TVHS Comparative Government:

2020 Syllabus

AP Comparative Government and Politics

Syllabus/Course Outline

The Course:

            AP Comparative Government is a course that provides conceptual and thematic analysis framed around and within the study of six countries: the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Iran, Mexico, and Nigeria.  In this class, you have the opportunity to move beyond the United States and consider political reality in countries that offer a variety of structures and color our modern world.  Hopefully, you will begin to develop an appreciation for the political complexities of our ever-shrinking world, and gain some understanding of both commonalities and differences among modern political systems.  If you are currently unfamiliar with Question Time, 'Red Army' hockey, danwei, the Guardian Council, the PRI’s return to power, or the term prebendalism-- you won’t be four months from now.  The 21st Century, your century, promises to be very global in nature and I hope you find this course both challenging and fascinating— enjoy!

The AP Challenge:

In addition to analytical study, research, and honing habits necessary at the next level, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the curriculum with the help of our friends at the College Board.  This year, they are offering the Comparative test on Thursday, May 12th.  Based on your scores on the exam, you may receive college credit.  The test will consist of 55 multiple-choice questions (50% of total) - 45 minutes; and a 100-minute free response section consisting of three categories—short-answer concepts, conceptual analysis, and country context. Understand that the free response section requires not only knowledge of what the concept in question is, but how it is used in contemporary society.  Scores breakdown as follows: 5 = extremely well qualified, 4 = well qualified, 3 = qualified, 2 = possibly qualified, 1 = no way.  The college of your choice will dictate how the examination score will be credited.                      

Course Planner

Activities: each unit will feature an inter-active and analytical/'outside the box'l activity that will have you doing research, interpreting data, thinking critically and/or otherwise drawing inferences and finding meaning concerning situations relevant to each country and the comparative method at-large.                                                       

Unit exams = unit exams will consist of 40 multiple choice questions [50%] and a full AP-style free response section [50%] – 92 minutes.  In addition, students will respond to a free response prompt each week to learn to better identify what is being asked and improve when putting together a comprehensive response.


Roskin, Michael G. Countries and Concepts: AP Edition.

or, Sodaro, Michael J. Comparative Politics: Global Introduction

or, Kesselman, Mark, et al. Introduction to Comparative Politics (AP edition). 


Mark Kesselman and Joel Krieger. Readings in Comparative Politics: Political Challenges and Agendas and Christian Soe, ed. Annual Editions: Comparative Politics

Instructor's packet - exists for all countries studied; articles taken from Time, Newsweek, the Economist, and several newspapers or on-line sources-- provide current or near-recent articles.

Note-taking and terms: Students should read the chapters using Zeigler’s browse, skim-and-scan, careful reading, skim/scan w/ notes (Cornell!), and 'reminding' techniques.  Terms should be placed in a notebook, on-line, or on index cards in Cornell form.

The News Habit – BBC World, PBS (Frontline: World, Wide Angle), on-line links (Ken Wedding’s web-sources), etc..

Papers – Choose ONE of the 8 topics and frame it around a specific country (any)…

·         Economic Systems

·         Globalization                                             (bounce your thesis statement

·         Institutional Structure                               by me before you start writing

·         Political Legitimacy/Efficiency                   your paper… this assignment is 

·         Participation/Efficacy                               optional)

·         Revolution

·         Social Cleaves

·         Transparency

AP Comparative Government Paper -  (April effort-- thesis due after Spring Break)

“Thesis Statement and Rubric” 

                You are to craft an analytical essay (with an underlined and meaningful thesis) relative to various topics within the study of comparative government. Develop the thesis relative to your understanding and support that position with examples, data, quotes from “talking head” experts, etc.  Your thesis should matter (to what extent does it take the reader beyond the “information”).  You should be analyzing and evaluating— make the reader look at something, consider something, or see something new light.  Leave them feeling that the time they spent with your paper was worth it (that you’ve given them something).  The paper should be minimum of two-and-a-half pages and really no more than three.  Feel free to include any visual, graphical information, photos, or items that relate to or would otherwise enhance things at the end of your paper, however these would be added in addition to the two-and-a-half, three pages.

Again, a quick blurb on writing (take it or leave it):

Make Writing Fun  (and recognize the immortality of the pen) – my belief is that people who find writing boring, write boring (thanks Mrs. S).

 Clever Introduction - (get the reader interested, excited, thinking and on-board; “sell” the pages to come)

 “Do something!”very important; put your creativity, analysis, insight and evaluation on paper.  Don’t just regurgitate something—find it and drop it down— you have done nothing in that case—and repackaging is boring, no doubt.

 Focus and Flow/Support – make sure your paper moves in a logical direction around your thesis.  Support your thesis and connect your supporting pieces throughout.  Your support is the weapon by which you carry the day—it’s your ammunition.  And, always

proof-read (better yet, have someone else proof-read)!!

 Cite Your Sources – use endnotes!  These should be placed at the end of sentences or paragraphs when you’ve drawn upon the ideas of others, (Moses, 2006), for example.  You should also have an alphabetized bibliography or works cited page at the end of your paper. Please don’t view this as a burden.  It takes little time and provides the opportunity to pass credit to those that deserve it— (who knows, someday some of you might be on the other end of a citation…).

 The Rubric (50 points – Paper Outline - 'less is more') 

20 pts – Purpose and a Point (thesis statement): Does it 'do something' (compare/contrast, etc.)?  Have you set up a paper-- what's to be analyzed and evaluated; set up what will be necessary in terms of support?

20 pts – Look and Feel: Do the outline headings (i.e. - I through V) support/reinforce the thesis?  Is it clear what's at issue?

5 pts – Intro: Is it a clever, creative way to grab the reader’s attention?

5 pts – Endnotes and Works Cited: list three sources that would help you access information.



Question Time topics 2016 (1/22)      'Janurary'

Devolutionary efforts 2, Inequality (minimum wage law), Austerity measures 2, Fox hunt - 2, Crime, Funding for the BBC, Attracting teachers to benefit schools, Making adoption easier, Free daycare, Environmental Policy, Immigration, Arms contracts w/ Saudi Arabia, Child deaths, the NHS, upcoming EU vote (in/out referendum) 2, Refugees and public safety 2, Voter participation/the youth vote, Jane Austen's House for Public Purchase as Landmark, Sink estates and gentrification, Flooding, Cable and Pensioners, GMOs and pollution, Welsh flexibility (can they stay in if there's an out vote?), under-occupancy penalties, job creation and the Swale Borough Council, Restoration and Enhancement of the North Irish Parliament Building, EU Agricultural Policy, Education (and the refugee question...),tax policy (threshold of hrs and minimum wage), wage equity for women, and ISIS 

                                                                                                 - should be fun! 

Design Thinking for AP Comparative Gov: 'what our focus country leaders need...' (65 points) Feb Gifts

Your task is two-fold.  First, build a bio and description of the problem facing a client, the leader of one of our six focus countries.  Then, come up with solution for the problem, something tangible, an agency, a propaganda tool, a festival, whatever, to assist in helping answer the overarching question/issue confronting that particular leader.

Each faces general question and challenge:

The UK/Johnson – How might he thread the needle so that frustration/Euroskepticism is respected, but the UK’s trade and financial relationship to the continent/the EU is not lost?

Russia/Putin – How might he exist near Europe without being overrun with ‘western’ values/politics?

China/Jinping – How might he maintain state capitalism and the CCP with the growing Chinese middle class?  NW/Xinjiang question?  skirt criticism for side-stepping a term limit?

Iran/Khamenei & Rouhani – How might they preserve the place of Islam with modernization/demographic transformation?

Mexico/Obrador – How might any re-distributive policy often unequal development or how to combat organized crime, corruption, or perceptions of government inability to create any real change?

Nigeria/Buhari – How might we attract foreign investment despite concerns over security and/or corruption?  or, the ever present national question (Biafra?)?

rubric (65 points)

Step One: 15 pts - bio paragraph (with reference to central question/problem)

Step Two: 40 pts - the solution (that which addresses, solves problem); the tangible something

- workability/pragmatism (will it work?)

- creativity, originality (doesn't already exist)

- understanding of/accuracy of political situation reality in selected country (on point)

- quality of the writing, illustration, design of the solution item (clarity/cleanliness) 

Step Three: 10 pts - sharing the idea with classmates...


AP Comparative Art Effort (inspired by Liu Bolin & Ai Weiwei...); MARCH

due: March 30th                                                      Kale Miller (2013 winner); Zohra                                                                               Aslami (2014); Anna Kirk/Amber Wiens (2015);                                                                      Maya DeMartino (2016), Emme Janssen (2017),      Maddie Sheets (2018), Robin Bilodeau (2019);                                                                       2020 Haley Lawton 

** 25, 50 points-- your choice. 

deals with some element of Chinese (or other) political reality...

                                                                                                                - Enjoy. 


*** you can 'double dip' and enter your piece in the annual Amnesty Art contest... listen for details.

 interesting piece on political art:

Unit IV - Working Wednesdays...

IRAN - The Iranian Escape Room

     A couple paragraphs (= the 'imprisonment story'); 8 thematic puzzles/tasks/clues necessary to escape; escape = a dog as the prize; non-escape = ...

MEXICO - Mapping Mexican political history

     20 items to print, cut, and paste on a map of Mexico, each to include a follow-up discussion question

NIGERIA - Nigerian politics since independence expressed as a 'messy' baseball boxscore...


40 points per day per person or team...  

Tentative Lesson Plans...

Comparative Gov--

LT: We will look at 'dynamic' politics and consider what we know going out of the chute...'The Square' Trailer/Interview-to-some intro questions-to-politics; (what do we know about our countries?  [the UK, Russia, China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria-- catalog]; big year for our countries-- radio blurb exploration; Website Look-- Course Description for homework...

