Plato    GOVT 2304
     Intro to Political Science
    Associate Professor of Government
     and friend to workers

   SPRING 2011
    Section:         27421 Lec 001
    Time:             TTh   2:50 pm - 4:05 pm
    Location:       Pinnacle
    Room:           403
    Session:         January 18 - May 15
    Office Hours: between classes &
                         MW 10:20-10:30, 11:50-12:00, & 1:20-2:00
                         TTh 10:25-10:35, 11:50-12:00, 1:15-2:50 & 4:05-4:15
                          or by appointment
    Office:           PIN 407
    Phone:           512-223-8134   
    Textbook:     Introduction to Political Science
                         Moten, Abdul Rashid and Syed Islam
                        Cengage Learning Asia, 2008
                         ISBN 978-9814253192

  Plato (424-348 BC)

Democracy, which is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequaled alike.

Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist, and have always existed, the same desires and passions. Thus, it is an easy matter for him who carefully examines past events to foresee future events in a republic and to apply the remedies employed by the ancients, or, if old remedies cannot be found, to devise new ones based upon the similarity of the events. But since these matters are neglected or not understood by those who read, or, if understood, remain unknown to those who govern, the result is that the same problems always exist in every era.
Niccolo Machiavelli

This course is an introductory survey of the discipline of political science, focusing on the history, scope, and methods of the field and the substantive topics in the discipline. This course includes a survey of Political Theory, the State, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Foreign Policy. The basic objectives of the course are for the student to:

1. Gain an awareness of different fields within political science.

2. Develop basic concepts within political science.

3. Develop theoretical and analytical skills.

4. Develop comparative skills.

5. Develop an understanding of international relations and foreign policy concepts.

6. Develop independent critical thinking skills.

7. Understand the theoretical nature of what government is.

8. Critically explore such concepts as republic, democratic theory, and liberalism.

9. Develop an understanding of rational choice theory.

The course will begin with an exploration of Political Theory.  It will start with thinkers like Plato and explore their contributions to our understanding of politics. 

Next, we will look at the state, its origins, and its evolution.

In the third part of the course we will look at the field of comparative politics.  We will compare several governments.  It will be assumed that you have an understanding of US and British governmnet.  If you do not have familiarity with these two governments, then it is up to you to develop that familiarity with them on your own.

Then we will look at International Relations and foreign policy.

We will finally conclude the course with an examination of the field of Political Science.

While this is primarily a lecture course, students will be graded for classroom participation, at least two formal presentations, and three essays.  It may also include videos, transparencies, role-playing simulations, internet activities, tests, and classroom discussions.  Students must attend and participate regularly.

But the husband and wife, though they have but one common concern, yet having different understandings, will unavoidably sometimes have different wills too; it therefore being necessary that the last determination, i. e. the rule, should be placed somewhere; it naturally falls to the man's share, as the abler and the stronger.
John Locke


Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities.  Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes.  Students are encouraged to do this three weeks before the start of the semester.
Each student is expected to attend and participate in each class meeting and to complete the assigned reading PRIOR to each class.  Although class attendance is not a direct component of the final grade, absences do limit the student’s opportunity to participate fully in class activities and will almost certainly impact the student’s final grade.  Should it be necessary to miss a class a student should contact other class members for copies of the notes amd materials covered in that class.  Attendance is required on test days and on oral presentation days.  Should you miss a test day there will be NO make up exams, instead your final grade will be based on the tests taken.  Should you miss two or more exams you should consider dropping the course rather than suffering a failing grade.

Cell phones and text-messaging devices must be turned off and should not be in evidence in the classroom unless you have prior approval from the instructor.  Late arrivals and early departures are disruptive so please be on time and plan to stay the entire period unless you have previously spoken to the instructor. Excessive tardiness or failure to follow class policies on cell phones may result in the student being dropped from the course.  Do NOT get up during class to throw something away. 

The professor reserves the right to withdraw (drop) anyone from the class for any reason.  This does not mean that you will automatically be withdrawn if you are failing or if you are not attending class.  If you wish to drop the course please make sure to do so yourself.  The instructor will not do it for you.  

