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Pages within POSC124



Class meets: MW 12:30-1:45, 8/19 – 12/16, Room 36-325

Instructor: Joseph J. Braunwarth, Ph.D.

Home Page:

E-mail: (this is the best way to get in touch with me)

Office Hours: MW 8:30-11:00, Rm. 515B, 619-644-7514

Expectations Highlights (expanded upon below):

  • Three Tests
  • One Research Paper
  • Political Economy Week attendance and reports
  • Prepared class discussion and participation
  • Good Karma (academic honesty, turn things in on time, college-level writing and communications)

Course Description:

This course analyzes the political systems of selected developed, transitional, and developing countries of the word in order to understand the importance of political development, political institutions, political actors, political processes and political change for the dynamics of today’s global society.  Comparisons are made between the political systems of various countries to analyze divergent policy outcomes resulting from different political systems and political cultures.

Course Objectives:

Learners will:

  • Utilize the comparative method of learning to better understand the cultures and political systems of the globe and the specific problems selected countries face.
  • Define and understand concepts used in comparative political analysis such as political culture, ideology, political socialization, and political development.
  • Analyze the social, cultural, and economic factors underlying alternative political systems.
  • Differentiate between the formal and informal bases of political power in selected political systems.
  • Recognize and identify patterns of change as they occur in the political cultures and institutions of developed and developing countries.
  • Explain the political economy and the influence of market and other international forces on national politics.

Student Learning Outcomes:

To successfully complete this class, students must be able to:

  • Compare the political systems of disparate countries by synthesizing the effects of such factors as political culture, ideology, socialization, and governmental structures.
  • Differentiate between the formal and informal bases of political power in selected political systems.
  • Evaluate forces leading to different levels of political and economic development between developed, transitioning, newly-industrializing, and lesser-developed countries while assessing the explanatory power of various theories of development.

Required Textbook:

  • Countries and Concepts: Politics, Geography, Culture, Michael G. Roskin. Any recent edition.  The textbook is on limited loan in the library.

Methods of Evaluation:

  • Three Exams 300 points.
  • Research Paper 45 points.
  • Research Paper Outline 5 points.
  • Political Economy Week Reports (2 at 5 points each) 10 points.
  • Participation 40 points.

Total: 400 points.

Your final grade is not curved and will be assigned according to the following chart with pluses and minuses as appropriate:

  • A = 90-100% (outstanding work)
  • B = 80-89% (very good work)
  • C = 70-79% (average, satisfactory work)
  • D = 60-69% (below average, marginal work)
  • F = 0 -59% (very unsatisfactory work)


Course information including assignments and assignment due dates can be found on this page.  This course uses the Blackboard online platform for assignments and grades.  The course blackboard page will be available on the first day of the semester.  You can access the blackboard system here:  Your blackboard user name should be your firstname.lastname and your password should be your birth date mmddyy.  Login and check your personal information.  An email for you is listed.  Is this the email you want blackboard to use?  If not, change it as I will be sending messages and announcements to this email throughout the semester.  FYI, blackboard has had problems with the Internet Explorer browser in the past.  Please use a different browser; I have had good luck with Mozilla Firefox.



There will be two midterm exams and a final exam.  All exams are worth 100 points and will have 35 multiple-choice and 15 short answer questions all worth 2 points each.  Exams will include material from lectures, videos, and assigned readings. You will need a Grade Master form 25420 for each exam.

Research Paper Outline:

You must turn in an outline of your research paper, including your hypothesis or thesis statement, by the date indicated on the course outline.  You will be given details about this assignment in class. 

Research Paper:

Details about the research paper can be found on the blackboard assignment link.  Your paper must be 4-7 pages long, double-spaced, not including the required bibliography. Your paper must provide a well-researched, balanced examination of your topic to earn a satisfactory grade.  Research papers are not simply an opportunity for you to express your opinions on political issues.

Political Economy Week:

Each semester the political economy department at Grossmont College suspends regularly scheduled class for one week and, in their place, offers a number of lecture “events” on topics of economic or political interest.  You are required to attend two of these events.  You will submit two write ups as part of a discussion board assignment.  You will not receive a passing grade without submitting write ups from two events.


A significant portion of your grade is based on in class participation.  You will earn participation points in a variety of ways including answering questions during lectures, bringing up current events that relate to topics we have learned in class, and taking an active role in small group discussions.  There are 40 points possible for participation.  Participation points are not earned simply by attending class regularly.  You must actively participate in class discussions to earn a high participation score.  Excessive absences result in a lower participation score.

Academic Expectations:


Part of the college experience is exposure to students from a variety of diverse backgrounds with diverse views and ideas.  You are encouraged to challenge, and learn from, each others’ ideas but attacks directed toward individuals are not appropriate (even if their ideas are pretty dumb). In particular, any negativity or hostility based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, etc. will not be tolerated.


Come to class on time and be prepared to discuss the day’s material.  You should be prepared to answer questions about and provide examples of the topics we are covering.  Preparation for class includes completing the assigned reading for the day and reviewing your notes from the previous day’s meeting.  Adequate preparation requires at least three hours of homework for each hour of class per week (yes that means six hours of homework per week).  You will enjoy the class more, learn more, and earn a higher grade if you come to every class prepared.  Entering class late distracts your instructor as well as fellow students.  Please arrive on time.  Do not distract other students with your electronic devices.  If anything you do interferes with another student’s ability to learn you will be asked to leave.