Intro reading (women in power = more peace), gender-to-data table (quantitative analysis) - More Women in Power-- policy impact...; Globalization and Interconnectedness... (integration or fragmentation-- 2016...??); the study of gov't/power (historically and at present w/ questions, types, etc)-- Is Democracy in Trouble??; define politics (homework).

the 12 topical themes... (notes) The Themes: I, II, III: Gov't structure/institutions, History/Culture (political culture), Legitimacy/Authority (sovereignty); IV, V, VI: Political participation/Civil Society, Leadership Groups/Elites, Political Parties; questions/images... VII, VIII, IX: other linkage - interest groups/the media, policy (inputs, outputs), voting & elections; X, XI, XII: Revolution and Democratization, Economics (theory, systems), political divisions/cleaves (including gender dynamics and the secular/fundamental divide...; looking at the boxes (w/ creative case-study-ish questions;  radio blurb II...

revolution (and theory of...) w/ reading wiki accounts [quantitative analysis/scoring??], based on handout-- in popular culture for homework.

KBAT terms/thematic jazz; FRQ look... (w/ boxes)

Thematic Scrum (scripted...) 

Password and/or 'Collegeboard Squares'

'Question Time...'; test I  (hybrid)-- MC (FRQ 'to go...') 

Question Time!! (w/ handout-- we're doin' it!

Historical arch (gradualism,  

We will understand the major comparative implications available from study the UK, an advanced democracy...  Note push... heads down and go! 

LT: We will come to know the high points/intensity of two monumental referendum questions...  Scottish independence-- JO; possible FRQ questions... and Brexit (JO double feature)

readings potpourri; 2015 Election Debate: meet the candidates/parties; one-pager option

The Troubles...; DEVOLUTION; and the EU (and BREXIT)

UK social and economic policy focus 

LT: We will cement our appreciation for parties and policies within the United Kingdom.  Question Time fun... [tea and crumpets!!]-- UK FRQ

UK MC questions; Economics... and; 

Russia-- ('A Man Like Putin' and the 'Bald/Hairy' NPR song); umbrella notions (w/ discussion, glimpses 'Russia on the Test'); Miracle on Ice-to- 'obituary: Soviet Union'

MJ25: dancing Boris-to- 'Boris Yeltsin's Wrong Moves;' Frontline: Rich in Russia; legacy of 'shock therapy'' Chechnya concerns (Beslan...)

T: illiberal democracy/journalistic intimidation/assassination-- 'reporting from' efforts; current calculus (Crimea, sanctions/price of oil, growing dissent??, etc)...

W: Putin (PBS)...

F: Russia-- MC test; 'reporting from efforts..'

MF1: - Government Structure/Institutions; thematic 'Password' (homework) 

T: paper equivalent - thesis construction and outline effort!!

W: China-- Introduce unit (instructor's slides/commentary); 'Tank Man' intro (PBS)-to-Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel Prize ('10)..."Koppel Returns" and the Cultural Revolution; The Party - chapter snippets -to- FRQ creation (anticipate, developing 'a nose'...); 

F: from the Four Olds-to-the Four Modernizations-to-the TVE and SEZ the post-Tiananmen boom and the end of the 'Iron Rice Bowl'...; China-- Maoism-to-Me-ism; Panda Hugger or Dragon Slayor, a reading..; introduce art project - Liu Bolin; nationalism in modern China (the Beijing Olympics)

MF8: History/Culture (Political Culture)

T: Legitimacy/Authority (Sovereignty)

W: China-- 'Never Sorry'

F: China--  MC test; reading Iran from Time

TF16: Political Participation/Civil Society

W: Iran-- 'A Death in Tehran' (PBS); Argo release-- 'Iran and the West' (BBC documentary clip)...; Iran-- YMCA soccer story (Iranian teammate in the fall of 1979); dissident art due; TED:

F: Shirin Neshat (art); umbrella notions (w/ discussion, notes, glimpses-- Nightline and Iranian youth circa 2005)-- enduring fault-line: hard-liners v reformers... 'buffet of hand-outs-- (update-- )

MF22: Leadership Groups/Elites; Political Parties

T: Interest Groups, the Media, and Public Policy formation

The Iranian Escape Room: An Activity 

W: Iran-- The Theocratic experiment (institutions, etc); the Revolutionary Guard; on-going resistance 'Lipstick Jihad, etc)  practice FRQs

MF29: Iran-- MC test; debate list... 

T: voting and elections; Revolution and Democratization

W: Mexico--notes (w/ discussion) - Mexico on the exam: understanding the Revolution and the PRI monopoly on power, reform, and other stuff...

F: Mexico-- Parity law (and discussion of gender - would you vote for it here?); Presidential Debate roles (four candidates, 12 question topics); Lab Effort: pre-election debate effort (the parties and political spectrum)

MM7: Economics!!

T: Political Divisions/Cleaves 

W: Mexico-- 'the Debate!'; video element

The Political History of Mexico: A Map... 

F: Mexico-- MC test



Nigeria-- introduce-- studies in governmental dysfunction ('Sweet Crude' and the national question!!)...

Nigeria-- "Single Story"; notes (w/ discussion);finding Sam Wantings (questions for...)-- development/investment?  [the next China?]

MM21: Nigeria: A Case Study in the Messy Boxscore (who doesn't know how to keep score?)

T: potpourri...

W: Nigeria-- ... the road north (Nightline...) v Nollywood, Nigeria ''on the exam,'; Christiane Amanpour interview w/ Goodluck Johnathan... new leadership w/ Muhammadu Buhari

F: Nigeria-- MC test; grab review matrix... 



W: AP Practice Exam... 

F: de-brief/review

MA11: topical

T: topical

W: AP Practice Exam 

TA19: de-brief/review

Institutional Structure-- cube creation... focus counties.

W: the United Kingdom and Comparative Implications

F: Russia and Comparative Implications

MA25: China and Comparative Implications

T: Iran and Comparative Implications

W: Mexico and Comparative Implications

F: Nigeria and Comparative Implicatons

MM2: review

T: review

W: AP Practice Exam

F: de-brief/review

MM9 (Exam Week!):



AP Exam - Thursday, May 11th 

Post-exam activity/movie review(s)... The Iron Lady, The Queen, The Return, the Last Emperor, Argo, ...  , Sweet Crude, etc...


REVIEW: Comparative Implications...

Comparative Implications in the United Kingdom

INSTITUTIONS AND STRUCTURE: unwritten Constitution (gradualism, common law and precedent); UNITARY STATE ('parliamentary sovereignty') and supranationalism (the EU and Brexit) vs. devolution (Blair and the creation of the SP, WP, NIA and LC); creation of a Supreme Court (??)

PARTY DISCIPLINE: Parliamentary system guarantees ‘control’ (greater cohesion/efficiency, non-divided) of government and a ‘fusion of power’ between legislative and executive branches; ‘whip’ makes sure members obey party voting; there is a tradition of civility (party differences are more ‘playful,’ Loyal Opposition-- Opposition Leader & Shadow Chancellor)-- Question Time

ECONOMIC POLICY: Collectivist consensus and the social welfare state runs into the ‘British Disease’ of stagflation, falling productivity, strikes, and a free fall in the mid-to-late 1970s, enter Thatcher’s neo-liberalism (laissez-faire)— deregulation, privatization, tax cuts, etc; Blair’s ‘third way’ and ‘New Labour’— vs. NHS reform, austerity and the like

PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM: legislature; executive is answerable to parliament (prime minister may be ousted by ‘vote of no confidence’); lower house is originator of legislation (Commons)—much of it developed w/ aid of cabinet and Whitehall officials; upper body (Lords) gives ‘second look,’ and can only delay/recommend…

INTEREST GROUPS: history/legacy of corporatism (1950/60s and beyond…); half of all electorate belongs to at least one interest group; Labour—Trades Union Congress forms a core element of their base; Conservatives: Business Interests/the Confederation of British Industry; interest groups influence party leaders, gov’t members, bureaucrats and public opinion…

EVOLUTIONARY POLITICS: no ‘actual’ constitution; things evolved and the ‘constitution’ is the sum total of centuries of evolution, precedent, law, and practice; history and ‘fairness’ are the measures and tradition holds it all intact; ‘British gradualism’ refers to its relatively peaceful development

CLASS SYSTEM: there’s a stronger distinction between the working class and middle class; very strong subjectivity, divisions, deference; reflected in dialect and speech patterns, even the football/soccer teams they root for… from the 'collectivist consensus' to Thatcherism to Blair's 'Third Way' to... austerity and the welfare state...

Comparative Implications in Russia

AUTHORITARIANISM/AUTOCRACY: coercion basis, rather than legitimacy; absolute rule, centralized state—history/czar set standard; Bolsheviks w/ communist rule adopted the standard (Lenin, Stalin, Putin); civilians comfortable w/ it; ‘Putinism’: inner circle of siloviki (dominant clan)— managed/illiberal democracy

MARXISM/LENINISM: Marx— proletariat revolution necessary; Marxism/Leninism—communism/Marx economics w/ Lenin’s organization (not proletariat, but peasantry); Communist party 2nd today (19% support in 2011 Duma elections)

DEMOCRATIC REFORMS/INSTITUTIONS (on paper…): Gorbachev (glasnost and perestroika): media openness and economic restructuring; Yeltsin… economic ‘shock therapy,’ failure; ’93 Constitution: semi-presidentialism, parliament, federalism (façade of rule of law at best… ‘Potemkin Village’);

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION/MULTIPARTY SYSTEM: half of parliament (Duma) was SMD, half proportional—now all proportional; Duma (lower/lawmaking) elections, Federation Council (upper--1 chosen by regional legislative body, 1 appointed by regional Governors…), illusion of multiparty, competitive system (minor parties too weak/fragmented; United Russia emerges as ‘dominant’ party (too many parties, weak minor parties, a threat to democracy…)

STRONG PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM: semi-presidentialism (w/ a weak PM); president strong (sets policy, names PM, veto bills, can dissolve parliament, strong ‘emergency’ powers) and becomes STRONGER!

