Professor: Marc D. Turetzky                                                             Office Phone: 848-4704

Meeting Days: MW, 945-1105                                                       E-mail: mturetzky@gavilan.edu

Classroom: SS205                                                                            Office Hours: MW 11-12; TTH, 930-1030

Office: BU 126                                                                                   

Course Website: http://hhh.gavilan.edu/mturetzky/                               

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"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river."                                                  

                                                       -Nikita Khrushchev


"To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice."


This course serves as an introduction to the study of comparative governments. As such, background in the subject is not necessary. The course centers on the exploration of questions like: How and why do new nations come into being?  Why does the majority of the world continue to live in abject poverty?  Why do some governments fail while others thrive?  Why are some governments democratic and others not so democratic?  Why do phenomena such as conflict, war, violence, poverty etc tend to concentrate in the developing areas? Are there solutions to such problems? If these questions sound interesting to you or if you simply want to know more about the world around you then this course is for you.


More specifically, we compare and contrast the histories, cultures and political/economic systems of seven countries in three different kinds of systems:

· Liberal Democracies: USA (very briefly), Great Britain, Japan

· Communist/Former-Communist Countries: Russia and China

· 3rd World/Emerging Nations: Mexico and India


The Primary Course Learning Objectives are as follows:

· first, you will develop and sharpen your ability to use concepts and tools in the comparative study of politics

· second, you will develop a much broader understanding of the role that history plays in shaping political systems

· third, you will develop an awareness of the relationship between economic and political development

· fourth, your knowledge of the various types of political systems around the globe will increase exponentially

· fifth, your insight into the common challenges facing many governments and regions today will expand substantially

· sixth, you will develop a deeper understanding of why some societies thrive and others do not

· seventh, you will learn to write more clearly and effectively

· eighth, you will sharpen your critical thinking and analytical skills

· ninth, you will learn to speak and communicate more clearly, concisely, and effectively

· tenth, you will begin to see the world from a larger, more global, analytical/scholarly perspective


To get the absolute MOST out of this class, make sure to:
· not miss class                                                                   

· read ALL the assigned chapters in the course texts

· read ALL the online lectures                     

· complete ALL assigned course work, especially the exams and research paper

· not procrastinate/wait until the last second to do your work (the surest path to doing very poorly in any demanding course)

· be self-disciplined (do what you’ve got to do whether you feel like it or not because it needs to be done)

· take responsibility for your own learning

· not expect instructor “mercy or grace” to make up for poor academic effort


We will be using the following textbooks available for purchase at the Gavilan College Bookstore:

· McCormick, John. 2009. Comparative Politics in Transition 6th ed New York: Harcourt College Publishers.

· Zakaria, Fareed. 2011. The Post-American World (release 2.0). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Ltd.


*Note: The McCormick text can be purchased or rented at the Gavilan College Bookstore or online. The Post-America World can be purchased online at Amazon.com (or other sites), either new or used. Both texts are on reserve at the Gavilan College library circulation desk...


Your overall course grade will be based on the following: THREE (Take Home) Exams worth 10% each & several Quizzes worth 10% (or 40% total), ONE 12 page country paper and presentation worth 20%, a country group lecture worth 10%, ONE book analysis worth 10% each, 10 online assignments worth 10%, and in-class work worth 10%. These requirements are spelled out in more detail below.


Chapter Exams & Quizzes (40%)

There will be THREE TAKE HOME EXAMS and SEVERAL IN-CLASS QUIZZES during the semester. Exam and quiz questions test your competency over the material covered in Comparative Politics in Transition and The Post-American World. Each exam is worth 10%. In total, quizzes are worth 10% of your total grade. You can see the exam/quiz schedule in the syllabus calendar.


Country Paper and Presentation (20%)

Each of you is required to write, and present the results of, a research paper on any country—other than the United States—of your choosing. Papers MUST be typed and MUST be at least 12-pages in length. They are due, in class, on the day of the Final Exam. The written portion is worth 19%, while the presentation is worth 1%. A topic sign-up sheet and a detailed paper syllabus will be distributed today.


