|American University in Cairo Prof.Mustapha Kamel Al-Sayyid
Department of Political Science Spring 2015.
Introduction to Comparative Politics Course outline Pols.3401
We would understand ourselves better if we knew the others. We would be capable of comprehending our political conditions in the Arab world if we knew political conditions under which other people live, whether those who share our economic and social situation and our culture, or those who live under entirely different conditions and cultures. But do not forget that we share with all people our being all human beings.
Let us then start this intellectual journey of exploring elements of the political framework of human activity of all the people.
This course strives to attain some objectives, which should constitute outcomes of all its activities:
-1-Mastering the principal concepts and theories of comparative politics,
2-learning the methodology of comparative politics: how to find out differences and similarities and find out how they came about,
3-accessing sources of knowledge about comparative politics,
4-applying concepts and theories of comparative politics in comparative studies of political systems and institutions.
5-situating Egypt’s political system and institutions within a broader perspective.
Basic readings :
Newton, Kenneth and Jan W. Van Deth. Foundations of Comparative Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.7th printing.2014.
Lim. Timothy C. Doing Comparative Politics. An Introduction to Approaches & Issues. Boulder & London :Lynne Rienner Publishers.2nd edition.2010
1-You should go through class readings before coming to class. You will have a reading assignment every week which has to be submitted as a reflection paper, of 1000 words. Unless you submit 70% of these reflection papers ,you will not get a passing grade in this course.
2-All your assignments must be documented, with footnotes or endnotes according to academic rules. Term paper not documented will not be accepted.
3-Plaigiarism is severely penalized. A paper not recognizing its sources and inadequately documented will get zero.
4- A student who misses six sessions or three weeks of class meetings could end up with a reduced grade including the grade F solely his absence from class.
5- Your term paper should use no less than 10 sources and be composed of no less than 3500 words.
6- All class presentations, readings not from textbooks and course instructions are posted on Blackboard which you should consult on the eve of class meetings.
Syllabus of the course:
It revolves around four basic concepts: methodology, state, society, and citizen.
I-How to do comparisons in comparative politics,
The state, ancient and modern
Types of states , international and supranational entities
Legal framework of politics
Government and types of governmental systems:
Presidential, parliamentary and authoritarian
Government authorities, executive, legislative and judiciary
Civil and political society
Civil society, social movements ,mass media and interest groups
Party systems and political parties
How citizens think about politics; political ideologies
How citizens act politically: voting and elections
What citizens do when they are unhappy about politics: protest and revolutions?
V- Policy-making process.
Assignments and distribution of grades:
Class readings and activities 20%
Attendance and participation 10%
Term paper 20%
Mid term 20%
Schedule of classes and bibliography
First week, February 1-4
The comparative method in politics.
Newton & Van Deth. Introduction, p.1-10
Second week, February 8-11
The State, ancient and modern.
Third week, February 15-18
Types of State, and levels of government
Fourth week: February 22-25
Legal framework of politics.
Fifth week: March 1-4
Government, and types of governmental systems
Sixth week: March 8-11
Seventh week: March 15-18
March 18: Debating the State.
Submit an abstract of your term paper
Eighth week: March 22-25
Civil society and social movements
March 22 Mid-term
March 25: Society
Read: Ibid. p.198-223
Ninth week: March 29-April 2
Political Society: political parties
Submit outline of your paper.
Tenth week :April 15
Eleventh week, April 19-22
How citizens think about politics: Ideologies
Ideologies in Arab countries: nationalism and political Islam
Read any of the following:
Gerges, Fawaz A.” The Islamist Moment: From Islamic State to Civil Islam?” Political Science Quarterly. Fall 2013.Vol.128, Issue 3,p.389-426
Pahwa, Sumita ” Secularizing Islamism and Islamizing Democracy: The Political and Ideational Evolution of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers 1984-2012”.Mediterranean Politics. July 2013. Vol.18 Issue 2. p.189-206.
Twelfth week: April 26-29
How do citizens behave in politics:
Political attitudes and behaviour
Newton & Van Deth.p.171-197
Thirteenth week: May 3-6
Read: Voters and elections.
Debate: Observations on Egyptian parliamentary elections.
Fourteenth week, May 10-13
Collective protest and revolution
Read: Timothy C. Lim. Chapter 7.Pp.221-250
Smith, B.C.”Instability and Revolution ”in Understanding Third World Politics. Theories of Political Change & Development. Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2nd edition .2003. Pp.219-250
Fifteenth week: May 17.
The policy-making process.
Read. Newton & Van Deth. 315-336
Sunday and Wednesday
Office: 2028 Political Science Department.
Assistant: May Seoud.