ELITE(S): Soviet holdovers (oligarchs arise from old nomenklatura class, Putin (ex-KGB); friends of Yeltsin, later friends of Putin— siloviki…

ECONOMIC POLICY: Soviet ‘wet cardboard’/Marxism-Leninism (command/gov’t planning)-to-post-Soviet, Yeltsin-era ‘shock therapy’-to-Putinesque corporatism

STRUCTURAL (Institutional) TRANSFORMATION/CHANGE: Governors appointed; Duma goes all proportional (w/ 7% threshold) in ’07; ’08 Changes: presidential term goes from 4-to-6 yrs; Duma term goes from 4-to-5 yrs; a ‘centralization’ inertia has created tension as regional power wanes…; difficulty of opposition/dissent (ballot access (Kasparov), journalistic intimidation, jail (Nevsky), etc

Comparative Implications in China

COMMUNIST ECONOMIC POLICIES/REFORM/“THIRD WORLD” /LDC-to-Largest Economy in the World: Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms (TVEs, SEZs, etc) embrace markets; ‘middle road’—micro=market economy, macro=state-run (state capitalism and the friction between the two…); globalization and the WTO; coastal/urban$$$ v rural… uneven development [pitchfork rebellions]

UNIQUE AUTHORITARIAN POLITICAL CULTURE: Confucianism—its legacy, deference to authority; (and its challenges in Hong Kong/Tibet): cult of Mao/Cultural Revolution (‘iron rice bowl’ assurances)-to-high degrees of ‘patron-clientelism’ w/ the today’s CCP (‘the Party’); umbrella movement—Hong Kong (the demand for open candidacies)

MAOISM: celebration of peasantry, non-elites, etc; at the same time things were being centralized, controlled…; nationalism and the ‘mass line’… [dead ideologically, but there’s a nostalgic element…]-- Xi as the 'new Mao...'

COMMUNIST POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS/COMMUNIST POLITICAL PARTICIPATION: guanxi, danwei (cadres that help keep the party ‘in favor,’) etc; ‘pitchfork’ rebellions, the art of Ai Wei Wei; interlocking state and party (CCP) hierarchies; premier = head of government (Le Keqiang), Chairman of Standing Committee= President/Head of State (Xi Jinping); strong, influential army; political numbness and low efficacy… although, meritocracy within its pyramid structure (the Organization Dept: clerks and mngrs-to-high officialdom...

CHINESE SOCIAL DIVISIONS: Confucian influence, North (M) v South (C), rural v urban, old v young, poor v ‘new’-rich, Xinjiang (Uyghurs: Muslim), Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (‘one country, two systems’), etc

STRUCTURAL/INSTITUTIONAL (JUDICIAL REFORM, too)Competitive village elections; competition w/in CCP—tournament, merit-based; economic-driven contract law, etc.

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY (as case study): Extreme air pollution in cities, polluted waterways-- but, economic growth, millions out of poverty makes putting on any breaks (slow the economy) difficult.  However, the highly centralized CCP structure make a rapid, total response possible [see Beijing Olympics; mfg shut down]

Comparative Implications in Iran

ISLAMIC POLITICAL CULTURE: theocracy, rule by priests, velayat-e-faqih: jurists’ guardianship; president is only second in power to Faqih, ‘supreme leader,’ jurist legal scholars—‘steeped’ in Islam; shar’ia law, Islamism…; Council of Religious Experts picks the Supreme Leader; Majles (unicam legislative body)—policy and chooses ½ of the Guardian Council

DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL CULTURE(?): parties legal and constitutional (though restricted in practice…Guardian Council blocks ballot access); 16 yr-old vote; more ‘potential’ than substantive reality (reform appears, then wanes); secular democrats exist, but know when to ‘lay low,’ student energy (young demographic), …

CHANGING POPULATION POLICY: pro-natalist, anti-natalist, pro-natalist and back

CURRENT POLITICS…: moderates, democrats keep their mouths shut (usually the younger crowd), but are reform-minded (Khatami, a reformer must move things w/ caution …Islamists will resist any erosion)… Rouhani, a reformer—how much??

ECONOMICS/RENTIER STATE: all or most of national revenues from natural resource—oil!!; immense inflation pressure; employment related to price of oil/sanctions, poverty, statism; OPEC; state ownership (more than half)/command elements...

INTEREST CLIQUES: Revolutionary Guards (bureaucrats and business)/[Basij—young, thuggish intimidators]

TOTALITARIANISM/AUTHORITARIANISM: journalistic intimidation, arrests, etc.

Comparative Implications in Mexico

DEMOCRATIC, SECULAR STATE: But in 20th Century, not really democracy (1917 Constitution as ‘perfect dictatorship’ b/c of a democratic mask and the PRI’s electoral democracy); separation of state and church—anticlericalism, democratic skepticism; w/ PAN less separation of church and state…

SINGLE PARTY SYSTEM: PRI—kept in power by clientelism, corporatism, co-optation, corruption in general; dedazo (handpicking the successor); faced bilateral opposition-- keep at bay w/ accomodation; …the new PRI??

LEGITIMACY: revolutionary; revolution meant to end corruption, the institutionalized revolution should therefore not be corrupt—not necessarily the case in Mexico, nor elsewhere, still romanticism exists; Constitutional: people in power b/c of rules, legal processes allow it—but, not much constitutionalism in Mexico—period.

PATRON-CLIENTISM: the powerful few provide status, power, wealth, jobs, land, etc in return for loyalty and political support… kept PRI in power—land reforms (ejidos) for peasants, unions for workers, jobs for bureaucrats, etc

Comparative Implications in Nigeria

COLONIAL POLITICAL LEGACY: authoritarian, law and order, pitted Christian, educated Igbo against Islamic North; incompatible tribes/nations—political, social fragmentation; divide and rule, indirect rule

ETHNIC/RELIGIOUS CLEAVES: cleft country: North (Islam) v South (Christian/animist)— a near 50/50 split, around 250 ethnic groups: begs the national question—will, can Nigeria stay together?

MILITARY RULE POLITICS: prebendalism (patron/client, low transparency); praetorianism (military)/coups

LDC/RENTIER STATE: Less than $900/yr per capita GDP; kleptocracy: dependence on oil, filling Swiss bank accounts, etc; lack of investment in human capital (non-school attendance keeps literacy lower than could be/should be)

EFFECTS OF ECONOMIC DEPENDENCY: few rich, rest poor (absolute poverty, less than $1 a day); grand corruption and kickbacks, petty corruption and sweatbreads; micro and macro mismanagement—inflation; oil, NNPC; structural adjustment policies (debt repayment, low(er) standard of living); OPEC

CONSTITUTIONAL ENGINEERING: 1999 marks the ‘fourth republic’: Obasanjo (who in ’79 was military president) is elected president; presidential system (Obasanjo re-elected in ’03), National Assembly; tweaks and changes here and there; PDP's 'trade off' system of candidates [C, M, C...] as accommodation measure


FEDERALISM AND THE MULTI-NATIONAL STATE: Federalism allows for regional difference (i.e. – shar’ia in some of the northern states), presidential election requires ¼ of the vote in 2/3rds of the 36 states 

Tentative test schedule:

Unit I - late January; the UK - late February; Russia/China - late March; Iran, Mexico, Nigeria - late April; (dress rehersal = Final) - first week of May; AP Exam: Thurs, May 16th (am)

Review nights:

Monday nights (7:30 pm-to-8:30 pm-- w/ U.S.)

March 4 (time division/approach, resources, THEMES (1-6); Units I and II), March 11 (review books, review matrix examples; THEMES (7-12), March 25 (UK/Russia); April 15 (China/Iran), April 22 (Mexico/Nigeria), April 29 (Everything goes, thematic look...)

** it's time to begin incremental review whether you're taking the AP Exam (5/16) or just our final (5/8)... (look at -the Comparative portion-- and hit the College Board for thematic reminders/course outline from course description book, free response questions and scoring guidelines)!!  ...time to STUDY!! Enjoy.

Unit I ('thematic jazz'/big picture!!) - early March

Unit II (themes within the UK) - late March

Unit III - (themes within Russia/China) - early April

Unit IV - (themes within Iran, Mexico, and Nigeria) - late April

look at everything and tying things together: early May-to-test day!

Useful Links:

 Ken Wedding's 'teaching comparative' blog!!

Stevenson High School (IL) wiki-link...

General Sites - Ken Wedding

Daily Show interview - Malala Yousafzai

Daily Show interview - Jehane Noujaim

Unit I poll questions

United Kingdom (Wedding's)

Russia (Wedding's)

China (Wedding's)

Iran (Wedding's)

Mexico (Wedding's)

Nigeria (Wedding's)

International Organizations (Wedding's)

Ken Wedding's blogspot

Ethel Wood's review!

Freedom Rising - TED

Global Power Shift - TED

The Big Picture - TED 

Scottish Independence vote - npr

Russia and Ukraine - npr

China and Hong Kong


Iran internet shutdown... Nov '19

Iran - npr

Mexico and missing students - npr

Nigeria and Boko Haram - npr

Real Clear Politics World

Best and Worst Places to be a Woman


brief political history of UK (538)

2010 Election debate

2015 UK election debate

Daily Show interview - Tony Blair

Daily Show interview - Gordon Brown

Daily Show interview Boris Johnson

Politics in the UK

Yes, Minister: Who Reads the Papers 

Politics - the BBC 

BBC's 2015 Election 'Policy Guide' 

UK party policy manifesto page (election 2015)

Huffington Post - UK

the EU 50 yrs in 5 mins 

EU history

Northern Ireland - the Troubles...

Good Friday Agreement at 10 yrs...

Scottish Referendum

Scottish Independence - w/ John Oliver

Maastricht Treaty and EU npr

Glossary of UK Politics - 538

History of Law Lords (BBC)

538 - what UK politics is about (policy)...

what parties are promising (538) - policy...

PBS Newshour - the Brexit?

Dave Cameron faces tax questions (Panama Papers)


Frontline: 'Rich in Russia'

Frontline: 'Putin's Plan...'