Country Lecture (10%)

Each student is responsible for making a presentation on a country of your choosing (choices include four liberal democracies; four communist/former communist states; one NIC, one LDC & two Islamic states). You will collect research, organize your lecture, and make your presentation. Presentations will focus briefly on history, political system, economics, culture and the like. The point of the assignment is for the presenters to get to know a country I don’t cover and then compare and contrast it with another country on the same day. At the end of the presentation, the entire class will discuss what we heard. Group lectures are worth 10% of your course grade. Each presenter is expected to present their research via PowerPoint and each of you is required to submit an outline summarizing your findings. You need to include a bibliography. A country sign up sheet and syllabus will be distributed Monday.


“The Post-American World” Chapter Analysis (10%)

Each student is required to read, critique and discuss/present the findings of ONE chapter (of your choosing) in “The Post-American World”, by Fareed Zakaria. This is NOT an analysis of the entire book, but a short paper analyzing one chapter in Zakaria’s very interesting book. This requirement is worth 10% of your total course grade. Guidelines and a chapter signup sheet will be distributed on Monday. You will also be quizzed on many chapters in this book, so reading the book is a must to do well in the class.


Internet Assignments (10%)

Another 10% of your grade consists of the completion of 10 internet assignments. Each is worth 1%, hence they are worth 10% of your total grade. Homework assignments may NOT be made up, regardless of the excuse. I will provide more on this asap. **Note: all homework assignments will be completed ONLINE**


Class Participation (10%)

The final portion of your course grade consists of class participation, which centers on several video/lecture based discussions, group lecture, book analysis, and country paper discussions, as well as regular attendance. In total, class participation is worth 10% of your course grade. Starting in the second week, I will begin to take attendance. If you miss too much class, you miss in-class work, lectures, discussions, etc. that cannot be made up. There is a strong relationship between attending the class and doing well. That's why my policy is to drop students who miss too much class. The specific policy is this: Per the Gavilan College attendance policy, if you miss more than 2 classes, I will drop you from the course (ie on your third miss), unless you provide me with a persuasive reason to stay. The deal is: come to class, do your work, participate and you will earn the full five points.



3 Exams @ 10% each + Quizzes                                =                40%                              

1 Country Paper and Presentation                               =                20%                           

1 Group Lecture                                                         =                10%                           

1 Book Analysis                                                         =                10%                           

10 Online Assignments @ 1% each                             =                10%

Class Participation                                                       =                10%

Total                                                                          =               100%


COURSE RULES: Below, I lay out the basic rules of conduct I will enforce this semester:



The schedule, policies, objectives, topics, and assignments in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances. Any scheduling adjustments will be announced in class/online. **McCormick refers to Comparative Politics in Transition. Zakaria refers to The Post-American World**


Week 1: Basics

W, 2-1: Introduction/Syllabi/Survey

· No reading

Week 2: Liberal Democracies

M, 2-6: What is CPO? Liberal Democracy

· McCormick, Introduction; Part I: Liberal Democracies


W, 2-8: Politics in the United States

· McCormick, Ch 1. FloraTV Interview with Fareed Zakaria-The Post-American World; BBC Interview with Fareed Zakaria

· Discussion of Zakaria, Ch 6 (“American Power”) + Quiz 1 (take home)


Week 3: Liberal Democracies

M, 2-13: Politics in Great Britain—Video Visit & PM Question Time Video

· McCormick, Ch 2


W, 2-15: Politics in Great Britain—Political System and British Campaigns & Elections

· McCormick, Ch 2

· Discussion of Zakaria, Ch 1 (“The Rise of the Rest”) + Quiz 2

Week 4: Liberal Democracies



W, 2-22: Politics in Great Britain—Current Events

· McCormick, Ch 2


 Week 5: Liberal Democracies

M, 2-27:  Politics in Japan—Video Visit and Discussion

· McCormick, Ch 3


W, 2-29: Politics in Japan—Political System and Culture.

     a. Japan the Strange

· McCormick, Ch 3

· Discussion of Zakaria, Ch 2 (“The Cup Runneth Over”) + Quiz 3

Week 6: Liberal Democracies

M, 3-5: Politics in Japan—Current Events 

     a. 60 Minutes: "Disaster in Japan"

