Course Homepage: http://people.uleth.ca/~john.vonheyking/Poli1000.htm
One cannot say in an absolute and general manner whether the great danger of democracy is license or tyranny, anarchy or despotism. Both are equally to be feared and can as easily issue from one and the same cause, which is general apathy, the fruit of individualism. - Alexis de Tocqueville
Among all civilized peoples the political sciences create, or at least give shape to, general ideas; and from these general ideas are formed the problems in the midst of which politicians must struggle, and also the laws which they imagine they create. The political sciences form a sort of intellectual atmosphere breathed by both governors and governed in society, and both unwittingly derive from it the principles of their action. Only among barbarians is practice alone recognized in politics. – Alexis de Tocqueville
This course introduces students to the study of politics, including the sub-fields of political science. Students will be invited to examine the core ideas, main practices, and principal actors of political activity. We shall discuss topics such as the sources of political ideas, justifications of institutions and processes, and the various ways human beings organize themselves politically. While current events will be referred to in class, our primary focus will be to cultivate understanding and analysis of political phenomena, to become more sceptical observers, and to become more reflective citizens.
This course is designed to assist students in obtaining and cultivating the following skills:
- A. cultivating a measured and careful, yet thoroughgoing, approach to political analysis
- B. improving writing and debating skills
- C. reading, understanding, analysing, and criticizing texts
The class is based on lectures, readings, assignments, a presentation, and on participation. Papers are generally due in class one week after we complete a unit. See Class Schedule for specific due dates.
A. What is Politics? Essay (10%) (2-3 pages double-spaced): Your first paper will consider the nature of political life as it is exemplified negatively, that is, through Huxley’s anti-utopia. Your paper will be in the form of an essay answer to a specific question, which will be distributed by the professor.
B. Political Theory Essay (20%) (4-5 pages double-spaced): Your paper will consider the nature of political life as it is presented by Plato in his dialogues. Your paper will be in the form of an essay answer to a specific question, which will be distributed by the professor.
C. Canadian Politics Essay (20%) (4-5 pages double-spaced): Your paper will consider the nature of Canadian political life as it is presented the Canadian Founders. Your paper will be in the form of an essay answer to a specific question, which will be distributed by the professor.
D. International Relations Essay (20%) (4-5 pages double-spaced): Your paper will consider the nature of international politics, as presented through the competing lenses of “realism” and “idealism.” Your paper will be in the form of an essay answer to a specific question, which will be distributed by the professor.
E. Comparative Politics Essay (20%) (4-5 pages double-spaced): Your paper will consider the nature of Islamic politics as it is presented by the assigned text. Your paper will be in the form of an essay answer to a specific question, which will be distributed by the professor.
F. Group Presentation (5%): You will present a Powerpoint presentation on one supplementary reading to the class. Apply some of the insights from the course’s main readings to your article to show how the general principles of the main assigned readings compare with those found in the readings. Your comparison should focus on the assigned reading for that particular section of the course (i.e., compare articles dealing with Canadian politics with your assigned readings for the section of the class on Canadian politics). You also need to provide the instructor with a copy of your Powerpoint (which can be emailed).
G. Library Assignment (5%). Library assignment based on an in-class lecture by university librarian.
Information on Essay Assignments
In addition to your ability to produce a readable paper with proper grammar, your grade will be based on your ability to provide a coherent and nuanced explanation of the author’s argument. You may criticize the argument, but first you must demonstrate that you have understood it.
Students are encouraged to utilize the services offered by the university’s Writing Centre. They will not edit your papers, but they offer valuable assistance, including tutorials, in constructing an argument, writing style, grammar, and so forth. This online resource provides useful writing assistance as well: http://www.arts.uottawa.ca/writcent/hypergrammar/
Policy for Assignments Submitted Late
All assignments are due in class on the due date indicated. Assignments submitted later that same day will be penalized a partial grade (i.e., “A” becomes “A-“). Assignments submitted after this will be penalized one full grade per day (i.e., “A” becomes “B”, becomes “C,” etc.; weekend counts for 2 days).
It is the student’s responsibility to have late assignments date-stamped. This is done via one of two methods: 1) by e-mailing your assignment to the instructor, or 2) by having the Department of Political Science administrative assistant verify the date you submitted it.
Late assignments submitted without date-stamp, or slid under my office door, will not be accepted.
Essay Formatting Policy
The following items of formatting must be included in your paper for you to receive full marks:
- Title page, including the following information:
- ID number
- Course & section number
- Date submitted
- Instructor’s name (make sure you spell it correctly)
- The paper must be stapled (no paperclips or folded edges)
- Double spacing
- Page numbers (starting on first page of text) 12 point Times New Roman font, or a font equivalent in size (font that is too large or too small is unsatisfactory)
- Chicago style footnoting, including proper format for subsequent citations (see: http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/DocChicago.html)
- Any quotation longer than 5 lines needs to be indented and single-spaced
- List of Works Cited or Bibliography on the last page
Failure to follow proper formatting procedure will result in docking a mark per infraction (e.g., B becomes B- for a single infraction). Multiple infractions will the result in further docking of marks.
