Pols 150, Spring 2015 Comparative Politics and Government

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POLS 150, Spring 2015

Comparative Politics and Government

Professor Sunil K. Sahu,  Sahus@Depauw.edu

Office: Asbury 108A

Hours: Monday 2:00-3:30, Tuesday 2:00-3:30 and by appointment

Goals and Objectives

This course is designed to introduce students to the comparative study of politics

and government. Rather than attempt broad comparisons at a high level of
abstraction, we shall study the political systems of the First World (Western
liberal democracies), the Second World (the Communist and post-Communist
states), and the Third World (the developing nations). In particular, the course
will examine political systems in four representative cases from the three
worlds: Great Britain from the industrialized democracies, China from the
communist and post-communist states, and India, and Nigeria from the
developing world. The political experience in each case will be studied in the
context of its own cultural and historical settings. Such an approach will allow us
to see the differences within a particular type of regime. We shall inquire, for
example, why Chinese communism is different from communism in the former
Soviet Union; why democratic institutions have survived in India but not in most
other Third World countries; why Great Britain, the mother of parliamentary
democracy, has had a stable political system in modern time even though it
does not have a written constitution. The answers to these questions, and many
others, will invariably be found in the history, tradition, and political culture
of a nation.

Our study of politics in four countries will focus on a comparison of their

institutions, political parties, the role of ideology and leadership, varying
developmental experience, and the performance of their governments.
We shall also examine the domestic responses to global challenges in the
post-9/11 era. Furthermore, the study of major approaches and
theories of comparative politics, as applicable to liberal democratic, communist
and post-communist, and developing Third World systems, will constitute
an important part of the course. It will allow us to make the comparisons of
the political institutions and processes in a systematic and more meaningful
way. An understanding of theories and approaches of comparative politics
will enable us to make broad generalizations about the countries to be
studied and provide tools of analysis for further enquiry into other political

Required Texts and Other Readings

The two texts required for this course can be purchased at the DePauw University

1. Howard Wiarda, Comparative Politics: Approaches and Issues, Rowman and Littlefield, 2007.

2. Charles Hauss and Melissa Haussman, Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenge, 9th edition, Wadsworth, 2015.

3. Other required readings--chapters from various books and articles

published in scholarly journals--are available on Moodle.

4. You are expected to keep yourself informed about developments in the

three worlds. I am therefore requiring that each one of you took a Monday and Friday
subscription to The New York Times. The Times subscription will cost you $16.90, which would be added to your tuition bill. You will also benefit from the TV network or CNN Evening News programs and from NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Teaching Method

My expectations from each one of you are high! You are expected to come
to class prepared every time, i.e. having done the assigned reading. A "free
rider" tendency will be strictly discouraged. It will be a fair game for me to
identify the students, in a random fashion, in each class meeting who will
respond to my question(s). There will be an opportunity for everyone to participate in
the class discussions. I want my students to be active learners who will develop a
sense of ownership over the course and the materials covered in this class.

Course Requirements

  1. Examinations (70%). There will be two semester exams--on March 2 and April 13--
    and a final exam on May 13 (section A) and May 14 (section B) at 8:30 a.m. Semester exams
    will count 40% (20% each) and the final exam 30% toward the final grade. Exams will draw
    extensively on materials from lectures as well as required readings. It is not possible to neglect
    either and perform adequately in the course. All the exams will consist of essay questions,
    short-answer questions, definitions, leader identification, and current affairs questions.

  2. Group Project, Participation and Attendance (20%) Participation in class discussion and attendance will carry 10% and assigned PowerPoint presentation 10% toward the final grade. These assignments will be due on short notice, usually in 2 days. Further details will be announced in class.

3. Quizzes. (10%). Four pop quizzes will be given during the semester; no make-up quizzes

will be allowed.

4. Conferences: TBA

ADA Compliance. “DePauw University is committed to providing equal access to academic programs and university administered activities with reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities, in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and Amendments (ADAAA).  Any student who feels she or he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability or learning challenge is strongly encouraged to contact Pamela Roberts, Director of Student Disability Services and ADA Compliance for further information on how to receive accommodations and support.  Contact information for Student Disability Services is: 408 S. Locust Street, Suite 200, in The Memorial Student Union Building (765-658-6267).  It is the responsibility of the student to share the letter of accommodation with faculty and staff members. Accommodations will not be implemented until the faculty or staff member has received the official letter. Accommodations are not retroactive.   It is the responsibility of the student to discuss implementation of accommodations with each faculty and staff member receiving the letter.”

