Political science 1055

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Tuesday / Thursday 1425 – 1545
Office: Hicks Administration Building 359

Office Hours: Tuesday / Thursday 1:30 – 14:00, immediately after class, and by appointment

Tel: 902.494.6628

Email: louise.carbert@dal.ca
This class is the second half of an introduction to politics. POLI 1050 from the fall term precedes POLI 1055. POLI 1050 is not a required pre-requisite, but the curriculum takes off from where we left in December. Students who have not completed POLI 1050 are strongly encouraged to review the first half of the textbook. Together, POLI 1050 and POLI 1055 provide a foundation for all further courses in political science.

The first unit of POLI 1055 centres on the challenges facing the nation-state in securing political order through the construction and maintenance of government institutions. The study of Canadian parliamentary systems is dominant. The second unit presents different strategies for achieving goals through political action, and evaluates which strategies are most effective under which circumstances. Activists have a spectrum of strategies to choose from: elections, lobbying, consciousness-raising, protest, or even violence.

Whereas the first two units focus principally on Canada, the remainder of POLI 1055 shifts to a global level. The third unit addresses the question: do countries become richer when they make the transition to liberal democracy, or can they become just as wealthy under authoritarian regimes? This particular unit (among others) provides a basis for proceeding to a degree in International Development Studies. The final unit leaps to the global level where we study how states secure their national interest through diplomacy, international occasions, and as a last resort, military force.

Required Textbooks:

  1. Mark Dickerson, Thomas Flanagan, Brenda O’Neill, Introduction to government and politics: A conceptual approach, 8th edition (Toronto: Nelson, 2010).

  2. Mark Charlton and Paul Rowe, eds., International Development (Toronto: Nelson, 2008)

  3. Articles available on-line through Blackboard Learning System

Grading Scheme:
Quiz 1 22 January 10%

Quiz 2 19 February 10%

Quiz 3 7 March 10%

Essay 28 March 30%

Final exam April exam period 40%

  1. The essay is based on assigned readings. Detailed instructions are included in this syllabus.

  1. The quizzes are multiple-choice format. The goal of these tests is to ensure that you are keeping up with the textbook and understanding the key concepts covered in lectures. They help prepare for the final exam, ensuring that you have acquired a foundation of knowledge from the textbook. The plan is to do these quizzes via the bbl interface.

  1. The final exam is scheduled for the formal exam period after the end of scheduled classes. The April exam asks you to synthesize, that is to compare and contrast different aspects of the course, in an essay format. It is based principally on lectures.

INTRODUCTION: Review of formal and informal systems of political science analysis

The political process (Dickerson et al., chapter 22) CLASS BEGINS 8 JANUARY


How to practice freedom and democracy, over centuries and for millions of people in a reliable, predictable way?

  1. Classification of political systems: Liberal democracy (Dickerson et al. chapter 16, 17)

  1. Parliamentary and presidential systems compared (Dickerson et al. chapter 20)

  • Andrew Potter, “Two cheers and a jeer: Interview with Peter Russell” Ottawa Citizen 11 January 2009.

  • Richard Van Loon, “Our coalition doesn’t stack up” Ottawa Citizen 7 January 2009.

22 January Quiz 1

  1. Unitary and federal systems (Dickerson et al. chapter 21)

  • Janice MacKinnon, “The Green Shift, the Liberals, and the West” Policy Options November 2008, 35-39.

  • Canada/Québec interface at the heart of our federal system

    • Ray Conlogue, Why did they strike? Literary Review Canada November 2012

  1. Political executive (Dickerson et al. chapter 27)

  1. Public administration (Dickerson et al. chapter 28)

  • Guest lecture, A career in public service

  1. Judiciary (Dickerson et al. chapter 29)

  • Emmett McFarlane, “Supreme Court is culpable in Omar Khadr case” Macleans. July 2012.


  1. Political parties, interest groups and social movements (Dickerson et al. chapter 23)

  • Donald Barry, How to meet the oil sands protest challenge” Policy Options 2011.

