PIN 407
  • T Th
    10:25 - 10:35
    PIN 407
  • T Th
    11:50 - 12:00
  • T Th
    1:15 - 2:50
    PIN 407
  • T Th
    4:05 - 4:15
    PIN 407
    or by appointment

Course Requirements

Three research essays are to be turned in over the course of the semester as noted on the Course Schedule (see below).  In addition to this your grade will include a participation component and two presentations.   

Late Assignments:
Your grade will be lowered by one letter grade for every day it is late, on essay assignments.  Should you miss a presentation date you will NOT receive an opportunity to make it up.  

Research Essays and
Your grade for each of the three Research Essays is staggered in value.  This is to give you the opportunity to take advantage of an increased skill set over the course of the semester. 

All Essays will be 1,500 to 2,500 words in length and turned into  The essay should not be treated as a summary of the information on the topic, but rather as a thesis covering some aspect of of the material.  You are to ask and answer some thesis or question of political significance.  Be creative.  Essays will not be turned in, in hard copy, but rather to  The class ID and enrollment passwords are listed below:

class ID: 3405103
enrollment password: plato

State Expertise:
You will be required to make a 5 minute presenation on the state of your choice.  This presentation will elaborate on the constitution, institutions, and workings of the government.  You will be considered the expert on this state during the entirety of the class.  Begin thinking about what state interests you.

List of priority states to be Presented:
Israel, Palestine (not a state), Sweden, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Italy, People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico.

Pinnacle Student Political Science Conference:
In addition to the state presentation you will also make a ten to fifteen minute presentation on a Research Essay of your choice for the PSPSA Conference. Of the 150 points available, 100 points are derived from the presentation and 50 points are derived from being a member of the audience.  In other words it is not only imperative that you attend all PSPSC dates, but also that you participate by asking questions.

Classroom participation is worth 150 points (one and a half letter grades).  There is no formal attendance grade, however, it will be difficult to participate in classroom discussions if you are not in attendance.  The best way to earn a high participation grade is to ask questions, answer questions, and contribute insights when appropriate.  This does not include randomly guessing what the professor's next word will be (this is not indication of intelligence, but rather an indication of poor communicative skills and is odious).

                                     POINTS TOWARDS

PARTICIPATION                  _ _150
TOTAL 1000

Final letter grades will be assigned after determining total points earned, as follows:

    Final  Grade Scale              Letter Grade    
          900 – 1000                         A    
           800 – 899                          B    
           700 – 799                          C    
           600 – 699                          D    
               0 – 599                           F    


Introduction to Political Science
                         Moten, Abdul Rashid and Syed Islam
                        Cengage Learning Asia, 2008
                         ISBN 978-9814253192

Course Subjects


1/18 Introduction    
1/20 Origins of Western Civilization and Philosophy   Chapter 4
1/25 Plato   Chapter 4 & Supplement
1/27 Aristotle   Chapter 4 & Supplement
2/1 Near Collapse of Western Civilization   Chapter 4 & Supplement
2/3 Ibn Sina and Ibn al Khaldoun   Chapter 4 & Supplement
2/8 Machiavelli   Chapter 4 & Supplement
2/10 Hobbes   Chapter 4 & Supplement
2/15 Locke   Chapter 4 & Supplement
2/17 Rousseau   Chapter 4 & Supplement
2/22 John Stewart Mill   Chapter 4 & Supplement
2/24 Friedrich Nietzsche   Chapter 4 & Supplement
3/1 Herbert Marcuse   Chapter 4 & Supplement
3/3 Hannah Arendt   Chapter 4 & Supplement
3/8 John Rawls   Chapter 4 & Supplement
Man is born free; everywhere man is in chains.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The State and Comparative Politics
3/10 Origins of the State and Government   Chapter 5
3/22 Role and Elements of the State FIRST ESSAY (Theory) Chapter 5
3/24 & 3/29 Types of Political System State Presentations Continued Chapter 6 and 7
3/31 Constitution State Presentations Continued Chapter 9
4/5 & 4/7 Democracy? State Presentations Conclude Chapter 8

Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity.
Hannah Arendt

International Relations
4/12 & 4/14 International Relations   Chapter 25
4/19 International Relations SECOND ESSAY (Comparative Paper) Chapter 25
4/21 & 4/26 International Organizations   Chapter 26
4/28 Iraq    

Political Economy regards the proletarian ... like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being. It leaves this to criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables, politics, and the beadle.
Karl Marx

The Discipline
5/3 Articles and Getting Published THIRD ESSAY (IR or Foreign Policy) Chapter 1
5/5 Job Market and Departmental Politics   Chapter 2

The knowledge of anything, since all things have causes, is not acquired or complete unless it is known by its causes.
Ibn Sina

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives

This course is an introductory survey of the discipline of political science, focusing on the history, scope, and methods of the field and the substantive topics in the discipline. This course includes a survey of Political Theory, the State, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Foreign Policy. The basic objectives of the course are for the student to:

1. Gain an awareness of different fields within political science.

2. Develop basic concepts within political science.

3. Develop theoretical and analytical skills.

4. Develop comparative skills.

5. Develop an understanding of international relations and foreign policy concepts.

6. Develop independent critical thinking skills.

7. Understand the theoretical nature of what government is.

8. Critically explore such concepts as republic, democratic theory, and liberalism.

9. Develop an understanding of rational choice theory.

The course will begin with an exploration of Political Theory.  It will start with thinkers like Plato and explore their contributions to our understanding of politics. 

Next, we will look at the state, its origins, and its evolution.

In the third part of the course we will look at the field of comparative politics.  We will compare several governments.  It will be assumed that you have an understanding of US and British governmnet.  If you do not have familiarity with these two governments, then it is up to you to develop that familiarity with them on your own.

Then we will look at International Relations and foreign policy.

We will finally conclude the course with an examination of the field of Political Science.

While this is primarily a lecture course, students will be graded for classroom participation, at least two formal presentations, and three essays.  It may also include videos, transparencies, role-playing simulations, internet activities, tests, and classroom discussions.  Students must attend and participate regularly.