General Rule:

Failure to appear for an exam will result in a zero for the assignment. The only exception to this rule will be documented legitimate excuses such as family, legal, and medical emergencies.

Attendance Policy: You will be penalized if you miss more than two classes at the rate of 30 points for each unexcused absence.

Grading Policy: Grades will be given solely based on performance, not according to a "curve" or any predetermined

distribution. In principle, all students can receive A's or any other grade. The grading scale is as follows:






Exceptional and outstanding work.



Excellent work of an unusually strong quality.



Excellent performance.



Very good work



Good work



Slightly better than average work. 



Average work



Worse than average



Poor work



Very poor work



Very close to failing

59 or below





January 26: Introduction

Part I: Concepts and Theories
January 28: No Class, Inclusiveness Conversation

January 30, February 2, 4 and 6

1. Comparative Politics--Why, What and How, History and Methodology

*Howard Wiarda, Comparative Politics: Approaches and Issues, Ch. 1 and  2.
*Sahu, "Political Science," Survey of Social Science: Government and
Politics Series, 1996.
*Mattei Dogan and Dominique Pelassy, How to Compare Nations:
Strategies in Comparative Politics, 2nd ed., Chatham House, 1990, Ch.
1, pp. 5-13.
2. Key Concepts and Systems Theory

*Hauss, Ch. 1   
*David Easton, "Systems Analysis," in Approaches to the Study of Politics.
Feb. 9, 11, 13, and 16

3.  Political Culture

*Wiarda, Chapter 4

*Hauss, pp. 32-33
"Cultural Explanations: The Man in Baghdad Cafe," Art. 46 in Annual Editions.
Benjamin Barber, "Jihad versus McWorld," Art. 49 in Annual Editions.

4. Modernization and Development

Wiarda, Ch. 3
Arturo Valenzuela, "Modernization and Dependency," pp. 416-420. 
Feb. 18, 20
5.  Sustainable Development. Dependency Theory

*Wiarda, pp. 79-84
*Arturo Valenzuela, "Modernization and Dependency," pp. 420-427.
*Tony Smith, "The Dependency Approach"                                                  
*Andre Gunder Frank, "The Development of Under-development"


February 23, 25, 27

6. Democracy and Democratization
*Wiarda, Ch. 6
*Hauss, pp. 23-32.
*Sahu, "Democracy and Democratic Governments"                                     
*Philippe C. Schmitter and Terry Lynn Karl, "What Democracy Is...and
Is Not,"  Art. 22 in Annual Editions.
*Robert Dahl, What Political Institutions Does Large-Scale Democracy Require?,
Art. 21 in Annual Editions.

March 2: Semester Exam 1

Part II: Government and Politics In Great Britain

March 4 and 6

7.  British Tradition and Political Culture
*Hauss, Ch. 4, pp. 69-82
*Philip Norton, The British Polity, 3rd ed., Longman, 1994, Ch. 2.
March 9, 11 and 13
8. Political Institutions and Constitutional Reforms

*Hauss, pp. 82-95
*"The Queen's Power: The Struggle to be Ancient and Modern," The
Economist, Dec. 12, 1987.
*Donley T. Studlar, "A Constitutional Revolution in Britain?," in Annual Editions,
Art. 1.
Video: "Britain's Parliament at Work: Order, Order!" JN 508.063 1994

March 16, 18 and 20

9. Party Politics: Thatcherism, Blarism and Cameronism

*Hauss, pp. 95-101
*Donley Studler, "The British general Election of 2005," Art. 3 in Annual Editions.
*"The Thatcher Legacy," Economist, October 2, 1993
*The Strange Tail of Tony Blair," Art. 4 in Annual Editions
*"Weighing the Votes: Why the Electoral System  Favors Labor," Art. 2 in Annual
Film: Will There Always Be An England?

Web sites:

This site of the British Information Service leads you to reams of material
on Tony Blair and the Labor Party, the European Union, relations with
Northern Ireland, and many other topics in the study of the British
political system. 


flag of the U.K.


The official Web site of the British prime minister. There is a wealth of
information on this site


The UK Prime Minister's home page, providing information about the
activities of the Government.

This Web site has a wealth of information about the British government.



(official Web site of the Labor Party)


(General election 1997 Web site. You will find party manifestos on this site.)