Frontline: 'Putin's Way'

interview w/ Nemtsov CNN

Boris Nemtsov - story on murder and last interview 

CNN Nemtsov's life

Biography: Putin 

npr's Marketplace: Putin vs Russian economy

npr - Russian judicial system

Russian politics 2007 - directional npr

Russia Votes (political parties/results) 

trailer - 'Reds'  

Duma brawl I 

Duma brawl II - Zhirinovsky 

Duma brawl III 

Daily Show interview - Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin ('Pussy Riot' documentary filmmakers)

Daily Show - Samantha Bee w/ Andranik Migranyan

Daily Show: Russian meteor 

'Putin's Party' - National Geographic (Sochi Olympics)

What Pussy Riot Does Next (Time)

Colbert interview - Pussy Riot

Russia's economic challenges (oil/Putin)

A Man Like Putin - music video 

Best of Boris Yeltsin... 

Bald Hairy Russian Song (npr) 

Commie Dearest 

Americans disliked Russia before Ukraine crisis...

Where is next Crimea? (538)

trailer - Red Army (documentary film/hockey)

Putin Country - a book discussion on npr's 'Fresh Air'


Richard Holbrooke discusses Deng Xiaoping on Charlie Rose

Deng Xiaoping speaking to Mike Wallace 

chinese bureaucrat in 5 steps - npr

Cultural Revolution clip

Eric X. Li: A Tale of Two Political Systems

Tank Man intro (PBS) 

John Stewart in China - The New Yorker 

Ai Wei Wei (Never Sorry) - trailer

Is China the model for emerging economies? (Moyo) 

Daily Show interview - Dambisa Moyo (economist) 

Umbrella movement Hong Kong (J Oliver)


Shirin Neshat (Iranian artist) TED 

npr interview w/ Azadeh Moaveni, author, life in Iran

npr - Iranian revolution (30th anniversary) - looking back...

Iranian revolution (35th anniversary) - looking back...

2013 Iranian election (a preview) - CSPAN

Political Parties in Iran (Princeton) 

2009 Election Debate (Iran) 

Media Access and Green Movement (one year after disputed '09 election) - CSPAN 

Daily Show interview - Trita Parsi

Iranian nuclear deal...

2016 Parliamentary Election (Majles)

CSPAN interview Azadeh Moaveni 

Iran Prison Atlas (npr piece) 5/22/17

Iranian Election Newshour on PBS 5/19/17 


Future of Mexican politics - CSPAN

Daily Show interview - Vicente Fox

CBS interview with President Calderon 

interview with President Pena Nieto 

Richardson bullish on Mexico 

POV(iew) on PBS - Reportero

Big Changes to Mexico's Judicial System (npr) 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche - Single Story (TED)

 The War for Nigeria - National Geographic

 new Nigerian president (analysis) 

Tony Elumelu (interview on Forbes)

Joshua Adeoye TED talk - Nigeria and complexity 


Shahin Najafi (Iran protest singer)

political protest songs/music... 

 Ethel Wood APCG Study Guide (Marshfield HS, WI)

Unit I and Course Themes

The following dozen themes serve to frame the course.  Understanding how these elements affect co-operation and conflict in the pursuit of power and social order is indispensable.  Know these and you'll know the countries we've been studying.

1) Government Structure; Institutions - What's the framework, etc?...  Legislative arrangements/decision-making; Executive function/Head of Government, Head of State, Judicial considerations (code v common, judicial review); parliamentary v presidential; unitary v federal, etc.

2) History and Culture (political culture) - Senses of... political reality, direction, function, etc.

3) Legitimacy/Authority (sovereignty) - What gives the ruling authority its power?  Do people accept government and see them as having the right to rule?

4) Political Participation/Civil Society - Elections, political freedom, media,and the like...; experience with, numbers of independent, non-governmental decision-making bodies (Moose Lodges, HOAs, the PTA, etc)

5)  Leadership Groups/Elites - How do people of power have advantage, stay there, get there?

6) Political Parties - Do parties exist?  How many?  What connects people to parties/gov't?  [SMD v proportional electoral systems]

7) Other Linkage-- interest groups and media - information, interaction with, and influence on gov't-- corporatist/corporatism, grips on power; freedom of the press (level of)/intimidation

8) -  Policy (inputs, outputs) - what's important in the formation/creation of policy, and then, its execution... (inputs/outputs); think about the Health Care bill/battles in the United States and how something similar might play out in a different country/nation...

9) Voting and Elections - SMD, F-past-the-P, etc vs. Proportionality; laws, mechanisms, etc.; transparency, ballot rigging, ballot fixing

10) Revolution and Democratization... - understanding why revolution occurs, limitations/inhibitors; democratization (components, difficulty); regime change v change in government...

11) Economics (system, etc) - Market v Command (and things between - level of regulation, etc), petro-dependency, and the like

12)  Political Divisions; Cleaves and Quarrels - where fault lines exist-- conflict/fighting; inequality, discrimination, etc

     a) Gender Dynamics - the political and social implications of being male or female; (equity laws, etc) 

      b) Fundamentalism v Secularism (and Religon) - the impact of religious conviction on gov't (and the expression of power)...

Intro to Comparative Government

Chapter 1 - The Concept of Country 

Know -

sovereignty                                                                   parliamentary v presidential

elites (recruitment, etc)      interest aggregation (and policy...) 

ethnicity                                                                        coalition(s)/pluralism, etc.

multinational state                                                         political culture and participation

civil society                                                           illiberal democracy v (procedural)

diplomatic recognition                                                 efficacy vs. apathy/cynicism

core (& core area)                                                     linkage (and its common forms)

particularism (regional)                                                 ideology (ideological differences)

absolutism/authoritarian                                  economic liberalism v command economy

secularization                                                    legitimacy/stability (or, revolution)

religious fundamentalism                                            public goods; externalities

terrorism (non-state actors)                                         human rights (the UN ideal)??

rule of law (common v code)                                        income inequality

per capita GDP                                                      power (definition)/quarrels

electoral franchise                                                    redistribution/welfare state

symbol(s) and socialization                                       demographic transition model

constitution (theory v practice)                                   interest articulation (inequality within)

revolution (theory, etc.)                                             gender and politics (parity law)

globalization                democratization 

supranationalism v devolution                                       unitary v federal 

reform/institutional change                                        social networking and political activism 

participants, subjects, parochials...                                  regime v government (and 'change')

Be Able To -

Differentiate between a nation and a state-- the classic nation-state v multinational states.

Explain what is meant by legitimacy and linkage and provide examples.

Identify two or three failed states-- what factors contribute?

Elites v “the masses” - (and the idea of recruitment - channels of privilege and power).

Democratization-- describe Samuel Huntington's "waves" (emphasis on the "Third Wave").

Globalization-- its effect on diffusion of culture (McWorld) and spread of neo-liberal economics.

Differentiate between a unitary v federal system of government (w/ examples of each). 

Differentiate between a head of government and a head of state (King/Queen, President, Prime Minister).

Civic Culture and Civil Society: describe what these mean and how it impacts politics within a state-- consider the examples of post-Soviet Russia and/or post-Saddam Iraq (i.e. – the lack of...).

Social Cleaves - what are they?  ...provide four or five "textbook" examples (w/ specific locations).

II - the United Kingdom



austerity measures                                                       life peerage

'backbenchers'                                             limited government (Locke/Social Contract)

Beveridge Report (1942)                                            “loyal opposition”

Blair, Tony                                                                    Magna Carta

British Broadcasting (the BBC)                                     “misery index”/1970s

UKIP/ultra-nationalism/Euroskepticism                                 mixed economy

Good Friday Agreement                                   multi-national (Scottish, Welsh, etc)

Cameron, David                                                          neo-corporatism

caucuses (w/in party)                                                   neo-liberalism (econ...)

“civic culture”                                                              'noblesse oblige'

Clause IV (Labour)                                                     OPEC; North Sea oil...

Clegg (and coalition gov’t)                                              Oxbridge

'collective consensus'                                          parliamentary system (sovereignty)

collective responsibility (THE CABINET                             Plaid Cymru (Wales)

Confederation of Business Industries                       plurality voting system (SMDs)

Conservative Party (the Tories)                                politics of protest; strikes, etc

“constitution of the crown”                                     SMD v  proportional representation

cultural heterogeneity                                                   quangos (w/ 2 examples)

the EU (democracy deficit?)                              Question Time (its function as a check)

devolution                                                                    rational-legal legitimacy

the English Bill of Rights                                              referendum (examples of...)   

Euroskepticism and insularity ('IN/OUT' vote)                      “safe” districts

first-past-the-post” voting system                                 Scottish National Party

the Glorious Revolution                                                     “shadow cabinet”

the “government” [what’s meant?]                             Sinn Fein/the Troubles...

gradualism                                                                           solidarity

hereditary peers                                                     Speaker of the House (role)

'home rule"                                                                        Thatcherism

pension assurance                                                   the “third way” (Blair/Brown)

the Irish Republican Army                                            the Trade Union Congress

Keynesian economic theory                                         traditional leadership channels

Labour Party                                                             the UK’s decline (S. Beer thesis)

Law Lords and SC (judicial review?)                          Scottish Independence Referendum

The Liberal Dems                                                               unitary gov’t

liberalism (in the classical economic sense)                             “vote of no confidence”

The NHS (reform??...)                                                    the “welfare state”

Whitehall v white papers                                      British bureaucracy and civil service 

May, Theresa                                                                Article 50 and Brexit 

Boris Johnson                                                             the 'backstop' question (NIre)                 

Be Able To

Discuss party discipline: ‘whip’ makes sure members obey party in voting, tradition/civility, party differences ‘muted’

Explain economic policy: ‘British Disease’ of welfare leading inflation and falling productivity, ‘Thatcherite’ neo-liberalism (M. Friedman,/laissez-faire)— lessen role of gov’t (deregulation), free-market economics, less taxation, privatization; Blair’s ‘Third Way,’ approach; NHS: health care (equality, single payer)—’12 Olympics and the post-War collectivist consensus…

Discuss parliamentary system: legislature/executive is answerable to parliament; parliamentary sovereignty; lower house originator of legislation (Commons); upper by simply gives ‘second look’ (Lords); ‘coalition gov’t’

Explain interest groups and corporatist traditions in the UK—half of all electorate belongs to at least one interest group; Labour—Trade Union Congress/labor union support; Conservatives/Tories—Confederation of British Industry; interests groups influence party leaders, gov’t members, bureaucrats, and public opinion

Discuss ‘evolutionary politics’ – no written constitution—things have evolved to be the way they are; tradition holds things intact; gradualism— relatively peaceful development; common law tradition…

Explain the supranational pressure (the EU) opposite the sub-national (devolutionaryScottish Parliament/separatism, etc) pressure pulling at the UK

Discuss the British bureaucracy (the civil service/Whitehall—the ‘ministry of magic’ as it were... green and white papers, etc); professional, respected, but...