  1. Insurgency, revolution, and violence as a political strategy

  • Jamie Barlett, “Licence to kill,” Prospect Magazine April 2009.

  • Nicholas Kristof, “The power of mockery” New York Times April 2011.

  • Thomas Homer-Dixon, “The rise of complex terrorism” Foreign Policy Jan/Feb 2002. 52.

  1. Communications media (Dickerson et al. chapter 28)

19 February Quiz 2

  1. Elections and electoral systems (Dickerson et al. chapter 25)

    • “The right candidate for Rosedale,” NFB film 1979.

STUDY BREAK, 26, 28 February

  1. Representative Assemblies (Dickerson et al. chapter 26)

    • Andrew Coyne, “Parliament, Who needs it?” National Post 2010.


  1. Transitions to democracy (Dickerson et al. chapter 18)

  • Modernization theory re-visited

    • Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, “True clash of civilizations” Foreign Policy 2003.

    • Debate: Oil, Islam, and Women, Politics & Gender, 5:4 (December 2009).

      • Pippa Norris, “Petroleum patriarchy? A response to Ross.”

      • Michael Ross, “Does oil wealth hurt women? A reply to Caraway, Charrad, Kang, and Norris.”

    • Can sweatshops and cheap labour benefit the poor? Charlton & Rowe debate 4

  • If not modernization as political culture, then liberalization or foreign?

    • Does private property hold the key to prosperity? Charlton & Rowe Debate 6

    • Do Canadian government foreign aid programs alleviate poverty? Charlton & Rowe Debate 8

    • Dambisa Moyo, “Why foreign aid is hurting Africa” Wall Street Journal 2009.

19 March Quiz 3

  1. Autocratic systems of government (Dickerson et al. chapter 19

  • Azar Gat, “The return of authoritarian great powers” Foreign Affairs July/August 2007

  • Joseph Siegle, Michael Weinstein, Morton Halperin, “Why democracies excel” Foreign Affairs, 83:5, 2004, 57-71.

  • Daniel Deudney and John Ikenberry, “The myth of the autocratic revival: Why liberal democracy will prevail” Foreign Affairs 77, 2009, 77-93.

  • Victor Menaldo. “The Middle East and North Africa’s resilient monarchs” Journal of Politics, 74, 2012, 707-722.

  • Does democracy conduce to development? Charlton & Rowe Debate 14.


  1. International order (Dickerson et al. chapter 8)

  • Denis Stairs, Being rejected in the United Nations: Causes and implications of Canada’s failure to win a seat in the UN Security Council. Calgary: Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute, 2011.

  • Barry Posen, “Pull Back: The case for a less activist foreign policy” Foreign Affairs. 92:1, 2013.

  • Stephen Brooks, John Ikenberry, William Wohlforth “Lean Forward: In defense of American engagement” Foreign Affairs. 92:1, 2013.


FINAL EXAM to be scheduled during exam period 11 -26 April


  • From the University Calendar: "Students are expected to complete class work by the prescribed deadlines. Only in special circumstances ... may an instructor extend such deadlines."

  • Late papers will be assessed a late penalty at the instructor's discretion. Students who miss a deadline on account of illness are expected to hand in the assign­ment within one week of their return to class, with a medical certificate, per academic regulations of the Dalhousie Calendar.

  • Students must write the quizzes and complete the essay, as well as the final examination in order to receive anything other than a failing grade.

  • The quizzes are to be written on the date given in the syllabus. Students who miss a quiz on account of illness are expected to write it as soon as possible following their return to class, with a readable medical certificate in hand, per academic regulations found in the Dalhousie University Calendar, under the heading of “Policy for the Scheduling of Classes/Examinations.”

  • Quizzes written late for no good reason are subject to a late penalty of 5% per day.

  • Papers should be submitted directly to the instructor, or the teaching assistant, or in person to the Political Science office between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm on weekdays only. The instructor cannot assume responsibility for papers otherwise submitted.

