• Walwik

     

    AP Comparative Government and Politics

    Course Overview

    This course introduces students to comparative methods and theories used to analyze six

    distinctive states. The course begins with a unit of study which focuses on rudimentary concepts which hel0 define the learning. These concepts are methodology, sovereignty, authority and power, political and economic change, citizens society, state political institutions and public policy. These concepts will be reinforced as we look at the political and governmental systems.  The political structures of the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Iran,

    Nigeria, and Mexico are unique yet comparable in the context of developing legitimate

    governments in an era of globalization.   These countries also have historical

    similarities and differences related to the development of authority, sovereignty and

    power.    Throughout this course, students will learn the basic political organization of

    these countries and use comparative theories to evaluate each country’s place in the

    global arena.  An exam will be given at the conclusion of each unit and will model the

    Advanced Placement exam format. 

     

    Textbooks

    Almond, Gabriel.  Comparative Politics Today:  A World View.  New York:  Pearson 

    Longman, 2004.

    Wood, Ethel. AP Comparative Government and Politics: An essential Coursebook and Study Guide. WoodYard Publications, 5th edition, 2011

     

    Supplemental Reading

    Roskin, Michael.  Countries and Concepts:  An Introduction to Comparative Politics.  

    Upper Saddle River, New Jersey:  Prentice Hall, 1998.

    Smith, Dan.  State of the World Atlas.  7th ed.  New York:  Penguin Books, 2003. 

    AP Comparative Government and Politics: A Study Guide, 4th edition

     

    Course Outline

     

    Unit One:  Introduction to Comparative Government  (3 Weeks)

    Topics (Key themes of study within the unit):

    1. Purpose of Comparison 

    • Analyze the differences that occur at the state level

    • Assess causes for the differences

    • Discuss the rationale of a comparative method  

    2. Methods of Comparison 

    • Historical impact on political systems, political and economic change

    • Establishment of the statehood and independence

    movements

    • Democratic versus authoritarian regimes  

    • Political development:  identity, penetration, legitimacy,

    participation and distribution

    • Economic systems, political systems, political structure,

    political parties, participation, socialization, and political

    issues   

    3. Theories of Comparison 

    • Philosophical ideas about state and nature:  Hobbes,

    Rousseau, and Locke

    • Contemporary ideas:  Postmaterial values, Modernization,

    Fundamentalism, Democratization, Ethnicity,

    Marketization

    • Developed versus developing states

    4. Students will be able to define and apply concepts of sovereignty, authority and power

    5. Students will recognize and identify in each of the six states

    ·         Civil society and concepts of citizenship

    ·         Describe and evaluate political institutions of six states through comparative lens

    ·         Student will keep active journal of public policy occurring in each state we study

     

    Terminology (Important Terms and Concepts):

     

    Unitary government Nation­State Authoritarian

    Confederal government Capitalism

    Democracy

    Federal government Socialism Theocracy State

    Communism Nation

    Centrifugal Centripetal Oligarchy

    Gross National Product Purchasing Power Parity

     

    Resources: 

     Almond et al.  Part 1 and Part 2, “Introduction” and “System,

    Process and Policy”

     Roskin, Chapter 1, “What to Look for”

     Smith, Dan.  State of the World Atlas

     

      Sample Activity: 

     

    Using State of the World Atlas, students will compare the six countries

    of study and write an analytical essay as a international policy maker

    for one of the countries. 

     

    Assessment:

    The unit will conclude with a test including 50 multiple­choice

    questions and two free response questions

     

     

     

    Unit Two:  United Kingdom:  A Model of Representative Democracy

    (2 Weeks)

     

    Topics (Key themes of study within the unit):

    • History of democracy in the United Kingdom…identifying differences between state (UK) and nations, (Welsh, Scotland, Ireland) as well as immigration communities from the commonwealt

    • Evolutionary establishment of code of law

    • Emergence of the Welfare State• Political foundations for study:  demographics, political

    geography, stage of development, economic system

    • History of political leadership 

    • Major political parties, interest groups, and factions

    • Political socialization and participation of the population

    • Political Structure:  Executive, Legislative and Judicial structures  

    • Parliamentary versus Presidential System

    • Current political issues (ex. Participation in the European Union

    versus Political and Economic Sovereignty) and public policy

     

    Terminology (Important Terms and Concepts):