Explain the austerity calculus that faced David Cameron— debt vs. unemployment…


Question Time and a whole lot more [supra-state(EU) vs. sub-state (devolution, etc)]...

III - Authoritarian Regimes-- Russia and China



'procedural' federalism                         Marxism-Leninism (& econ/religion)

annexation of Crimea (irredentism)            Berezovsky (oligarchs and political limits)

Medvedev's role... PM-to-Pres-to-PM          boyars and pre-Revolutionary Russia

Bolsheviks v Mensheviks ('Reds'; 'Dr. Z')          corruption/contracts-- (and the Sochi Olympics)

multi-nationalism and 'Russification'           collectivization and command economics

civil society (low level of…)                                   nomenklatura

Collective farms, collectivization                                 oligarchs

Confederation of Independent States                         perestoika

conflict in Chechnya (and Putin...)            ...south Ossetia (and the Caucuses Mtns)

Constitution of 1993                               politburo/central planning, policy; 5-yr plans

proportional representation/'07 changes                      Putin, Putinism

CPRF-- communist party                         journalistic intimidation (Politikovskya, etc)           

Russian Orthodox Church                                Decemberist movement   (2011)                      

decrees; 'strong president'                                           “shock therapy”

Democratic centralism                                 Slavophile v Westernizer (zapadniki)

Stalinism v de-Stalinization                          public policy: social welfare/oil revenue

The Duma                                                        state corporatism

“Equality of result”                                            statism in Russia

Federal structure (oblasts, etc.)                          authoritarianism/totalitarianism

Federation Council (role, etc)                                      tsars (czars)

public opinion... &...Putin                          United Russia (& the “Nashi” movement)

appointment of governors                                      “window on the west”

glasnost                                                                  Yobloko

Gorbachev, Mikhail                                                  Yeltsin, Boris

Gorby’s 3-pronged reforms…                                zemstvas vs. kulaks

Zhirinovsky; xenophobic nationalist                       Head of government/head of state 

president and the ukazy                               Kasparov and 'the opposition...'

the procuracy; procurator                                       

Liberal Democrats (not like the UK!)                        the 'Russian Mafia'

Alexei Navalny (blogger/opposition leader)       blat v sistema (corruption/state capture)          

Be Able To

Discuss the authoritarian/autocratic history: coercion basis rather than legitimacy, absolute rule, and centralized state; history— the czar set the standard, Bolsheviks/Stalin followed ‘centralized, totalitarian’ patterns; civilians comfortable with it (Putin knows this… lives it)

Discuss Democratic Reforms/Institutions—Gorbachev …glasnost and perestroika (media openness and economic restructuring), political restructuring; Yeltsin and ‘shock therapy’ (failure of…); 1993 Constitution and semi-presidentialism, the Duma, federalism-- a structure for democracy (procedural); Putin’s tweaks, bends things-- the façade of ‘democracy’ (nothing substantive; authoritarianism winning/wins out...)

Explain how media intimidation and harassment and control of political rivals has stifled democracy in Russia.

Explain who became the elite class in post-Soviet Russia— ex-party bosses become the oligarchs and ex-KGB becomes the FSB, re-consolidate power, etc. (cloaked in edifice; illiberal/managed 'democracy'-- probably can't call it that...)

Explain Marxism/Leninism: proletariat revolution – ‘Workers of the world unite!’; tempered by economic stagnation (see Brezhnev and Soviet economic softness…)-- Discuss economic policy—from ‘shock therapy’-to- the socialist legacy and need for state programs and revenue… (most Russians are egalitarian-minded and believe the free-market, small-state shoe does not fit Russia and view the swift introduction of capitalism as a failure—too much, too soon)…

consider Russia as a lesson in "managed" democracy (can we even call it that?)...  democratization in reverse...


Know -

dissident artists (i.e. - Ai Weiwei)                      re-education camps/'black jails' (police...)

3rd vs 4th generation leadership                           Mao Zedong (and Maoism??)

'autonomous' regions                                  the Central Committee (25); and plenums/meetings

cadres (and mass mobilization)                                    the mass line

Central Military Commission (and the PLA)          the “Middle Kingdom” (zhongguo)

Chiang Kai-shek (Nationalist party)                         Chinese Communist Party (CCP)                  

collectivism "a new socialist countryside”                 the National Party Congress                     

Confucianism                                                          nomenklatura/corporatism

the Cultural Revolution                                       non-governmental organizations/NGOs

danwei                                                            the one-child policy (and impact)

centralization/decentralization                                 “one country, two systems”

democratic centralism                                       3 parallel hierarchies (party, state, PLA)

Deng Xioping theory (cats: B v W)                             patron/client system in China

dual role (party/gov't)                                             People’s Courts; procuratorates

dynastic cycles                                               meritocracy: Organization Dept's pyramid...

egalitarianism                                                          People’s National Congress

competence and legitimacy (outcomes)          fang-shou (let go, tighten up cycle; pol/econ)       

fang-shou                                                   political elites (princelings v merit-based)

'floating population'                                                       “private business”

foreign devils/nationalism                                           rule of law and China

the Four Modernizations                                                   self-reliance

'free market' socialism                                                   socialist market economy

The “Gang of Four”                                                      Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

guanxi                                                                state capitalism, state corporatism

the Great Leap Forward... not.                                          Sun Yat-sen

Han Chinese                                                                    technocrats

township & village enterprises (TEVs)                        Xi Jinping (and 10-yr term limit...)

Household responsibility system (private ag.; $$)        “Two Chinas” (uneven development)

Hu Jintao/Wen Jiabao                                                Hu Yaobang (economic reformer)          

Document 9 (perils of Western ideas)                                    harmonious society...

the 'iron rice bowl'                                                          the Youth League

hukou system (and migration)                      head of gov't (Prmr) v head of state (Pres/GS)

Democracy Wall - 1978                                         Tiananmen Square Massacre (1989)    

“mandate of heaven”                                                            Fulan-Gong

Liu Xiaobo (Charter '08/Nobel Prize)                       Zhao Ziyang ('89's voice of caution/reform)

Be Able To - 

  •       “Third World” or LDC: not part of western capitalism first world, usually poor and last to industrialize, political instability and corruption, China making the transition rapidly from third to first world, or it could be argued part of China is first world while remainder is third…
  •      Unique Authoritarian Political Culture: Confucianism, legacy or tradition of deference to those of higher status/authority and obedience; Mao’s communism fit right into place (central state takes care of citizenry); China’s pleased with functioning capital markets and an authoritarian regime; the “third way” uniquely Chinese system, but is it possible/sustainable?  (will riches bring reform/democratization)
  •        Communist/totalitarian Political Institutions: interlocking state party (CCP) hierarchies; premier: head of government (Wen); Chairman of Standing committee: head of state (Xi); strong, influential... Maoist tendencies??
  •         Communist/totalitarian Political Participation: cadres keep the party “in favor”; 66 million party members (small proportion to population); political numbness and low efficacy
  •      Communist/totalitarian Economic Policies, Reforms: “ middle road”…micro: market economy, macro: state-run (and friction between the two); reforms began in farm countryside worked their way to cities and special economic zones → globalization and WTO
  •        Chinese Social Divisions: Confucian influence; North Mandarin vs. South Cantonese, industrials vs. peasants, urban vs. rural, old vs. young
  • nationalism and regional difference/autonomy
  • protest and dissent (a little bit is advantageous v when does it cross the line?)
  • Confucianism -- how re-enforced and/or challenged by communist revolution, current economic boom, globalization, and trade
  • Leadership avenues... (how does one advance: princeling route v career-ish technocrats via the Communist Youth League, then the CCP's Organization Department (tournament structure)-- meritocratic.

IV - Authoritarianism v Emerging Democracy-- Iran, Mexico, Nigeria

 Know –

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad                                           Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi

Assembly of Religious Experts                                  the 'National Front' (Mosadeq)                                                                                                                                                   Baha’i                                                                         Qom

Constitution of 1979                                                     the Pahlavi Foundation

Constitutional Revolution of 1905-09                            young demographics (% under 30)

Cultural Revolution                                                       back-and-forth birth control…

“economics is for donkeys”                                           People of the Book                  

Equality-with-difference                                                Persian Empire

The Executives of Construction Party                        presidential elections 2005, 2009, '13…

Faqih (leading jurist); Basij (thuggish)                              Akbar Hasemi Rafsanjani

Fundamentalism                                                        reformers v conservatives

The Guardian Council                                                   rentier state

Head of State, head of government                               Resurgence Party

            (Supreme Leader v president)                           Revolution of 1979

'hidden Imam'                                                        revolution of rising expectations

Imams                                                                   the Revolutionary Guard(s)

import substitution industrialization                                Reza Shah

Iranian Militant Clerics Society                                      Safavid Empire

Islamic Participation Front                                             secularization

Islamic Society of Engineers                                          shari’a law

Jurist’s guardianship (velayat-e-faqih)                          Shi’ism/Shi’ite Muslim

Ali Khamenei (current)                                                   statists v free-marketers

Muhammad Khatami (reform-minded)                                  Sunni Muslims

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini                                          the Supreme Leader

Khordad Front                                                             theocracy

Majles                                                                          the Tudeh Party

Majles Election of 2004, 2008, 2012, '16                                the white coup

Muhammad Mosaddeq (CIA coup 1953)                          the White Revolution

Mir-Hossein Mousavi (Reform Movement)                       the Workers’ House

“velvet revolution”                                                     Baha'i-to-Zoroastrianism

‘lipstick jihad’