Needless to say, correct spelling and grammar are required and are graded separately.
Plagiarism is a serious offence, punishable by an “F” in the course or even expulsion from the university. The University of Lethbridge defines plagiarism in these words:
- No student shall represent the words or ideas of another person as his or her own. This regulation will affect any academic assignment or other component of any course or program of study, whether the plagiarized material constitutes a part or the entirety of the work submitted.... The student shall bear the burden of proof of proving that there was no intent to deceive.
Students should familiarize themselves with the university’s policies on student conduct and appeals.
I will periodically and randomly ask students to provide evidence that their work is their own. Ensure that you KEEP ALL OF YOUR NOTES, PHOTOCOPIES, AND ANY OTHER SUPPORTING EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT THE WORK IS YOUR OWN.
Students are required to use these editions:
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (HarperCollins)
- Plato, The Trial and Death of Socrates, trans. G. Grube (Hackett Publishing) Janet Ajzenstat et al., eds., Canada’s Founding Debates (U of Toronto Press)
- Thucydides, On Justice, Power, and Human Nature, ed., Paul Woodruff (Hackett Publishing)
- Immanuel Kant, To Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, trans., Ted Humphrey (Hackett Publishing)
- L. Carl Brown, Religion and State: The Muslim Approach to Politics
PART I: WHAT IS POLITICS?
- What is politics?
- How best does one study politics? Along the lines of science, philosophy, or what?
- What purpose does politics serve? Moral excellence? Domination? Basic subsistence? Liberty? Friendship?
- What is utopia? What motivates people to construct one? What are the problems associated with utopias?
- Is the attraction of utopia in the striving for it? Would you want actually to live in a utopia?
Class 1: Introduction
Class 2: Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, chaps. 1-9; John von Heyking, "Politics"
Class 1: Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, chaps. 1-9
- Harvey Mansfield, “How to Understand Politics,” First Things, August/September 2007: 41-47 (available online through library catalogue).
- Leon Kass, “How Brave a New World?” (http://www.stjohnscollege.edu/resources/commencement2007.pdf)
- Caitrin Nicol, “Brave New World at 75,” The New Atlantis, 16 (Spring 2007) (http://www.thenewatlantis.com/archive/16/TNA16-Nicol.pdf)
Class 1: Huxley, Brave New World, chaps. 10-18
Class 2: Class on Using the Library
PART II: POLITICAL THEORY
- What is justice? Authority? Virtue? Power? Political philosophy?
- What is Socrates charged with? Is he guilty?
- What challenge does Socrates set down, not just to Athens, but to political power in general? Why does Meletus regard Athens the genuine teacher of Athenian youths?
- Can reason establish a just regime?
- What obligation do we owe our city? To what extent ought we obey the laws?
Class 1: Plato, Apology of Socrates
Class 2: What is Politics? Paper due
Class 3: Library Assignment due (submit it as per the librarian’s instructions)
Class 1: Plato, Crito
Class 2: Class Presentations
Readings for presentations:
- Travis D. Smith, “Education and Citizenship” (http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/guest/06/smith/isi.html)
- Leo Strauss, “What is Liberal Education?” (http://www.ditext.com/strauss/liberal.html)
- Christopher Flannery, “Liberal Arts and Liberal Education” (http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/onprin/v6n3/flannery.html)
PART III: CANADIAN POLITICS
- Responsible government
- Minority rights
- Canadian identity
Class 1: Canada's Founding Debates I-II
Class 2: Class Presentations Class 3: Political Theory Paper due
Readings for presentations:
- Donald Savoie, “The Broken Chain of Answerability” Globe and Mail, 16 May 2008 & "Donald Savoie on the Crisis of Canadian Government," Globe and Mail 20 May 2008
- C. E. S. Franks, “Reforming Parliament,” Speech to Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy (http://www.churchillsociety.org/reforming_parliament.htm)
- Travis D. Smith, “Why Canada Needs Conservatives, Though it Tends to Imagine Otherwise,” C2C: Canada's Journal of Ideas, 1(1) 2007 (http://www.c2cjournal.ca/public/article/15)
Ski Week (no class)
Class 1: Canada's Founding Debates III-IV Class 2: Class presentations
Readings for presentations:
- Leon Craig, “Let's get while the gettin's good,” Calgary Herald, July 17, 2005, D6 & Roger Gibbins, “Alberta Better Off in Canada,” Toronto Star, August 4, 2005, A15.