    Parliamentary System House of Lords   European Union 

    Head of Government Labour Party  Multiparty System

    Head of State Conservatives

    House of Commons    Liberal Democrats

     

    Resources:

     Almond et al. Chapter 8, “Politics in England”

     “Britannia Redux:  A Special Report on Britain”  The Economist

    02/03/07

     “From Baghdad to Birmingham” The Economist 02/03/07

     “Virtual Democracy” The Economist 02/03/07

     “Now it’s a Cover­up” The Economist 02/03/07

     “The Big Smoke” The Economist 02/03/07

     “A Rough Patch for the Special Relationship” The Economist

    02/03/07

     

    Sample Activity:

    • Watch  and critique current C­SPAN broadcast of Prime Minister’s

    Questions

    • Watch and analyze clip on “The Day in the Life of Prime Minister”

     

    Assessment:

    The unit will conclude with a test including 50 multiple­choice

    questions and two free response questions

     

     

     

    Unit Three:  Russia:  A Country in Transition (2 Weeks)

     

    Topics (Key themes of study within the unit):

     Bolshevik Revolution and Development of a Communist system

    History of states and multinational states conflicts and political change of the USSR to Russia transformation in 1990

    • Authoritarian leadership of USSR from Lenin to Gorbachev

     Political foundations for study:  demographics, political

    geography, stage of development, economic system

     Old Soviet system versus the New Presidential System

    (established by the Yeltsin led Constitution in 1993)

     History of political leadership

     Major political parties, interest groups, and factions

     Political socialization and participation of the population

     Political Structure:  Executive, Legislative and Judicial structures  

     Current Political Issues:  (ex.  Independence movements in

    Chechnya)

     

    Terminology (Important Terms and Concepts):

    Bolsheviks White House Perestroika Devolution

    Duma Glasnost Procuracy   Karl Marx

    Federal Council Nomenklature Gosplan Kulaks

    Shock Therapy  Constitutional Court

    Committee for State Security (KGB)

    Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU)

     

    Resources:

     Almond et al. Chapter 12, “Politics in Russia”

     “Russian Foreign Policy Hints at a New Cold War,” National Public

    Radio 03/07/07

     “Not a Cold War, But a Cold Tiff”  The Economist 03/17/07

     Russia and the Other Former Soviet Republics in Transition”  The

    Southern Center for International Studies (Video Series)

     “Northwest Contrast”  The Power of Place – Annenberg (Video Clip)

    Sample Activity:

    Students will read articles about the independence movement and war

    which has led to conflict between Russia and Chechnya. Students will then

    be assigned a position and debate the position for each group

     

    Assessment:

    The unit will conclude with a test including 50 multiple­choice questions

     and two free response questions  

     

     

     

     

     

    Unit Four:  China:  A Economic Powerhouse under the Communist 

    Party (2 Weeks)

     

    Topics (Key themes of study within the unit):

     History of Dynasties to the reign of Communism/state and nation state issues with Tibet and Xinjing provinces

     Communist revolution in China

     Political foundations for study:  demographics, political

    geography, stage of development, economic system

     History of political leadership:  Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping 

     The Communist Party power in the government, interest groups,

    and factions

     Political socialization and participation of the population

     Political Structure:  Executive, Legislative and Judicial structures, 

    Modeled on the Communist Party Structure   

     Current Political and Economic Issues (ex:  Strong economic

    development as country shifts from command to free market

    economic system) 

     

    Terminology: (Important Terms and Concepts):

    Cultural Revolution communism

    participants  Great Leap Forward  Communist

    hierarchy subjects   

    “Lean to One Side” Guardianship  parochial

    Tiananmen Square Mass Line

     

     Resources:

    • Almond et al. Chapter 13, “Politics in China”

     “Caught Between Right and Left:  Town and Country”  The

    Economist 03/10/07

     “China Clings to a Revolutionary Relic Thought Control”  CNN

     “A Challenge for Two Old Cities”  ­The Power of Place –

    Annenberg (Video Clip)

     “China in the Red”  Frontline – PBS

     

    Sample Activity:

    Students will assess a political cartoon which references the U.S. and

          China.  From this cartoon, they will identify the current political and

          economic relationships that exist between these two countries.  