Be Able To -
  •    Islamic Political Culture: theocracy: rule by priests, velayat-e-faqih; president is only second in power to Faqih, “supreme leader”; jurist legal scholars “steeped” in Islam…Sharia law, Islamism
  •        Democratic political Culture: parties legal constitutionally though currently not allowed; 16 yrs+ can vote in elections; more of a democratic potential than a democracy; secular democrats exist but “lay low” for now; student influence…
  •     Current Politics: moderates, democrats keep their mouths shut (usually the younger crowd), but are reform-minded (Ahmadinejad fairly moderate minded but must work under conservative Khatami); Islamists…conservatives want a purely Islamic republic
  •    Rentier State: all or most of national revenues from natural resource: petroleum; immense inflation, employment low, poverty; statism; OPEC
  •     After 30+ years, how Shah-like has it become?... 
 Know –

Amerindians                                                                 neo-liberalism (economic)

Felipe Calderon                                                            Andres M.L. Obrador

Camarillas                                                                    para-statals

Chamber of Deputies (Senate)                                   patron/client networks/system

Co-optation                                                                  PEMEX

Cuauhtemoc Cardenas                                                 pendulum theory

Lazero Cardenas                                                          plurality (SMD, f-p-t-p) vs. proportional

Caudillos                                                                                  combo electoral system…

Chiapas rebellion                                                          politicos

Corporatism (state and neo)                                          Porfiriato

Cristeros Rebellion                                                       reforms (post-Revolution)

Dependency                                                                 parity measure

Porfirio Diaz                                                                 PAN

Ejidos                                                                           PPP—purchasing power parity

Election reform (election commission, etc)                     PRD

EZLN (and Marcos)                                                     PRI

Father Hidalgo                                                            Santa Ana

Federal Election Commission                                        sexenio

Vincente Fox                                                                technicos

GATT                                                                          Pancho Villa

GDP, per capita (semi-periphery)                                 WTO (IMF & structural adjustment program)

HDI                                                                             Emiliano Zapata

Import substitution industrialization                                Zapatistas/Zapatista movement

Benito Juarez                                                                Ernesto Zedillo

Mestizos                                                                       accommodation

“Mexican Miracle”                                                        1968 pre-Olympic student protests

NAFTA                                                   code law system [independent j = ?... no real j review]

quota law (gender)                                                          

Be Able To -

  • Democratic, secular state: not really democracy (1917 constitution as “perfect dictatorship” because of a democratic mask and PRI electoral monopoly); separation of state and church  → anticlericalism; democratic skepticism; with PAN we may see less separation of church and state
  • Single Party System: PRI…kept in power by clientelism, corporatism,  co-optation, corruption in general; dedazo; faced bilateral opposition…PAN new PRI?
  • Legitimacy: revolutionary: revolution meant to end corruption, the institutionalized revolution should therefore not be corrupt → not necessarily the case in Mexico, nor elsewhere, still romanticism exists; constitutional: people in power because rules, legal processes allow it → not much constitutionalism in Mexico, period
  • Patron-Client: the powerful few provide statue, power, wealth, jobs, lands, etc. in return for loyalty and political support… kept PRI in power… land reforms (ejidos) for peasants, unions for workers, jobs for bureaucrats,…)

a beautiful Constitution ('revolutionary ideals') becomes a one-party dictatorship, the historic 2000 Election (break-downs of law and order), and now what??...

Know –

Sani Abacha                                                     non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

Atiku Abubakar                                                Olusegun Obasanjo

ANPP                                                              Oyo

Ibrahim Babangida                                            para-statals

Biafrian War                                                     patrimonialism

Muhammad Buhari                                           patron/client [chop, chop politics]

Civil society                                                      PDR

Colonial legacy (Things Fall Apart)                              plurality vote

Constitutionalism                                               rents, rent seeking

Corporatism                                                     revenue sharing

Cultural diffusion                                               rule of law

“federal character”                                            Ken Saro-Wiwa

Hausa-Fulani                                                    shari’a

Ife                                                                    ‘single story’ (danger of…)

Igbo                                                                 Sokoto Caliphate

Indirect rule                                                      state corporatism

Informal economy                                             structural adjustment program (IMF)

INEC                                                               Transparency International

Jihad                                                                “true federalism” movement

Kanuri                                                              Umaru Yar’Adua

Kinship-based politics                                       Yoruba

Kleptocracy                                                     Goodluck Jonathan

‘loyalty pyramid’                                               MEND (and ‘Jo-mo’)

Military in barracks                                           judicial assertiveness

National Assembly                                            ‘military in government’

‘the national question’                                       Boko Haram (‘western eductation is sacrilege’)

                                                                         -- Mohammed Yusuf

Be Able To - 

  • Colonial political legacy: authoritarian, law and order; pitted Christian educated Igbo against Islamic North; incompatible tribes/nations→ political, social fragmentation; divided and rule, indirect rule
  • Ethnic/Religious cleaves: cleft country: North (Islam) vs. South (Christian) almost 50/50 split; around 250 ethnic groups
  • Military Rule politics: prebendalism (patron client, low transparency); praetorianism/coups
  • Effects of Economic Dependency: few rich rest poor (absolute poverty, less than $1 a day); grand corruption and kickbacks, petty corruption and sweatbreads; micro and macro mismanagement → inflation; oil, NNPC; structural adjustment policies (debt repayment, low(er) standard of living); OPEC
  • Constitutional Engineering: 1979 ( Obansanjo while still military president); presidential system (Obansanjo first two elected term 1999, 2003), national assembly; tweaks and changes here and there
  • case study: the quest to stabalize dysfunctional government in a most multinational state (i.e. - Boko Haram and 'the troubles' in the Islamic North)

Unit I test: course themes... (sample questions)

1. The concept of state is best defined as:  a) a country with a democratic government and stable institutions  b) a population with common political culture and values  c) a territory with a permanent population, sovereignty, and governing institutions  d) political parties with the power to assert authority and make policy within a country  a) a country that is part of the United Nations

2. Which of the following is the most significant agent of political socialization in democratic countries?  a) media  b) family  c) friends  d) religion  e) school

3. Proportional representation systems tend to:  a) under-represent minority parties  b) promote the development of multiparty systems  c) limit presidential power  d) promote two-party legislatures  e) reduce coalition politics

4. One of the key components of dependency theory is that:  a) dependency can be prevented by allowing for foreign investment and the adoption of free trade zones  b) developing nations have become dependent because of poor military leadership  c) development is best achieved through import substitution industrialization  d) political culture and regional attitudes serve as an impediment to development  e) the legacy of colonialism has prevented developing countries from advancing economically and politically

5. Which of the following is the strongest indicator that a government is legitimate?  a) citizens follow laws because they believe in the government's right to rule  b) citizens agree with the policy choices of the government  c) citizens act out of fear of government reprisal  d) citizens participate in political processes  e) violent protests are allowed without retribution

6. Devolution means:  a) selling off of state-owned industries to the private sector  b) rapid development  c) decentralization of political power in a unitary state  d) creating the constitution  e) state purchase of private industry

7. Which of the following is an accurate description of the comparative method known as 'systems theory?'  a) political scientists gather narrative information to draw conclusions  b) political scientists collect and analyze data  c) political scientists examine inputs, outputs, feedback, and the environment  d) inductive versus deductive reasoning is examined  e) the guiding idea is that regime type is the predominant factor in determining policy outcome

8. Political culture is:  a) a person's set of core beliefs about government policies  b) widely shared political beliefs, attitudes, and values  c) the extent to which people believe they can impact government if they choose to do so  d) a complex social networking system  e) patronage

9. An illiberal democracy is defined as:  a) a system of government that holds elections but restricts civil liberties and rights  b) a country experiencing high levels of economic growth  c) a country that lacks free trade  d) a country with freedom of speech but authoritarian rule  e) a country in Africa with dysfunctional government

10. Rent-seeking is best defined as which of the following?  a) a country that derives most of its economy from the export of a single commodity  b) a citizen in a poor country who looks to the state for assistance  c) a government that makes appeals to the IMF/World Bank for assistance  d) a country that closes its borders to imports  e) efforts of a political leader to extort the resources of citizens 

Unit II test: the United Kingdom (sample questions)

1. The 'British Constitution' is similar to the American Constitution because it:

            A) is a completely written, a formal 'packaged' document

            B) incorporates the principle of judicial review

            C) has a specific date of origin

            D) has flexibility and takes changing values into account (its evolutionary)

            E) has a formal, four-way amendment procedure

2. If the 'British Constitution' contained an analogue to the American Constitution’s Tenth Amendment-- which provides for reserved powers to the states-- Britain would have a:

            A) republican system

            B) confederation

            C) presidential system

            D) unitary system

            E) federal system

3. Which statement most accurately describes why Britain is a monarchy?

            A) the head of state is elected

            B) the head of state is based on hereditary

            C) the head of government is based on hereditary

            D) the head of government is appointed

            E) both the head of government and the head of state are elected

4. The British Constitution’s fusion of powers is characterized by all of the following statements EXCEPT:

     A) the prime minister serves exclusively in the legislative branch as a member of Parliament

     B) if the prime minister loses majority parliamentary support, the prime minister must tender his/her resignation

     C) the legislative and executive branches overlap by virtue of the dual roles played by the prime minister

     D) the prime minister cannot effectively govern if he/she can no longer command majority support in the House of Commons

     E) the prime minister and the Cabinet demonstrate collective responsibility and accountability to the House of Commons

5. The concept of collective responsibility speaks mainly to the relationship between:

            A) the monarch and the prime minister

            B) the Law Lords and the prime minister

            C) the prime minister and the Cabinet

            D) the Lord Chancellor and the monarch

            E) none of the above

6. The tenure of prime minister and Cabinet cannot exceed what period of time before parliamentary elections must be held for the House of Commons?