· McCormick, Ch 3

· Discussion of Zakaria, Ch 3 (“A Non-Western World?”) + Quiz 4

**Handout Exam I**


**W, 3-7: Group Lecture-Iceland, Greece, & South Korea**

Week 7: Communist and Post-Communist States

M, 3-12: Communist and Post-Communist States—Overview of Communist System; Video-“People Power-The End of Soviet Style Communism”

· McCormick, Part II: Communist and Post-Communist States


W, 3-14: Politics in Russia—Just the Facts pp

· McCormick, Ch 4

**Turn in Exam I**

Week 8: Communist and Post-Communist States

M, 3-19: Politics in Russia-Historical Overview. Video-“Red Flag: Communism in Russia”

· McCormick, Ch 4


W, 3-21: Politics in Russia-Current Situation. How did Russia transition from a superpower to a basket case to regional superpower?

-60 Minutes profile of Russia's richest man, Mikhail Prokhorov

-Real Life Story of William Browder, billionaire investor in Russia

· McCormick, Ch 4


Week 9: Communist and Post-Communist States

M, 3-26: Politics in China—Video Visit and Discussion

· McCormick, Ch 5


W, 3-28: Politics in China-History/Basics. Niall Ferguson on the Post-American World. Video-“Great Leap: Communism in China”

· McCormick, Ch 5

· Discussion of Zakaria, Ch 4 (“The Challenger”) + Quiz 5


Week 10: Communist and Post-Communist States

**M, 4-2: Politics in China-Current Situation. Niall Ferguson on China; China-Masters of the Killer Aps

-Fareed Zakaria: Who will Rule in North Korea?

· McCormick, Ch 5


W, 4-4: Group Lecture-Cambodia, Cuba, & North Korea

· McCormick, Ch 5

**Handout Exam II**

Week 11: Spring Break

M, 4-9 to W, 4-13: Spring Break-No Class/No Work!!


Week 12: The 3rd World/New Democracies

M, 4-16: What is the 3rd World (ie NICs, LDCs, Islamic World)? Why is the 1st World so much more developed than the 3rd World? Brief Lecture (overview of NICs, LDCs, Islamic World).

-Hans Rosling: Debunking Myths of 3rd World

-Wade Davis on Cultures at the Far Edge of the World

· McCormick, Part IV: Less Developed Countries

· Quiz 6


W, 4-18: Politics in Mexico—Video Visit

· McCormick, Ch 6


Week 13: The 3rd World/Newly Industrializing Countries

M, 4-23: Politics in Mexico-Basic overview of political and economic systems. Discussion: Is Mexico a democracy?

· McCormick, Ch 6

**Turn in Exam II**


W, 4-25: Mexico-Current Events. Videos: “Life Along US-Mexico Border” & Anderson Cooper Presents "The War Next Door"   Fareed Zakaria asks: "Is Mexico Winning the Drug War?"

· McCormick, Ch 6


Week 14: The 3rd World/Newly Industrializing Countries

M, 4-30: Politics in India-The Basics. Video Visit.

· McCormick, Ch 9


W, 5-2: Politics in India-Modern History  Boy do Indians LOVE LOVE LOVE Gold!!!   America Inc. Outsourced to India

· McCormick, Ch 9

· Discussion of Zakaria, Ch 5 (“The Ally”) + Quiz 7


Week 15: The 3rd World/Newly Industrializing Countries

M, 5-7: Politics in India-Political and Economic Systems. Discussion: how is India both an emerging superpower and yet so poor? Video and discussion of Tom Friedman's "The Other Side of Outsourcing"

· McCormick, Ch 9

 **Handout Exam III (Final Exam)**

W, 5-9: Video and discussion-John Stossel's "Is America Number 1?" (makes the case for economic freedom as the best way to national economic power)

· McCormick, Ch 9

· Discussion of Zakaria, Ch 7 (“American Purpose”) + Quiz 8


Week 16: The 3rd World

M, 5-14: Group Lecture-Chile, Haiti, Tunisia**

· McCormick, Ch 9


W, 5-16: Course Wrap and Discussion: What does the future have in store (Ian Golding on the world of the 21st century...at Ted Conference in 2009)?

· McCormick, pp589-593


Week 17: Finals Week/Country Paper Presentations

M, 5-21, 1030-1230: Turn in Final Exam; Turn in Country Paper/Oral presentations