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AP Comparative Government & Politics

Syllabus Course Design AP Comparative Government & Politics is a challenging course that is designed to be the equivalent of a freshman college course and can earn students college credit. The class introduces students to fundamental concepts used by political scientists to examine the processes and outcomes of politics in a number of countries. The course shows the diversity of political life, institutional alternatives, differences in processes, and policy outcomes, and the importance of global economic and political changes. Comparison is helpful in identifying problems and evaluating policymaking by comparing the political institutions and practices of wealthy and poor nations one can understand the political results of economic well-being. The course covers six specific countries and their governments. The six countries; Great Britain, Russia, China, Mexico, Iran, and Nigeria form the core of the AP Comparative Government and Politics class. Students will gain insight by comparing relevant facts from the six core countries. Goals* Student successfully completing this course will: · · · · · Understand major comparative political concepts, themes, and generalizations. Have knowledge of important facts pertaining to the governments and politics of Great Britain, Russia, China, Mexico, Iran, and Nigeria. Understand typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences. Be able to compare and contrast political institutions and processes across countries and to derive generalization. Be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to comparative government and politics.

Major Theme* I. II. III. IV. V. VI. Introduction to Comparative Politics Sovereignty, Authority, and Power Political Institutions Citizens, Society, and the State Political and Economic Change Public Policy

Textbook and Readings Charles Hauss, Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges, 5th ed. Boston: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, 2005. Supplementary articles past and present from The Economist, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and AP Central.

*The course description, goals, and themes are tied directly to the AP course description for Comparative Politics.


Organization The course is basically organized through units of study. Each unit considers a major element of comparative politics. At the beginning of each unit, students will receive an assignment sheet which will include reading assignments along with quiz and test dates. Students are responsible to keep up with reading assignments and shall be aware of, and prepared for quizzes and tests. Class will be a combination of lecture-discussion, group work, coverage of discussion questions, answering student questions, and pertinent videos. Participation Student participation is an important factor for success in the program. Positive participation revolves around having materials available, completing assignments in a timely fashion, being consistently involved in all activities, and support the academic atmosphere of the class. Positive participation is closely related to solid attendance. Tests and Quizzes Each unit will be concluded with a two-day model AP test. The test will consist of sixty multiple choice questions and a free response section structured closely to the AP Exam using past exam questions and related material. Reading assignments will be supported by short five to ten question quizzes and each chapter will conclude with a vocabulary quiz. Pop quizzes will be used occasionally to support lectures and discussions. Student Evaluation Tests = 60% Quizzes = 20% Assignments = 20% Standard percentile system will be used for grades A AB+ B BC+ = = = = = = 93% - 100% 90% - 92% 87% - 89% 83% - 86% 80% - 82% 77% - 79% C CD+ D F = = = = = 70% - 72% 67% - 69% 60% - 69% 60% - 66% Under 60%

COURSE OUTLINE Unit 1: Introduction to Comparative Politics Readings Hauss: Chapter 1 ­ Seeking New Lands, Seeing with New Eyes AP Central: Globalization Briefing Paper AP Central: Democratization Briefing Paper Ken Wedding: Civil Society: An Introduction (AP Central)


Jack Bielasiak: electoral Systems and Political Parties (AP Central) Donley T. Studlar: Understanding Federalism and Devolution (AP Central) Learning Objectives Students will be able to: 1. Understand the relevance of comparative government and politics. 2. Understand that today's world is changing rapidly and events taking place around the world affect us all and that it is a time of crisis. 3. Know that politics is not exclusively about power. 4. Understand the precise meaning of government, state, regime, and nation. 5. Describe the major features of industrialized democracies, current and former communist regimes, and the third world. 6. Explain the major differences between weak states and strong states. 7. Understand the major components of systems theory (input, decision making, output, feedback, and environment) and its use as a means to see how a states components interact over time. 8. Explain the tremendous impact of globalization and democratization on world political development. 9. Understand the concepts of sovereignty, authority, and power and how they apply to comparative politics. Assignments and Assessments A. Chart Activity: Students will construct a comparison chart of twenty-five selected countries among them industrialized democracies, current, and former communist regimes and third world countries rapidly developing and slowly developing. The information will be gathered from the CIA World Fact Book and will include population, area, degree of urbanization, major cities, GDP per capita, literacy rate, life expectancy (male and female), type of government, and current leadership. Students will use the information to understand the vast diversity of nations and how the facts may be used for various comparative topics. B. Current Events: Students will select a current newspaper article relating to globalization or democratization and write a short one to two paragraph analysis. Their findings will be shared with the class.


