2011 AP Comparative Government Syllabus
The AP Comparative Government course is based on the design of a college-level introductory Comparative Government course that focuses on the comparative study of fundamental Comparative concepts, political sytsems, and processes and outcomes of politics in a variety of country settings. This effective, one semester course will involve the study of political science theory and methodology as well as the anlaysis of specific countries. The six models to be studied during the course of the semester are the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Mexico, Nigeria, and Iran. Students throughout the semester will study these respective countries, the components that are universal to all political systems in each of the 6 countries, and will become aware of the interconnections between the citizenry and state politics. This course will give students a critical perspective of the working of these government systems.
The major units of study will be:
- The Comparative Method
- Great Britain
- (European Union)
Comparative Politics Today: A World View, *AP Edition updated eight edition by Gabriel A. Almond, Russell J. Dalton, G. Bingham Powell, Jr., and Kaare Strom
Comparative Politics: Domestic Response to Global Challenges. 3rd edition. Charles Hauss
Kesselman, Mark and Krieger, Joel. Readings in Comparative Politics: Political Challenges and Changing Agendas. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.
This course is conducted using a variety of methods: lecture/discussion, simulations, cooperative learning activities, and independent research. All students are responsible for reading the assignments before coming to class so that they may participate. Students are also encouraged to become familiar with current events through the reading of newspapers, news magazines, and news-oriented broadcasts.
- You will have various readings and quizzes from the textbook as well as other texts. You are responsible for reading the material when assigned and be prepared to discuss in class. It is essential that you remain up to date on the assigned reading from the text and supplementary articles because they figure prominently in your formal evaluation.
- Current Event Journal. Students will be expected to read The Economist, Washington Post, The New York Times,or The Christian Science Monitor, even local newspapers. and write weekly a short entry in a notebook journal. These jounals can be accessed through the local libraries and online. Each entry should discuss one particular political/social issue about the 6 countries. Note the article’s title, author, date and page number in your entry. Briefly review the content of the article and give a short political analysis of the piece by comparing it to political systems we are learning or discuss the political implication for that particular country.
Students will turn in journals every 4 weeks and should have at least 4 articles in the journal. Do not wait until the due date to read your articles and write analysis. For each entry, remember these concepts as you discuss the article.
- Sovereignty, Authority, and Power: political culture, communication, socialization, supranational, nations and stats, supranational governance, state building, legitimacy, stability, constitutions, belief systems as sources of legitimacy, governance and accounability
- Political Institutions: levels of government, executives, legislatures, institutional relations, elections, electoral systems, political parties, party systems, elite recruitment and leadership, bureaucracies, military and coercive institutions, judiciaries
- Citizens, Society and the State: cleavages and politics (ethnic, racial, class, gender, religious, regional), civil society, media roles, political participation including political violence, citizenship and social representation
- Political and Economic Change: revolution, coups, war, trends and types of political change (democratization), trends and types of economic change (privatization), relationship between economic and political change, globalization and fragmentation, regionalism
- Commom Policy Issues: economic performance, social welfare (education, health, poverty), civil liberties, civil rights, and freedoms, environment, population and migration, economic development, domestic and international factors influencing policymaking and implementation.
- Chapter Presentations: Students will be divided up into groups and will be responsible to present a chapter from the first 6 in the Almond textbook. The presentation need to be roughly 20 minutes, and focus on the key terms and idea of each chapter. See page 4 for full details.
- Tests. The due dates for projects and tests will be given well ahead time for you to prepare. If you miss a test, you will be given an opportunity to make them up, if the absence was excused. If you are going to be absent the day a test is given, it is your responsibility to make the assignment. If you miss the day before a test is given you will be expected to take the test. The tests will be a combination of book questions and released AP questions and will include essays.
- Final Exam. All students will take a released AP Comparative Government Exam before the final and will be graded as an AP Test.
