POL S 346 A: Governments of Western Europe

Meeting Time: 
TTh 9:30am - 11:20am
Location: 
* *
SLN: 
20610
Joint Sections: 
JSIS A 302 A
Instructor:
Prof. Niko Switek
Niko Switek

Syllabus Description:

Flags on Map of Europe

POLS 346 & JSIS 302: GOVERNMENTS IN WESTERN EUROPE

Instructor

Niko Switek

Mail: switek@uw.edu

Phone: 206 616 9232

Office: Gowen Hall 45

Course Description:

While US American politics are in large part shaped by two parties and an influential role of the president, most of the West European states are organized as parliamentary systems and as a consequence of their different electoral systems mostly exhibit multi-party system. This class examines the specific design and layout of Western European governments. The first part of the class looks comparatively at central dimensions like institutional setting, party system characteristics and logics of government formation as alliances of two or more parties. We inspect the organization of states as federal entities as well as their characteristics as welfare states. On a more contemporary note, we trace the more recent advent of populist contenders, that entered the political sphere and party systems in many European states.

The second part of the class consists of case studies of the most recent elections (campaigns and salient policy issues, results, government formation) in the UK, France, Germany and Italy as a sample.

In the third and final segment, we investigate the role of the European Union, which as a mix of an international organization and state-like institution softens the borders between its member states and creates a new arena for political competition in a multi-level setting.

Online-seminar:

The ongoing Corona virus pandemic affects us all. It forces us to conduct this seminar, originally designed as an in-person-class, as a purely online-learning space. In addition, you might find yourself personally in difficult and worrisome situations, which make it harder to study and concentrate. As an instructor, I plan to be flexible, patient, and compassionate with you. The main goal is to allow for a positive learning experience despite the uncertainties surrounding this quarter.

I set up the class with primarily asynchronous elements (e.g. recorded lectures, reading assignments, online quizzes, written or recorded student responses), which allow you to digest information and work on assignments according to your own time schedule. However, we also will meet in one synchronous Zoom-meeting for each week. I will structure them by prompts and questions, so you know how to prepare, and work with breakout sessions, so they become more interactive and less passive. If you feel comfortable and your internet connection is stable enough, I would suggest you share your video, as this gives me a stronger impression of talking to human beings and not simply a screen. However, depending on your personal circumstances you are free to participate in the synchronous sessions in a way most comfortable for you. The Zoom sessions are recorded and uploaded to Canvas, in case you cannot attend (the recordings will be deleted after the final exam).

There is a discussion board open for more general questions, regarding broader topics or related to assignments and the organization of the class.

This format is new to all of us, so I appreciate comments and feedback (through the discussion board or through e-mail). I am willing to change elements as we go along, if this helps us to create a better learning environment.

Privacy/FERPA Statement:

Parts of this course are scheduled to run synchronously at your scheduled class time via Zoom. These Zoom class sessions will be recorded. The recording will capture the presenter’s audio, video and computer screen. Student audio and video will be recorded if they share their computer audio and video during the recorded session. The recordings will only be accessible to students enrolled in the course to review materials. These recordings will not be shared with or accessible to the public. You are only allowed to use the recordings for the class itself and may not make or distribute copies.

The University of Washington and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UW Zoom accounts. Students who do not wish to be recorded should:

  • Change their Zoom screen name to hide any personal identifying information such as their name or UW Net ID, and
  • Not share their computer audio or video during their Zoom sessions.

Office Hours:

My office hours are Tuesday 1-2 pm. If you have questions concerning our class, you can schedule an online office hour appointment with me. Please e-mail me and let me know what your question is about. This can also be following our weekly Zoom session or some other time during the week. Zoom-Link: https://washington.zoom.us/j/94467529650

TA office Hours: Nicholas Wittstock (nwitts@uw.edu) office hours are Monday 8-10 am. Please schedule an appointment with him and

Required Readings:

All required readings are available on the course’s canvas website, either as PDFs or as links to texts, which are open access or licensed by the UW library (computer on UW campus or vpn-connection required).