C. Short Essay: After reading "Civil Society: An Introduction", students will write a shore essay (no more than 250 words) considering the significance of civil society to comparative politics. Unit 2: Industrialized Democracies Readings Hauss: Chapter 2 ­ The Industrialized Democracies Chapter 3 ­ The United States Chapter 4 ­ Great Britain Chapter 7 ­ The European Union Donley T. Studlar: The British General Election of 2005 (AP Central) Beate Sissenrich: Challenges of European Union Enlargement (AP Central) Learning Objectives Students will be able to: 1. Explain the basic features of democracy: rights, competitive elections, the rule of law, civil society and culture, and capitalism and affluence. 2. Understand why there is so much debate about public policy in the industrialized democracies. 3. Discuss the origins of the modern democratic state. 4. Understand the concept of legitimacy and its significance within a civic culture. 5. Explain the development of post-industrial society and post-materialist voters and the impact on modern government. 6. Describe the major features of presidential and parliamentary systems. 7. Explain the rise of the interventionist state and its emphasis on education, health care, and support for senior citizens. 8. Understand the importance of separation of powers and checks and balances in the government of the United States. 9. Describe the role of parties and elections in the political system of the United States. 10. Explain the factors t6hat lead political scientists to consider the United States as a weak state. 11. Understand the importance of social class in British life. 12. Explain the relationship of gradualism to the development of the British state. 13. Understand the relationship of Great Britain with the European Union.


14. Describe how the influence of the House of Lords and the Monarchy has declined since the beginning of the 20th Century. 15. Explain the role of the House of Commons, the parliamentary party and the Prime Minister in the British system. 16. Understand the significance of the Thatcher and Blair revolutions. 17. Explain the concern about the lack of democracy with the European Union. 18. Discuss the basic features of the Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament. 19. Explain the major points in the debate regarding the EU and national sovereignty. 20. Understand the significance of broadening and deepening in the future development of the EU. Assignments and Assessments A. Comparison Chart: Students will receive charts featuring the six core countries and the United States vertically with basic features such as political participation, elections, political parties, interest groups, major cleavages, executive, legislative, judicial, bureaucracy, economic system, foreign policy, and the media. Students are to carefully supply the information for Great Britain. B. Take-Home Essays: Free-Response Questions Students will answer free-response questions from past AP exams related to the unit. 1. 200 exam question #4 - regarding characteristics of democracies. 2. 2002 exam question #4 - regarding political parties and changing positions. 3. 2003 exam question #4 - regarding the European Union and Sovereignty. C. Video Response: After viewing the C-Span video on Tony Blair and a question hour students are to write a response (no more then 250 words) focusing on Blair's performance, the major issues considered, and the overall demeanor of the House of Commons. D. Comparison Charts: Presidential and Parliamentary Systems Students will draw two charts: The first chart will display the relation between the President and Congress and the second considers the Prime Minister and the Cabinet in relation to the majority and minority parties and the voters.


Unit 3: Current and Former Communist Regimes Readings Hauss: Chapter 8 ­ Current and Former Communist Regimes Chapter 9 ­ Russia Chapter 10 ­ China Henry Hale: Russia's Elections and "Managed Democracy" Neil J. Mitchell: Illiberal Democracy and Vladimir Putin's Russia Kristen Parris: Elite transformation and Institutional Change: The Recent Party Congresses in China Learning Objectives Students will be able to 1. Explain the four major characteristics of socialism. 2. Discuss the basic elements of Marxism including the dialectic, historical materialism, base, contradictions, superstructure, bourgeoisie, and the proletariat. 3. Explain how Lenin adjusted Marxism to fit the conditions in Russia. 4. describe the party state and the function of the secretariat, the politburo, and the general secretary. 5. Understand the Revolution of 1989 that brought about the collapse of communist regimes in Easter Europe. 6. Explain the reasons that Communist regimes survived in five countries. 7. Explain why regimes that seemed so strong collapsed so quickly. 8. Discuss Russian challenges in the areas of ethnic diversity, poverty, environment, and corruption. 9. Explain the role of Stalin in the shaping of the Soviet Union. 10. Explain the reform efforts of Gorbachev and its ultimate failure to save the communist state. 11. Discuss the political culture of the Russian Federation. 12. Evaluate the system of elections in the Russian Federation. 13. Explain the features of the Russian constitution that created an extremely powerful president. 14. Describe the political institutions of the Russian Federation. 15. Explain why political scientists consider Russia to be an illiberal democracy. 16. Discuss how factionalism is a major factor in the history of communism in China.