If, for any reason, you decide to withdraw from the course you must complete the required forms in the Admissions and Records office by the last day to drop.

This professor does not like email.  Avoid using it as a means of communication.  The professor considers its usage to be noise.  It is best to see the professor during office hours or meet before or after class to schedule an appoinment.  The professor has six hours of office hours per week and is more than happy to meet with students at other times.

Do NOT ever message or text the professor using Facebook or his personal cell phone for questions related to the class.  You should view Facebook and the personal cell as means of contacting the professor for Twelfth Revolution club business, personal, or political activism only.

Incompletes will not be given to any student for any reason.  If it becomes clear that you will not be able to complete the course please consider dropping the course by the drop deadline.  Failure to complete the required coursework will likely result in an F grade.  

During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.
Thomas Hobbes

Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work.  Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their thought, research, or self-expression.  Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper, projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework.

If a student commits any of these actions, I will seek disciplinary action in the form of an academic penalty, which will likely include a course grade of  ‘F’.

Look, I take this very seriously and it has a real simple solution.  If you want to include text from someone else feel free to cite the original author.  It will strengthen your argument and suggest that you have done research on the subject.  Otherwise, I am ruthless and will show no mercy when it comes to plagiarism.  Failure to comply with this rule is almost certain to cause you to fail the course.  

"Give me, woman, thy little truth!" said I. And thus spake the old woman:
"Thou goest to women? Do not forget thy whip!"--
Friedrich Nietzsche

Just as each student is expected to attend class, each student is also expected to participate in the class discussion.  This not only includes preparing for class and listening in class, but also includes asking questions, answering questions, providing examples, and expressing opinions.  This class will be much more educational (as well as interesting) in an atmosphere of active participation and lively exchange of ideas.  There will be numerous opportunities throughout the semester to use current events to explore and expand upon our understanding of the concepts we are studying.  As a result I also expect students to keep up with current events.  If you are not normally in the habit of doing, then so you must plan to begin looking at a reliable news source.  The BBC and Reuters are two examples of the sort.  

In any classroom situation that includes discussion and critical thinking, there are bound to be many differing viewpoints.  These differences enhance the learning experience and create an atmosphere where students and instructors alike will be encouraged to think and learn.  On sensitive and volatile topics, students may sometimes disagree not only with each other but also with the instructor.  It is expected that faculty and students will respect the views of others when expressed in classroom situations.

Each person has the right to express his or her opinion.  Our Bill of Rights not only guarantees us the right to express our opinions but also provides us the opportunity to learn from our fellow citizens as they express their opinions.

The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal.
Hannah Arendt


Three research essays are to be turned in over the course of the semester as noted on the Course Schedule (see below).  In addition to this your grade will include a participation component and two presentations.   

Late Assignments:
Your grade will be lowered by one letter grade for every day it is late, on essay assignments.  Should you miss a presentation date you will NOT receive an opportunity to make it up.  

Research Essays and
Your grade for each of the three Research Essays is staggered in value.  This is to give you the opportunity to take advantage of an increased skill set over the course of the semester. 

All Essays will be 1,500 to 2,500 words in length and turned into  The essay should not be treated as a summary of the information on the topic, but rather as a thesis covering some aspect of of the material.  You are to ask and answer some thesis or question of political significance.  Be creative.  Essays will not be turned in, in hard copy, but rather to  The class ID and enrollment passwords are listed below:
class ID: 3405103
enrollment password: plato

State Expertise:
You will be required to make a 5 minute presenation on the state of your choice.  This presentation will elaborate on the constitution, institutions, and workings of the government.  You will be considered the expert on this state during the entirety of the class.  Begin thinking about what state interests you.

List of priority states to be Presented:
Israel, Palestine (not a state), Sweden, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Italy, People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico.