- Students must come to class with all materials, including a 1 ½ to 2” notebook and their textbook. Any cell phone, hat, headphones or game systems will be confiscated and given to the Assistant Principals.
- No food or drink, except water, is allowed in the classroom.
- Class attendance and preparation of required readings and homework assignments must be done PRIOR to class. Attendance in class is critical. If a student is absent, the entire responsibility for obtaining and making up missed work is the student's.
- Unexcused absences will result in a zero for all work missed. Tests and major assignment due dates are announced well ahead of time, therefore assignments are expected to be turned in on time. Makeup tests will be available if the test was missed due to an excused absence and according to CHS policies. If you fail a test, you will be allowed to makeup the test only according to CHS policies and at teacher discretion. (Tests 60% of grade, Daily work 40%)
- Late work will be penalized according to district guidelines and at teacher discretion. Late assignments must be turned in before the test on that unit is taken. Excused absences will allow the student two days for one day absent to make up the work for full credit.
- Any reading assignment, article, quiz, test, exam, etc. that is missed due to illness is the students' responsibility to makeup.
- Written work must be neat and easy to read. If I can't read it, you must resubmit the work with a late penalty.
ACADEMIC HONOR CODE: In order to sustain a community of trust in which the students and teacher can work together to develop their educational potential and goals, ethical standards of honesty are expected. Everyone is expected to compete fairly in the classroom to earn their academic standing through their own efforts. Violations of the honor code include lying, cheating, or stealing. Students who violate the community of trust will receive no credit on the assignment on which the violation occurred.
You are expected to maintain professional standards in this course. This means you are expected to come to class prepared to take notes, discuss the material, and ask questions on topics you don't understand. You are expected to maintain a professional attitude in class. Talking excessively to your neighbors, reading the paper, sleeping or doing assignments for this or any other class are not professional behaviors and will not be tolerated.
Professional standards are also expected in the work you submit for a grade. Homework assignments do not have to be typed (unless otherwise instructed), but I expect them to be completed in ink. Paper and articles must be typed and spell-checked and edited for grammar. (I will take off 1 point for every spelling error and/or grammar mistake.) Failure to maintain such standards may result in a lower grade on that assignment. (In short, if you want an A, you have to be willing to work for that A, they are not given out.)
Special note on Senioritis: a term used to describe the laziness displayed by students who are nearing the end of high school. Its symptoms can include slowness, procrastination, apathy regarding schoolwork, and a tendency toward truancy. This imagined affliction is a symptom of students' complacency once they have all but guaranteed their place in college. After college admission letters arrive in early spring, high school seniors feel even less pressure to push themselves academically. In an effort to combat senioritis, many colleges require that an updated transcript be sent from the high school after the end of the school year, and will revoke admission or scholarships if a student's grades drop.
AP Comparative Government Chapter Presentations
Over the next week, we will be covering the key concepts of Comparative politics. Our textbook Comparative Politics Today gives significant attention to these concepts in the first seven chapters. While some of the concepts are quite standard, political scientists in the field of Comparative politics at times utilize distinct concepts, classifications, and definitions to explain political systems, their functions, and their processes. It is essential that we understand the key concepts of Comparative politics along with the countries.
To cover these concepts in an expedient fashion, groups of students will present to the class the key concepts from ONE chapter (out of the first seven). The following country groups will present on the following chapters:
- Great Britain: Chapter 1 p. 11-29
- Russia—Chapter 2
- China—Chapter 3
- Mexico—Chapter 4
- Nigeria—Chapter 5
- Iran—Chapter 6
(Note: Chapter 7 will be covered throughout the semester)
In a 15-20 minute presentation, students will present in Powerpoint format the key themes, concepts, and definitions of their respective chapter.
During their presentation to the class, students should provide an overview of the chapter, define and explain the key concepts within the chapter, and discern between those concepts we have already studied in American politics and those that are new.
Some class time will be given, but students need to be prepared to present on their assigned day. Students can expect questions from these chapters to be on each test and short quiz.