17. Compare and contrast communist state in Russian and China. 18. Explain the significance of the Sino-Soviet split. 19. Describe the political culture and degree of political participation in China. 20. Explain what is meant by the concept of participation form the top down as it applies to China. 21. Discuss the significance of the Chinese Democracy Movement of 1978. 22. Explain the factors that allowed communism to survive in China while it has collapsed in the Soviet Union. 23. Discuss modern economic reform programs in China including rapidly expanding private enterprise and market economy. 24. Explain the inner conflict within current Chinese leadership between conservatives and moderates. 25. Discuss the Chinese political dilemma regarding the expansion of a market economy in a communist state. Assignments and Assessments A. Comparison Charts: Students will return to their detailed comparison charts and add Russia and China. B. Video Response Essay: After viewing the video entitle "Animal Farm" the students will write an essay (no more than 250 words) explaining how this work of fiction depicted the developments in the Soviet Union under Stalin. C. Free Response Questions: Students will answer three free-response questions from past AP exams during class time. 1. 2001 AP exam question #1 - compare the electoral systems of Great Britain and Russia. 2. 2001 AP exam question #3 ­ analyzing a graph of Chinese personal income in rural and urban areas. Students must compare growth rates form 1982-1997. 3. 2003 AP exam question #1 - citizen participation in China. D. Take-home Essay: After reading "Illiberal Democracy and Vladimir Putin's Russia" students will write an essay analyzing the concept of illiberal democracy.


Unit 4: The Third World Readings Hauss: Chapter 11 ­ The Third World Chapter 13 ­ Iran Chapter 15 ­ Nigeria Chapter 16 ­ Mexico AP Central: Iran Briefing Paper AP Central: Nigeria Briefing Paper AP Central: Mexico Briefing Paper Irene Omo-Bare: The Democratic Transition in Nigeria Learning Objectives Students will be able to: 1. Explain the impact of European imperialism on the third world countries. 2. Describe the problems faced by nations once they gained independence. 3. Explain the patterns of political participation in third world countries. 4. Discuss the concepts of import substitution and structural adjustments. 5. Explain the debt crisis faced by many of the poorer nations and international efforts to remedy the crisis. 6. Discuss the major features of the political culture of Iran. 7. Explain the electoral process followed in Iran. 8. Discuss the make up of the Iranian state with special consideration given to the Supreme Leader, the Guardianship of the Jurist, the Assembly of Experts, the Guardian Council, and the Expediency Council. 9. Give reasons to explain Iran's slow economic progress. 10. Explain why globalization has had little impact on Iran. 11. Discuss the degree of poverty in Nigeria. 12. Explain the major issues surrounding ethnic conflict in Nigeria. 13. Discuss the highly influential role of the military in Nigerian politics. 14. Explain the key aspects of political culture in Nigeria. 15. Explain the role of political parties and elections in Nigeria. 16. Discuss why modern Nigeria is considered to be a fragile state.


17. Explain economic development and structural adjustment in Nigeria. 18. discuss the impact of globalization in Nigeria. 19. Explain the significance of revolution in Mexican politics. 20. Discuss the political culture in modern Mexico. 21. Explain the total dominance of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) form 1927 to 2000. 22. Discuss the events that ended the PRI dominance. 23. Discuss the main features of the Mexican state emphasizing the dominance of the president and the president's with the legislature. 24. Explain how corporatism and corruption are major factors in Mexican politics. 25. Explain the four overlapping policies that brought about Mexico's dramatic turnaround. 26. Discuss how trade, drugs, and immigration policies have affected U.S.­Mexican relations. Assignments and Assessments A. Group Activity The class will be divided into three groups (Iran, Nigeria, and Mexico). The groups will receive five questions related to their country. They will answer the questions as a group and present their findings to the class during the next class. Example Questions: (Iran) Why is Iran having a hard time developing it's economy despite the fact that it has so much oil and other natural resources? (Nigeria) How have the frequent shifts from civilian to military rule and back again exacerbated the country's many social and economic problems? (Mexico) Why did three successive administrations in the 1980's and 1990's embrace structural adjustments as fully as any leaders in the third world? B. Comparison Chart Students will complete their detailed comparison charts by adding Iran, Nigeria, and Mexico. C. Free Response Questions Students will answer three free response questions selected from past AP exams during class time.


1. 1999 AP exam question #2 - compare ethnic conflict in Mexico and Nigeria with that of post1991 Russia. 2. 1999 AP exam question #4 ­ political legitimacy comparisons between Mexico and Nigeria. 3. 2000 AP exam question #2 ­ comparing recruitment of political elites in China and Mexico. D. Summary Report After reading "The 2007 Nation Elections in Nigeria (College Board: Recent Elections from Around the World pp. 2-7) the students will write a summary report considering the major facts regarding the election.



AP Comparative Government and Politics

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