Pinnacle Student Political Science Conference:
In addition to the state presentation you will also make a ten to fifteen minute presentation on a Research Essay of your choice for the PSPSA Conference. Of the 150 points available, 100 points are derived from the presentation and 50 points are derived from being a member of the audience.  In other words it is not only imperative that you attend all PSPSC dates, but also that you participate by asking questions.

Classroom participation is worth 150 points (one and a half letter grades).  There is no formal attendance grade, however, it will be difficult to participate in classroom discussions if you are not in attendance.  The best way to earn a high participation grade is to ask questions, answer questions, and contribute insights when appropriate.  This does not include randomly guessing what the professor's next word will be (this is not indication of intelligence, but rather an indication of poor communicative skills and is odious).

                                     POINTS TOWARDS
PARTICIPATION                  _ _150

Final letter grades will be assigned after determining total points earned, as follows:

    Final  Grade Scale              Letter Grade    
          900 – 1000                         A    
           800 – 899                          B    
           700 – 799                          C    
           600 – 699                          D    
               0 – 599                          F   

But the state lieth in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it saith it lieth; and whatever it hath it hath stolen.
False is everything in it; with stolen teeth it biteth, the biting one. False are even its bowels.
Friedrich Nietzsche

1. Attend all class sessions; if you miss a class get copies of the handouts/notes from a classmate.
2. Do not miss the Conference.  Do not turn in essays late.
3. Read the assigned material prior to each class session.
4. Study the materials; prepare for and take each exam as scheduled.
5. Complete and turn in all assignments as assigned and on time.  NO LATE MAKEUP DATES WILL BE GIVEN FOR ANY MISSED PRESENTATION FOR ANY REASON, EVEN CATACLYSM.
6. Contact the instructor if, at any time, you feel your performance is not up to your standards.

1. Writing Ability
2. Reading Ability
3. Critical Thinking and Analytical Sills
4. Memorization

If you can master these four forces, then you can succeed in academia.  To the extent possible this class will attempt to assist in developing all four skills further.  However, it should be obvious that English classes are generally where the above skills (especailly the first two) are formally taught.  It is assumed that you have had English classes and that you will apply those skill sets developed in such classes to ALL writing assignements.   

1/18 Introduction

Origins of Western Civilization and Philosophy

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 & Supplement

Chapter 4 & Supplement
Near Collapse of Western Civilization

Chapter 4 & Supplement
Ibn Sina and Ibn al Khaldoun

Chapter 4 & Supplement

Chapter 4 & Supplement

Chapter 4 & Supplement

Chapter 4 & Supplement

Chapter 4 & Supplement
John Stuart Mill
Chapter 4 & Supplement
Friedrich Nietzsche
Chapter 4 & Supplement
Herbert Marcuse

Chapter 4 & Supplement
Hannah Arendt
Chapter 4 & Supplement
John Rawls
Chapter 4 & Supplement
Man is born free; everywhere man is in chains.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The State and Comparative Politics
3/10 Origins of the State and Government

Chapter 5
3/15 & 3/17

Role and Elements of the State
Chapter 5
3/24 & 3/29 Types of Political System State Presentations Continued Chapter 6 and 7
State Presentations Continued Chapter 9
4/5 & 4/7
State Presentations Conclude Chapter 8

Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity.
Hannah Arendt

International Relations
4/12 & 4/14
International Relations

Chapter 25
International Relations
SECOND ESSAY (Comparative Paper)
Chapter 25
4/21 & 4/26
International Organizations

Chapter 26

Political Economy regards the proletarian ... like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being. It leaves this to criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables, politics, and the beadle.
Karl Marx

The Discipline
Articles and Getting Published THIRD ESSAY (IR or Foreign Policy) Chapter 1
Job Market and Departmental Politics
Chapter 2
5/10, 5/12
Conference Papers

The knowledge of anything, since all things have causes, is not acquired or complete unless it is known by its causes.
Ibn Sina

ibn Sina (Avicenna)
abu Ali al Hussein ibn Abdullah ibn Sina (980? - 1037 AD)

The instructor reserves the right to modify any portion of the syllabus at any time.  The Course Schedule is meant as a guide; treat the rest as law.