(official Web site of the Conservative Party)


This unofficial Margaret Thatcher Site is the net's largest and most extensive
site dedicated to Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first woman Prime Minister.
At this site you would be able to find out about the woman who came to
power as Europe's first ever female Premier, the woman who was the first
Prime Minister in over one hundred years to win three consecutive terms in
office, the woman who reversed the whole British economy and drove
Britain out of decline, the woman who won the Falklands War, who
defeated the power of the trade unions, and yet the woman who was
forced out of Office by her own party. 

Week of March 23: Spring Recess

Part III: Government and Politics in China  

March 30, April 1 and 3

10. Historical and Cultural Setting, the Chinese Communist Party

*Hauss, Ch. 10, pp. 265-281
*"People's Republic of China: Tensions Between Modernization and
Ideology," in China, 3rd edition, pp.5-30.
*Maurice Meisner, "China's Communist Revolution: A Half Century
Perspective," Current History, Sept. 1999.
Video Clip: The Two Coasts of China available at 
Video: Mao By Mao

11. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, The Party State

*Hauss, pp. 285-289
*Edwin Moise, "The Great Leap and the Great Split," and "The Cultural Revolution,"
in Modern China, Chapters 7 and 8.
*Mingzheng Shi, "Cultural Revolution," Video Clip

Film: Leaders of the Revolution

April 6, 8 and 13

12. Economic Reform and Democracy Movement

*Hauss, pp. 289-296.
*Doug Guthrie, "China the Quiet Revolution," Art. 37 in Annual Editions
*Joseph Kahn, "China's Leader, Ex-Rival at Side, Solidifies Power," Art. 38  in Annual
Bueno de Mesquita, Downs and George, "Development and Democracy," Foreign Affairs,
September/October 2005.
Film:China After Tiananmen

Web sites



Part of the European Internet Network, this site leads to information on
China, including recent news, government, and related sites pertaining
to China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. 


People's Daily Online site has lots of information about President Jiang
Zemin--biographical information, speeches, latest news, and photographs.


April 10: No class (ASIA Network conference)

April 15: Semester Exam II

April 17

Part IV: Government and Politics in India

13. Historical and Cultural Setting, Religion and Politics

*Hauss, Ch. 12, pp. 3330-347.

*Sunil K. Sahu, "Hinduism," and "Mohandas K. Gandhi," in Asian
American Encyclopedia, 1995.
*Sahu, "Religion and Politics in India: The Emergence of Hindu National-
ism and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)," in Jelen and Wilcox Eds.),
The One and the Many: Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective,
Cambridge University Press, 2002.
*P.B. Mehta, "India: The Nuclear Politics of Self-Esteem," Current
History, December 1998.
*Ramesh Thakur, "Ayodhya and the Politics of India's Secularism: A
Double-Standards Discourse," Asian Survey, July 1993.
Film: Road to India's Independence
April 20, 22 and 24

14. Political Institutions, Parties and Politics

*Hauss, 347-358.
*Craig Baxter et. al., Government and Politics in South Asia, Ch. 6.
"Sonia: And Yet So Far," Art. 39 in Annual Editions
Rajan Menon, "India's Democracy Provides Lessons," Art. 40 in Annual
*"Advantage Sonia," India Today, August 29, 2005.

Video: Life and Death of a Dynasty



The official Web site of the Bharatiya Janata Party which has been in
power since March 1998.


Official Web site of the Indian Prime Minister


Web site of Sonia Gandhi, the Opposition leader in Parliament

April 27, 29 and May 1

15. Democracy and Development in India

*Hauss, pp. 358-367
*Susanne Rudolph and Lloyd Rudolph, "New Dimensions of Indian
Democracy," Journal of Democracy, January 2002 in Comparative
Politics, Art. 39.
*Shailendra D. Sharma, "India's Economic Liberalization: The Elephant
Comes of Age," Current History, December 1996.
*Rajan Menon, "India's Democracy Provodes Lessons," Art. 35 in Annual Editions
*Prabhu Chawla, "Elections 2004," India Today, January 26, 2004,
pp. 8-9.
*Amy Waldman, "India's Soybean Farmers Join the Global Village," NY Times,  
January 1, 2004.

May 4, 6 and 8

16. Politics in Nigeria

Hauss, pp. 429-441

Hauss, pp. 441-460
Hints of a New Chapter (Moodle)

May 13: Final Exam (section A), 8:30 a.m.

May 14: Final Exam (section B), 8:30 a.m.

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