  • The final exam is scheduled by the Registrar's office. Make no travel plans until you know the date of the exam. Students who think they are obliged to be absent from an examination for some profoundly compelling reason need to elaborate that reason in the form of a letter to the chair of Political Science department in advance of the scheduled exam, and the chair will render a decision on the matter.

  • Students may request accommodation as a result of barriers related to disability, religious obligation, or any characteristic under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. Students who require academic accommodation for either classroom participation or the writing of tests, quizzes and exams should make their request to the Office of Student Accessibility & Accommodation (OSAA) prior to or at the outset of each academic term (with the exception of X/Y courses). Please see www.studentaccessibility.dal.ca for more information and to obtain Form A: Request for Accommodation.

  • A note taker may be required to assist a classmate. There is an honourarium of $75/course/term. If you are interested, please contact OSAA at 494-2836 for more information.

  • Please note that your classroom may contain specialized accessible furniture and equipment. It is important that these items remain in the classroom so that students who require their usage will be able to participate in the class.

ESSAY Assignment due on 28 March 2013
Maximum length – 5 pages, double-spaced, 11 pitch font.
Analyse, critique, and evaluate a pair of articles from the syllabus.
All articles are posted to BBL, their url is contained in the syllabus or contained in the Crosscurrent International Development text. No additional research is required or permitted. While everything you do at university draws on your wide body of general knowledge, a penalty may be levied for going beyond the assigned readings.
Papers must be submitted in hard copy only, no faxed or emailed papers will be accepted.
The quality of your analysis rests on your choice of which articles to study as a pair that belongs together and speaks coherently to each other on the same topic. The quality of your analysis further rests on the quality of your understanding of the article. A correct knowledge of the author’s point of view is the basis of a sophisticated critique.
A five-page limit leaves no room for extensive summary and introduction; it forces you to go directly and concisely to the argumentative point.
The paper should be structured as follows

  • One paragraph introduction.

    • Identify a pair of readings to be discussed.

    • Provide signposting for how the paper is organized.

    • Take a clear stance on where the paper stands, supported by a thesis statement.

  • Approximately 1.5 page summary of first article

  • Approximately 1.5 page summary of second article

  • Approximately 1 page compare and contrast, critique, evaluation.

    • Bottom line: which article do you think is correct, and which article is wrong?

  • Bibliography or list of references used. Need not be on a separate page.

Writing competency is an essential ingredient in student academic success. In time it will allow new employees to advance in their careers. So now is the time to enhance the experiences that contribute to writing effectiveness. One way to improve writing skills is through academic classes; another way is to use the services of the Writing Centre.

Any paper submitted by a student at Dalhousie University may be checked for originality to confirm that the student has not plagiarized from other sources. Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offence which may lead to loss of credit, suspension or expulsion from the University, or even to the revocation of a degree. It is essential that there be correct attribution of authorities from which facts and opinions have been derived.
At Dalhousie there are University Regulations which deal with plagiarism and, prior to submitting any paper in a course; students should read the Policy on Intellectual Honesty contained in the Calendar or on the Online Dalhousie website. The Senate has affirmed the right of any instructor to require that student papers be submitted in both written and computer-readable format, and to submit any paper to be checked electronically for originality.











Considerable evidence of original thinking; demonstrated outstanding capacity to analyze and synthesize; outstanding grasp of subject matter; evidence of extensive knowledge base.








Evidence of grasp of subject matter, some evidence of critical capacity and analytical ability; reasonable understanding of relevant issues; evidence of familiarity with the literature.








Evidence of some understanding of the subject matter; ability to develop solutions to simple problems; benefitting from university experience.



Marginal pass

Evidence of minimally acceptable familiarity with subject matter, critical and analytical skills.




Insufficient evidence of understanding of the subject matter; weakness in critical and analytical skills; limited or irrelevant use of the literature.





No credit

Withdrew after deadline


No credit

Compassionate reasons, illness

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