- Barry Cooper and Lydia Miljan, The Canadian 'Garrison Mentality' and the CBC, Fraser Institute Studies in Defense and Foreign Policy (http://www.fraserinstitute.org/Commerce.web/product_files/CanadianGarr…) (read only "A Garrison Mentality," starting on p. 4).
- Michael Adams, "Surprise, Canadian Pluralism is Working," Toronto Star, November 10, 2007: ID1.
Class 1: Canada's Founding Debates V
Class 2: Class Presentations
Readings for presentations:
- Janet Ajzenstat, “Did We Get a Good Constitution in 1867?: Popular Sovereignty in the Canadian Founding,” Comment Magazine (Work Research Foundation), Summer 2003 (http://www.wrf.ca/comment/article2.cfm?ID=24)
- David E. Smith, “A Question of Trust: Parliamentary Democracy and Canadian Society,” Canadian Parliamentary Review, Spring 2004 (http://www.parl.gc.ca/Infoparl/27/1/27n1_04e_Smith.pdf)
- Christopher Moore, “Our Canadian Republic,” Literary Review of Canada, 16(9), November 2008 (http://lrc.reviewcanada.ca/index.php?page=Our-Canadian-Republic)
PART IV: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- Realism v. idealism
- Can the international system establish effective rules of justice?
- What causes war?
- Is there such a thing as a just war?
- What sorts of domestic forces contribute to imperial foreign policy?
- Is it reasonable to expect democracies to be peaceful toward one another? If so, is it possible to establish a world “safe for democracy” through peaceful means?
Class 1: Thucydides, Parts 1-3
Class 1: Thucydides, Parts 4-8 Class 2: Canadian Politics Paper due
Class 1: Class presentations
Readings for presentations:
- Joseph Knippenberg, “Thucydides and Us,” (http://knippenblog.townhall.com/g/2f23a685-659b-45d5-b3a4-3acfb2a86a54) (also on WebCT)
- Angelo Codevilla, “American Statecraft and the Iraq War,” Claremont Review of Books (http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1481/article_detail.asp)
- Andrew Bacevich, “Twilight of the Republic: Seeds of Decline, Path to Renewal,” Commonweal, 133(21), December 1, 2006: 10-16.
Class 1: Kant, Perpetual Peace
Class 2: Class presentations Suggested readings for presentations:
- Woodrow Wilson, “Fourteen Points Speech,” (http://usinfo.state.gov/infousa/government/overview/51.html)
- UN Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html)
- Philip Bobbitt & David Hannay, “A Premier League for Democracy?” Prospect, November 2008 (http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=10456)
PART V: COMPARATIVE POLITICS
- What are the fundamental differences between Islamic and Western liberal democratic political understandings?
- How do Islamic militants criticize traditional Muslims?
- Is there a separation of mosque and state in Islam?
- What is the difference between “moderate” and “Puritan” Islam?
- Does Islam allow for human sovereignty?
- How do Muslims understand justice?
- Is Islam compatible with human rights? Toleration?
- What is jihad?
- What is the role of women in Islam?
Class 1: Brown, Religion and State, Part I
Class 2: International Relations Paper due
Class 1: Brown, Religion and State, Part II
Class 2: (no class)
Class 1: (no class)
Class 2: Class presentations
Class 3: Class presentations
Suggested readings for presentations:
- Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, chap. 2 (“The Nature of the Quranic Method”) (on WebCT)
- Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, chap. 4 (“Jihad in the Cause of God”) (on WebCT)
- Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, chap. 7 (“Islam is the Real Civilization”) (on WebCT)
- Christopher Boucek, “Extremist Reeducation and Rehabilitation in Saudi Arabia” Terrorism Monitor, Jamestown Foundation, 5(16) August 16, 2007: 1-4 (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373620)
- Barry Cooper, “’Jihadists’ and the War on Terrorism,” Intercollegiate Review, Spring 2007 (http://www.mmisi.org/ir/42_01/cooper.pdf)
- Laurent Murawiec, “Can Terror Be Understood?” Hudson Institute (http://www.hudson.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=publication_details&id=…)
Comparative Politics Paper due
This course has an e-mail list to which all registered students are subscribed. I shall send e-mail announcements from time to time, and students are welcome to post questions and comments, as long as they are directly related to the course material. WARNING: only post messages that you want everyone to read. Please post private correspondence directly to my personal e-mail address. There are also some documents on WebCT.
NOTE ON LAPTOP USE IN CLASS
Laptops can be a useful tool for note taking, but they can also be a major distraction. Please resist the temptation to surf the net, MSM, play on Facebook, etc. You are less able to multitask than you think (for details, see: Christine Rosen, “The Myth of Multitasking,” New Atlantis, Spring 2008 http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-myth-of-multitasking).
As a general practice, I tend frequently to call on students with laptops to participate in class discussion.