You do not need to buy a textbook. The class in part draws on chapters of a textbook: D. Caramani. 2020. Comparative Politics. 5th edition. Oxford, Oxford University Press. A perspective of comparative politics is not exclusive to Western Europe, but it helps to structure and categorize our examination of states in Europe. If you are interested in purchasing a textbook on this subject matter, I would recommend this one, and it also speaks to many other topics in political science and international studies.

Our discussions will be more interesting if we are all up-to-date on current events in Europe and the EU. In addition to the coverage in international and national newspapers, you might find the (free) daily Brussels Playbook newsletter offered by www.politico.eu interesting to read.

Assignments and Grading:

There are three categories of assignments for this class: Reading-/lecture-quizzes, responses, and a written (online) final exam. They differ in how many points are assigned and contribute to the final grade with different weights.

  • Reading-Lecture-Quizzes (20 % of final grade): For the recorded lectures and readings for each week there is always one short quiz. They consist of five multiple choice/multiple answer questions and one essay question, prompting you to think about one element in the lecture or text. Quizzes are worth 10 points. There is unlimited time for each quiz, but it cannot be repeated, once it is submitted.
  • Weekly responses (50 % of final grade): For each week (except the week of Thanksgiving) you have to hand in one response. This can take different fomes (e.g. a short written assignment (2-3 pages), a post in a discussion forum or a short recorded audio). You will receive a prompt, what the response is supposed to be about and how it should be structured. The files have to be uploaded through Canvas. Your responses are evaluated with 20 points. A rubric is given (in canvas) for each assignment depending on the specific type. The responses are due each week Friday at 11:59 pm.
  • Final exam: The lecture concludes with a final exam (Wed, Dec 16 10:30-12:20) with a mix of multiple choice and essay questions. It is set up as an online quiz in Canvas, which you take in front of your own device. The quiz will be available only exactly in this time frame – contact me if there is a legitimate reason why you cannot take the exam at that time. You have 110 minutes to work on the exam and are allowed to use class materials (open book exam). I will give sample questions at the end of each recorded lecture. The exam questions will be a subset of these examples as well as of the reading/lecture-quizzes. The final exam has 100 points and accounts for 30 % of your grade.

Times for due dates and exams are all in US Pacific Time – if you are in a different time zone please make sure that you have your correct time.

Please note that late assignments will NOT be accepted and make-up assignments will NOT be given except in cases of documented emergencies or with advance permission of the instructor. In the absence of these provisions late or missing assignments will receive a grade of “0”.

Grading Summary:

  • Quizzes: 20 %
  • Weekly Responses: 50 %
  • Final Exam 30 %

The grade page in Canvas will list the final grade as a percentage. The following table is used to convert the percentage into a 4.0 scale and the grade submitted to the UW registrar at the end of the class.

Percentage

4.0 Scale

Letter

 

Percentage

4.0 Scale

Letter

95-100

4

A

77

2.4

C+

94

3.9

76

2.3

93

3.9

75

2.2

92

3.8

A-

74

2.1

C

91

3.8

73

2.0

90

3.7

72

1.9

89

3.6

71

1.8

C-

88

3.5

70

1.7

87

3.4

B+

69

1.6

86

3.3

68

1.5

85

3.2

67

1.4

D+

84

3.1

B

66

1.3

83

1.0

65

1.2

82

2.9

64

1.1

D

81

2.8

B-

63

1.0

80

2.7

62

0.9

79

2.6

61

0.8

D-

78

2.5

60

0.7

 

0-59

0.0

E / F

See: https://www.washington.edu/students/gencat/front/Grading_Sys.html

Academic Integrity:

Plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses. If you have questions regarding your work or what might constitute plagiarism on any of your written assignments, speak to me first. Any work turned in for this class must be original work (i.e. not used for any other class).

Students with Disabilities:

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or uwdrs@uw.edu or disability.uw.edu. DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Religious Accommodations:

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodation...). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/ students/religious-accommodations-request/).

Additional Resources:

Political Science/JSIS/LSJ/GWSS Writing Center: https://depts.washington.edu/pswrite/

Catalog Description: 
Modern government and politics of Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy.
Department Requirements: 
Comparative Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
July 29, 2020 - 9:16pm