Academic Integrity:

Honesty and integrity are values considered fundamental to academic institutions.  Plagiarism or cheating on an assignment or exam are violations of these and can result in any one of a variety of sanctions. Such penalties may range from an adjusted grade on the particular exam, paper, project, or assignment (all of which may lead to a failing grade in the course) to, under certain conditions, suspension or expulsion from a class, program, or the college.  For further clarification and information on these issues, please consult the student affairs statement on academic fraud.  You get out of life what you put into it; don’t cheat yourself.


While there is no attendance component for your grade, you must attend class regularly to satisfactorily complete the course. Take notes.  If you attend class regularly, you will earn a higher participation score although participation is based on participation, not just attendance. Excessive absences will reduce your participation score.  Of course, if you miss class you are responsible for lecture material, activities, and for assignments due on days  missed.  In addition, you may be dropped if you miss more than two weeks worth of class meetings (more than 6 hours). 

Withdrawing From a Course:

Should you decide to stop attending class, it is your responsibility to officially withdraw from the course by using WebConnect ( or by filing a drop card at the Office of Admissions and Records.  If you do not officially drop the course, then your name will appear on the final grade roster and you will receive an F for the semester.  The last day to withdraw from a semester length course this semester is November 8.

Late and Missed Exams and Assignments:

Assignments must be turned in ON TIME!  Written assignments will lose points every class meeting after the due date (details are in handouts for assignments). Written assignments will not be accepted more than two weeks late. Exams cannot be rescheduled.  If you have an  emergency,  contact me before  the exam or due date and I will do my best to accommodate  you depending on the circumstances. If you simply don't show up on an exam day, you will receive a zero for that exam.  MAKEUP EXAMS ARE ONLY GIVEN IN CASES OF EXTREME DOCUMENTED EMERGENCIES SUCH AS AUTO ACCIDENTS OR EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS AND REQUIRE DOCUMENTATION AS PROOF.  If your situation qualifies for a makeup exam the makeup exam will be different from the regular multiple-choice/short answer exam.  All makeup exams are in essay only format.  Assignment due dates and exam dates are listed in this syllabus under “Important Dates” as well as in the course outline. Mark these dates on your calendar ahead of time so you do not unnecessarily lose points.  Finally, if you arrive late on the day of an exam you will not be allowed to take the exam after any other student has completed the exam and left the room. 

Incomplete Policy:

The policy at Grossmont College is that incompletes are only awarded under specific circumstances.  Students not meeting these criteria will receive the grade corresponding to the number of points they earn during the semester.  Incompletes are only awarded if the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. The request has to be based on an "unforeseen emergency" (which may be possible if the student provides appropriate documentation of hospital stays or other emergency)
  2. The student must have attended the class regularly
  3. The student must have a passing grade in the class (based on completed work to date)
  4. A minimum of 50% of the work in the class must have been completed satisfactorily.


Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and contact Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSP&S) early in the semester so that reasonable accommodations may be implemented as soon as possible. Students may contact DSP&S in person in room 110 or by phone at 619-644-7112 (voice) or 619-644-7119 (TTY for deaf).

Important Services at Grossmont College

  • Academic Counseling, Rm. 118, 644-7208
  • Transfer Center, Rm. 100, 644-7215
  • English Writing and Reading Center provides tutorial and instructional support, word processing, grammar tutorials, and writing resources as well as activities focused on increasing your reading speed and comprehension. Rm. 70-119, 644-7516

Tutoring Services

Students are referred to enroll in the following supervised tutoring courses if the service indicated will assist them in achieving or reinforcing the learning objectives of this course:

  • IDS 198, Supervised Tutoring to receive tutoring in general computer applications in the Tech Mall;
  • English 198W, Supervised Tutoring for assistance in the English Writing Center (Room 70-119); and/or
  • IDS 198T, Supervised Tutoring to receive one-on-one tutoring in academic subjects in the Tutoring Center (Room 70-229, 644-7387).

To add any of these courses, students may obtain Add Codes at the Information/Registration Desk in the Tech Mall.

Important Dates:

9/23     Monday           Midterm #1

10/2     Wednesday     Research Paper Outline Due

10/23   Wednesday     Midterm #2

11/4-11/8                     Political Economy Week

11/8     Friday              Last Day to Drop Classes

11/13   Wednesday     PE Week Reviews Due

11/18   Monday           Research Papers Due

12/9     Monday           Final Exam 

An Optimistic Course Outline and Readings: 


Reading Assignment


Assignments, Announcements, and Online Readings


 Introduction to Comparative Politics


Ch. 1




Labor Day Monday 9/2


Ch. 2





Ch. 3


Midterm #1, Monday 9/23


Ch. 4


Research Paper Hypothesis and Outline due Wednesday 10/2




Ch. 5



Ch. 6


Midterm #2, Wednesday 10/23


Ch. 7



Political Economy Week

PE Week Schedule
Attend 2 PE Week Events 11/4 -0 11/8
11/8 Last Day to Drop Classes


China/Research Paper Workshop

PE Week Reviews due Wed 11/13


Ch. 8, 9




Ch. 10, 11


Research Papers due Mon 11/25


Ch. 12

 Nigeria/Iran/Final Review





Midterm #3, Mon 12/9




Last Updated: 06/16/2015
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