            A) three years

            B) four years

            C) five years

            D) six years

            E) seven years

7. Incumbent prime ministers generally succeed in having their legislative programs and agendas enacted because of

            A) majority party cohesiveness and discipline

            B) the use of mass media

            C) their personal popularity and charisma

            D) minority party cooperation

            E) appeals by the monarch for parliamentary unity

8. The “Shadow Cabinet” refers to:

            A) the prime minister’s most important advisers

            B) members of the prime minister’s Cabinet who hold less powerful or less

prestigious portfolios

            C) alternate members or stand-ins representing the majority party’s “inner Cabinet”

            D) sub-ministerial positions in the Cabinet

            E) the Honorable Opposition’s alternate Cabinet

9. All of the following statements about the British Parliament are true EXCEPT:

            A) it is bicameral

            B) the House of Lords is the less democratic and weaker of the two

            C) the House of Commons is larger in size than the House of Lords

            D) the House of Lords is basically a consultative and advisory body

            E) members in the House of Commons are elected from single member districts

10. All of the following are organizing principles of the British political system EXCEPT:

            A) parliamentary sovereignty

            B) a unitary state

            C) judicial review

            D) constitutional monarchy

            E) fusion of powers

Unit III test: Russia

1.  Democratic centralism:

A)  inadvertently created factionalism and dissension within the Bolshevik Party/CPSU

B)  opened up the decision-making process to the grassroots level  by increasing the role of primary party organizations.

C)  was a Marxist concept rejected by Lenin.

D)  promoted a more pluralistic decision-making process.

E)  was a vertically-structured hierarchical decision-making process within the Bolshevik Party/CPSU


2.  All of the following are part of what political scientists refer to as 'civil society' EXCEPT:

a) parents

b) schools

c) churches

d) the state

e) the press


3.  The Russian political party system that emerged in the 1990s could best be described as a

a) one-party system that resembled the previous communist regime

b) two-party system

c) three-party system

d) a fragmented multiparty system representing a wide range of ideological viewpoints

e) multiparty system dominated by two large regional parties


4.  When Gorbachev spoke at CSU in the spring of 2005, he:

A)    expressed favor with President Bush’s foreign policy choices

B)    questioned the science behind the theory of global warming

C)    explained that President Putin was correct in emphasizing stability ahead of democracy

D)    called Chechnya a non-issue

E)     explained the he, not Ronald Reagan, deserved credit for a fall of the Berlin Wall


5.  When Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the CPSU in 1985, he attempted to reform the Soviet system through all of the following EXCEPT:

A)  increasing the role of the KGB and military

B)  supporting a more tolerant policy towards intellectual inquiry and dissent

C)  encouraging an economic restructuring

D)  calling for democratic reforms and more popular participation

E)   revamping the relationship between the CPSU and the government


6.  Which of the following policies was, arguably, the governmental priority for Russian reformers in the early 1990s?

a) attracting skilled workers through immigration

b) the transition toward a market economy

c) controlling environmental damage by farmers

d) creating autonomous regional governments so that federalism could be unwound

e) eliminating excessive regulation of new banks and joint-stock ventures


7.  The election of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and many of his followers to the Russian Duma (parliament) in 1993 was significant because it signaled:

a) a desire among the majority of Russian citizens to re-establish the tsarist state

b) citizens’ disappointment with the results of reform programs and with the decline in Russia’s international stature

c) a popular perception that rapid implementation of political reforms could deter corruption

d) a readiness to elect representatives of old, hard-line communist factions

e) a commitment to elect representatives who would support the programs of the president


8.  All of the following issues were/are points conflict between Russia and Ukraine EXCEPT:

A)    claims over Crimea, the port of Sevastapol, and control of the Black Sea Fleet

B)    claims over the port of Vladivostok

C)    political interference (i.e. - the mysterious poisoning of Victor Yushchenko)

D)    control and ownership of strategic nuclear weapons

E)     natural gas exports and prices (extortion, etc)


9.  Which of the following were/are inhibitors to Russian democracy?

I.                   weak civil Society

II.                 control of the media/press

III.                elections

IV.                 proportional representation

A) I and II

B) I, II, and III

C) II only

D) II and IV

E) I and IV


10.  The political calculus involving Chechnya centers around?

A)  oil

B)  drawing a line - - (if Chechnya, how many others?)

C)  terrorist violence (i.e. – the theater siege or the school tragedy in Beslan)

D)  a religious cleave

E)  all of the above

Unit IV test: China (sample questions)

1. According to the Chinese constitution, formal power of governing rests with the   

            a) secretariat

            b) presidency

            c) Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party

            d) People’s Liberation Army

            e) National People’s Congress

2. What country defeated China in the Opium Wars of 1839 to 1842?

            a) Portugal

            b) France

            c) The United States

            d) Japan

            e) Britain

3. The Confucian system emphasized that good government starts with

            a) thinking good thoughts in utter sincerity; sound relationships

            b) a strong military

            c) democratic concessions

            d) a long process of spiritual enlightenment

            e) a rejection of the family

4. Mao believed that the real revolutionary potential in China was among the

            a) lower ranks of the military

            b) western-educated students

            c) industrial poor

            d) peasants

            e) urban poor

5. Along with the state and the Party, the third key institution in Chinese politics is

            a) the army

            b) the commercial class

            c) the cadres

            d) the village leaders

            e) the "cultural elite"

6. The PRC's (and CCP's) earliest effort to establish a model of development reflected

            a) a flexible and pragmatic approach

            b) the incorporation of capitalist incentives for industry

            c) an emphasis on the Soviet model of centralized planning

            d) priority given to the agricultural sector

            e) a rejection of a collectivized form of agriculture

7. The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) represented

            a) an artistic and literary renaissance

            b) a push for greater transparency and accountability within the CCP

            c) a repudiation of the mass line

            d) an effort to encourage greater intellectual freedom

            e) an ugly effort to purge the CCP and government of revisionists and reactionaries ('capitalist road-ers'), and tap the energy/idealism of the young

8. Which Chinese leader started China on its present course by splitting economics from politics?

            a) Zhou Enlai

            b) Ai Weiwei

            c) Hu Yaobang

            d) Jiang Zemin

            e) Deng Xiaoping       

9. The first step in the economic liberalization of China was the:

            a) opening up of the small business sector to individuals

            b) introducing private incentives (keep that produced above quota) to agriculture-- TVEs

            c) establishment of Special Economic Zones

            d) reform of the Chinese banking system

            e) reform of China's currency market

10. The PRC's inner-most legislative body that selects the heads of government (General Secretary/ and ) and the Cabinet is called:

            a) the State Council

            b) the Central Committee (371 members)

            c) the Politburo Standing Committee

            d) the People's National Assembly

            e) the National People's Congress (over 8,000 members)

11. China's current economic and political systems can best be described as

                        economic                                political

            a) increasingly capitalistic                   authoritarian

            b) laissez-faire                                     federal

            c) centralized market                           parliamentary

            d) socialist                                           semi-presidential

            e) neo-liberal                                       democratic

12. In Chinese politics, the "mass line" referred to/refers to the principle that:

            a) correct party leadership/"thinking" requires constant contact between the party/the public

            b) the party must be subservient to the legally elected government

            c) all citizens must serve in the military after their eighteenth birthday

            d) party leaders are selected through periodic direct election by the general public

            e) the public must submit to the will of the party elite in times of national emergency

Unit V test: Iran (sample questions)

1.      Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran:

a)      was ruled by regional warlords

b)      welcomed the influence/support of Western powers

c)      had a government that enjoyed widespread popular support

d)      had a well-developed Communist party

e)      had a near-balance between Sunni and Shi’a muslims


2.      In 1953:

a)      Ruhollah Khomeini was exiled to Paris

b)      a CIA backed coup helped re-instate a ruling Shah

c)      the Iranian military beat back a Marxist revolution

d)      oil was discovered in the northeast region of Khorasan

e)      fought a war with the Soviets over control of the Caspian Sea


3.      Iran’s Islamic population is somewhat unique in that:

a)      society evolved in distinct stages of historical development

b)      there was little socioeconomic disparity during the Shah’s rule

c)      no one really partakes in the Hajj

d)      it's almost 90% Shi’a

e)      it’s a largely secular society


4.      Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini main objections to the Shah’s rule in Iran were:

a)      nn out growth of political fragmentation and warlodism

b)      to his “Westernization” process within Iran and the “puppet” status of the government

c)      a lack of economic diversification and the lack of naval power

d)      its close ties with Iraq and its relationship with the godless Soviets

e)      its lack of compassion for the poor and its limitations on the Farsi language


5.      What was the function of SAVAK in pre-revolutionary Iran:

a)      intelligence gathering and suppression of political opposition

b)      enhance education and literacy, especially in rural areas

c)      oil exploration

d)      military readiness, especially along the Iraqi border

e)      carry out the bureaucratic aspects of government


6.      Which of the following events is considered the “tipping point,” after which Shah Pahlavi’s reign could be measured in months:

a)      the Shah’s public acknowledgement of cancer

b)      publication of a scathing tell-all op-ed piece by an ex-SAVAK member

c)      the taking of 54 U.S. hostages by Iranian students

d)      the outbreak of war with Iraq

e)      Black Friday (9/8/78)


7.  In the decade immediately following the 1979 revolution

                                             I.      Ayatollah Khomeini died

                                            II.      opposition was restricted in the 1984, second Majles elections

                                           III.      the country found itself at war with Iraq

                                            IV.      friendly relations were established with Washington (Iran/Contra)

a)      I and III

b)      I, II, and IV

c)      I, II, and III

d)      II and III

e)      I, III, and IV


8.  Which of the following best describes the political system in Iran

a)      a theocracy modeled after Roman Catholicism's hierarchy

b)      a theocracy (with 'illiberal,' outward concessions to democracy)

c)      a near democracy

d)      a theocratic monarchy

e)      a military dictatorship


9.  Who was elected to the presidency in 1997 and considered something of a reformer?

a)      Ali Rafsanjani

b)      Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

c)      Mehdi Bazargan

d)      Mohammed Khatami

e)      Mohammed Khameini


10.  The major function of the Guardian Council in Iran is to

a)      make sure all laws are keeping with Islam and screen candidates for political office

b)      open up the political process

c)      communicate politics and religion to the masses

d)      develop a nuclear bomb

e)      provide a ruling in all capital cases


11.  The revolutionary movement was aided by the development of the pasadaran, or

a)      Clerical class

b)      Revolutionary Guards

c)      Imams

d)      Underground newspapers

e)      “student radicals”