     

     Assessment:

    The unit will conclude with a test including 50 multiple­choice questions

    and free response questions

     

     

    Unit Five:  Iran: The Theocracy 

    (2 Weeks)

     

    Topics (Key themes of study within the unit):

    • History of Geographic and Cultural Conquest/and state and nation-state issues of Kurdish, Iranian and religious communities

    • Political History:  From Pahlavi Dynasty to Iranian Revolution 

    • Political foundations for study:  demographics, political

    geography, stage of development, economic system

    • Political leadership  

    • Major political parties, interest groups, and factions

    • Political socialization and participation of the population

    • Political Structure:  Executive, Legislative and Judicial structures  

    • Mixed Theocracy and Democracy (limited power of elected

       leaders and essential power in the religious authorities)

    • Current political issues

     

    Terminology: (Important Terms and Concepts):

    Theocracy  Clerics Conservatives

    Authoritarian Rule Sharia Majlis

    Reformists Supreme Leader Guardian Council

    Assembly of Experts Expediency Council Revolutionary Guard

    Resources: 

     Roskin. Chapter 30, “Iran: The Impact of the Past”

     “Next stop Iran?”  The Economist 03/10/07

     “Dealing with Iran” Great Decisions

     “America Held Hostage:  The Iran Crisis” ABC News Great TV

    News Stories

    www.http://www.bbc.com

     

     Sample Activity

    Students will draw a flow chart of the political structure of the elected

    and 

                un­elected political positions in Iran.  (Refer to BBC resource) 

     

    Assessment:

    The unit will conclude with a test including 50 multiple­choice questions

    and free response questions

     

    Unit Six:  Nigeria:  A Struggling Democracy (2 Weeks)

     

    Topics (Key themes of study within the unit):

    • Pre­colonial, colonial and post­colonial political history and

    Culture and statehood in 1960 with divisive nation-state issue emerging in Biafran Civil War and conflicts recently in Nigerian states

    • Evolution from the military rule of Babginda and Abacha to

    democratically elected Obasanjo 

    • Establishing a modern democracy  

    • Political foundations for study:  demographics, political

    geography, stage of development, economic system

    • Political leadership 

    • Major political parties, interest groups, and factions

    • Political socialization and participation of the population

    • Political Structure:  Executive, Legislative and Judicial structures  

    • Current political issues (ex.  2007 democratic elections.  Will the

    country maintain a smooth transition from one democratically

    elected leader to another?)

     

    Terminology (Important Terms and Concepts):

    Berlin Conference Periphery Countries HausaFulani

     

    Superimposed Boundaries Semi­periphery Countries Igbo 

    Dependency Theory  Sharia Yoruba

    Core Countries Indirect rule

    Illiberal democracy 

     

    Resources

     Almond et al. Chapter 18, “Politics in Nigeria”

     “Obasanjo’s Legacy to Nigeria” BBC

     “Oil Money Divides Nigeria” NPR Series

     

    Sample Activity 

                Students watch a video clip on the environmental destruction of

    southeast

                  Nigeria due to oil refinery practices of multinational oil companies.  

                Students will also listen to a National Public Radio series on Nigerian oil.

                To conclude students will write a position paper on the responsibility of

                 the Nigerian government and multinational corporations to Nigerian 

                 ethnic groups in these communities. 

     

    Assessment:

    The unit will conclude with a test including 50 multiple­choice questionsand two free response questions

     

    Unit Seven:  Mexico:  A Country of Emerging Political Parties   

    (2 Weeks)

     

    Topics (Key themes of study within the unit):

    • Political power of a one­party democracy 

    • Political foundations for study:  demographics, political

    geography, stage of development, economic system

    • Political leadership 

    • Major political parties, interest groups, and factions

    • Political socialization and participation of the population

    • Political Structure:  Executive, Legislative and Judicial structures  

    • Current political issues ( 2006 Election of Calderon and shift in

    power of the PRI to the PAN)  

     

    Terminology (Important Terms and Concepts):

    Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Corporatism

    National Action Party (PAN) Divided government

    Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD Political Centralism

    neoliberal economic development

     

    Resources:

     Almond et al. Chapter 14, “Politics in Mexico”

     “Mexico:  Neighbor in Turmoil” Great Decisions

     Politics in Mexico” An Online Newshour Special Report

     

    Sample Activity:

    Students will create a media presentation where they compare and contrast

                the development of political parties in the six countries we have covered

     in this course.

     

    Assessment :

    The unit will conclude with a test including 50 multiple­choice questions

    and free response questions

     

     

    Note: All free response question will constructed to evaluate students analytical writing skills

Last Modified on January 9, 2015