18.  Sits at the top of the decision-making hierarchy in Iran:

a)      the Prime Minister

b)     the President

c)      the Imam Ali

d)      the Supreme Leader or 'Ayatollah' 

e)      the Shah

Unit VI test: Mexico (sample questions)

  1. The “rule of impunity” refers to:Protection of former Presidents from criminal investigation:  a) the requirement that all legislators genuflect to the President  b) media control  c) the illegality of criminal prosecution of a sitting President  d) illicit drug trafficking e) immunity for wealthy landoweners
2. The date which marks the start of the Mexican Revolution is:  a) 1789  b) 1810  c) 1857 d) 1968  e) 19103.  The branch of government with most decision making power in Mexico is:  a) the executive  b) the military  c) the judicial  d) the legislative  e) the bureaucracy

3.  A political camarilla is a:  a) group of friends of the President  b) a set of business relationships  c) the Cabinet  d) a political clique  e) Focus group 

4.  Historically Mexico’s political system under the PRI was best characterized by:  a) a lack of ideology  b) inclusion and record-levels of political participation  c) extremes in ideology (radical, then reactionary)  d) single party dominance and corporatism  e) exclusion and total repression

5. Most political elites in Mexico today come from the ranks of:  a) union leaders  b) the Middle class c) business  d) neo-Marxists  e) traditional land-holding families dating back to the colonial era

6. The President holds office for:  a) as long as she / he is reelected  b) seven years  c) a four-year term with one possibility of re-election, just like the United States  d) as long as she / he is capable  e) six years

7. The neo-liberal economic model is based on:  a) Milton Freedman/Frederick Heyek (the Austrian School)  b) the experiences of North Korea and Taiwan  c) Marxism  d) socialism  e) John Maynard Keynes

8.  Ejidatorios are:  a) Urban workers  b) landless peasants  c) small businessmen  d) student radicals  e) small landowners

9. The patron favor in exchange for loyalty/compliance is:  a) the rentier state  b) clientelism  c) capitalism  d) technocratism  e) bureaucratic waste

10. The lower house of Mexico's legislative branch is called the:  a) Azteca Council  b) Parliament  c) General Assembly  d) Chamber of Deputies  e) House of Representative

11. The man elected president in 2000 was:  a) Ernesto Zedillo  b) Francisco I. Madero  c) Felipe Calderon  d) Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador  e) Vicente Fox

12. The results of the Mexican Revolution included all of the following EXCEPT:  a) land reform  b) anti-clericalism  c) Porfirio Diaz’ iron-fist  d) limitations on foreign investment  e) a new Constitution

Unit VII test: Nigeria (sample questions)

  1. The official language of Nigeria is:  a) English  b) Swahili  c) French  d) Hausa-Fulani  e) there is no official language
  1. The judiciary of Nigeria is:  a) without the power of judicial review  b) under the control of the Assembly  c) completely corrupt  d) not fully independent  e) surprisingly independent
  1. Where the south is generally a mixture of indigenous religions and Christianity, the north is primarily:  a) Catholic  b) Islamic  c) Atheistic  d) Animist  e) Baha'i
4. Between 1805 and 1960, the colonial rulers of Nigeria were:  a) German  b) the British  c) the Dutch  d) the Portuguese  e) the French

 5. The 'dependecy ratio is:  a) rent-seeking  b) the proportion of individuals on government welfare to those not on government welfare  c) the degree to which the country is dependent on foreign aid  d) the proportion of the non-working population to the working population  e) designed to indicate dependency on foreign imports vs. exports

6.  Multiple ethnic identities have had:  a) increasingly less influence in Nigerian politics  b) little impact because all tribal groups are basically the same  c) a fragmenting effect on political structure, cohesiveness  d) unifying effect given the need to compromise  e) no effect whatsoever

7. Nigerian federalism is supported, in large part, by:  a) control over petroleum revenues  b) federal military and police units  c) adherence to constitutional principles  d) the tribal-consensus techniques of the various ethnic groups  e) prebendalism

8. The organizational base of most political parties is:  a) ethnic and regional  b) religious sub-factions c) issue-oriented  d) the family and/or community  e) labor unions

9. How many states make up the modern Nigerian state?  a) 3  b) 12  c) 15  d) 36  e) 77

10. Which of the following is NOT an ethnic group native to Nigeria?  a) Yoruba  b) Hausa-Fulani  c) Igbo  d) Zulu  e) Ibibio

11. Which of the following is NOT a part of Nigerian history?  a) seven military coups  b) four republics  c) government corruption  d) stability and an 'economic miracle'  e) Biafra secession (civil war)

12. The political elite in Nigeria are most likely to come from:  a) the church  b) tribes (tribal chieftans)  c) the military  d) the more educated north  e) holdover bureaucrats from the British colonial era

The One-Pager (an optional assignment per country)

Add text, images, and other content in a way that speaks to/summaries the various Comparative themes as expressed in the given country...

Iran - thematic memes

Iran: The Thematic Meme Assignment (30 points)

The task:  Working alone or with a partner, you are to create 20 memes exploring the 12 Comparative Government themes as they ‘exist, play out’ in Iran.  You need one or two memes per ‘thematic topic’— the topics are listed below:

Government Structure and Institutions

History and Political Culture

Legitimacy (authority/sovereignty)

Political Parties (civil society)

Leadership Groups/elites

Political Parties

Linkage (interest groups/the media)


Voting and Elections

Revolution and Democratization


Political Divisions


10 points (2/3 point for each completed meme)

10 points for thematic accuracy and how it leads to understanding…

10 points for creativity and overall effort and feel (humor, etc)


Enjoy this.

Question Time...

“Question Time”

(step up to the box and play Parliament)

          Your task for next week is to settle on a Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.  The rest of you will serve as MPs and represent the Conservatives (the Tories), the Labour Party, the Liberal Dems; we’ll also have a Scottish Nationalist or the like... 

The Question Docket:

1)      economic investment programs (spearheading industry w/ loans, infrastructural investment, etc..)

2)      job training and daycare

3)      commitment and length of troop deployment in Iraq/Afghanistan, elsewhere

4)      devolutionary efforts (Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland)—i.e.: programs, etc..

5)      the EU— membership itself??  or, questions concerning the Eurozone, a security force, etc.

6)      racial/ethnic, immigration issues

7)      Schools: “selection” issues; improved teacher training/removal procedures, etc.

8)      Electoral reform: “fairness” of system; (i.e. – share of vote v. share of seats, etc.)

9)      Tax policy

10)  Austerity measures: budgetary discipline and debt…

11)  Privatization (prisons, etc..)

12)  Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland and post-Good Friday Agreement status quo

13)  The Crown?? (role of the royals, tax exempt status, etc..)

14)  The fox hunt

15)  Local/countryside issues (i.e. – the height of hedgerows along rural roadways, etc.)

16)  Government pensions (free cable, bus faire, etc. J) and/or health care—the NHS

17)  Quangos (their advisory and dispensatory role w/in bureaucracy)

18)  Local code-type concerns (i.e. – the height and size of toilets in public places)

19)  Reform within “Whitehall” (transparency, accountability)—its size?

20)  Globalization and/or debt relief; British humanitarianism…

21)  the response to “political strikes” and labor relations in general

22)  crime and anti-social behavior; ‘slackers’

23)  political participation and the role and well-being of women in society

24)  benefit fraud; again, slackers…

25)  neo-Keynesian v “classical” school economics (and regulation)

26)  judicial appointment and/or judicial review (its absence and the “early, experimental” seeds that have been planted…)

27)  socio-economics and the politics of class

28)  “battery” hens and “broiler” chickens (concentrated animal farm operations…)

29)  the BBC—questions of funding, bias; or model influence/control (i.e. – Murdoch)

30)  EU “common” policy provisions (i.e. – agriculture, fishing, etc..), Human Rights Court

You will have 30 minutes, just like C-SPAN’s coverage.  The quality of your research, questions, and preparation will directly correspond to your level of understanding of the political system in the UK.  You must offer a representative mix of questions (in other words, divvy-up the topics).  Work hard and have fun!!                                                                                                                

Minimum:  3 “topical” questions, you can add another question or two (but make sure it’s something that will be understood).

Rubric (50 points) 

15 = quality and development of questions

15 points = responses—their quality and flair

10 points = ACCURACY, degree of representativeness

10 points = follow-up response 

P.S. - If you are addressing your question at a Prime Minister of your own party, it should be a “soft-ball,” something that allows the Prime Minister to take credit and find celebration in an accomplishment or “welcome vision.”  If you are a member of the “loyal opposition,” take the Prime Minister to task, hold his or her feet to the fire.  You want to barb, razz, and question— have fun with it!!

P.P.S. – Add some colorful British phraseology/slang to enhance the wording of your question (and, of course, throw in “the right honorable gentleman/woman,” etc.).                                                                                                                                                         Enjoy. 

** good

or, just google: political policy issues in the UK, and you’ll get the link.



'24': a review effort using the 1999 released exam... 

     Using the '99 released exam, pick your favorite 12 'thematic questions' and highlight them.  Next, for the UK pick your favorite two questions and make any necessary, tweaks, updates.  Do the same for Russia and China.  See if you can find two each for Nigeria and Mexico-- since the old format had a Nigeria, Mexico, or India format, it may be worded more generic around a 'developing country.'  In any case, pick two questions and update/alter so they speak to/work for Nigeria and Mexico.  Lastly, change/alter two questions/topics so they speak to political reality in Iran.  When you are finished you will have used 24 of the 60 questions on the released exam.  Enjoy!

Review Nights (Mondays, 8:30/45-9:30)

Three Mondays in March (the 7th, 14th, and 21st), three Mondays in April (the 11th, 18th, and 25th)

Crystal Ball...

parity/gender (w/ table)

Scottish referendum, Crimean annexation/referendum (ethnic/regional)

development and democracy; Gini coefficient (Nigerian entrepreneurial growth v rentier trap)

leadership paths in China (princelings v merit model)

hukou system  

Supranationalism v devolution (the EU-- Brexit? v NIA, SP, WP, LC)

2006 and 2012 Elections in Mexico... and policy

political ideology Reform v Conservative in Iran 



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