POL S 447 A: Advanced Seminar in Comparative Politics

Meeting Time: 
TTh 8:30am - 10:20am
Location: 
* *
SLN: 
19358
Joint Sections: 
JSIS A 494 A
Instructor:
Prof. Niko Switek
Niko Switek

Syllabus Description:

Reichstag building, Germany

JSIS A 494 / PolS 447: Germany and Its Global Role and Influence

Winter 2021 / TTh 8:30-10:20 / Remote

Dr. Niko Switek / DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor / switek@uw.edu

Office Hours: Tue 1-2 pm and by appointment (https://washington.zoom.us/j/92326006495)

 

Course Content:

Quite some Americans look with admiration to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the wake of President Trump upending long standing traditions of US foreign policy, some see her as the most powerful advocate for liberal democracy, multi-lateralism and free trade. This is an interesting state of things, regarding the German past: After the collapse of the Weimar Republic, the fascist rule of Adolf Hitler brought death and destruction to Europe and the World, ultimately leaving the country in ruins and divided into two states until the end of the cold war. This class touches on several key events in German history and inspects the current political system, party landscape and society of the reunified Germany. We analyze its trajectory in comparison to other European states and its role in pursuing European integration. We reflect on Germany's position in World politics (e.g. transatlantic relations, NATO) and examine how the totalitarian past and and the legacy of a divided state and society continue to shape today's Germany.

Course Goal:

This course is designed to offer an overview about German history in the 20th century and provide an in-depth examination of the German political system as an example of a parliamentary democracy, shaped by an influential prime minister ('chancellor-democracy'), a multi-party system and coalition politics. They know about characteristics of the German society, which still is defined by the totalitarian past and the division. They learn about Germany's foreign policy and its role in European integration, specifically for some current examples (e.g. refugee-crisis, Brexit), and understand underlying rationales of Germany's actions and strategies on global level.

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 as synchronous, resembling an in-person seminar. We will meet for two synchronous Zoom-meetings each week. 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. Especially with a small seminar format this creates a more productive environment for all of us. However, depending on your personal circumstances you are free to participate in the synchronous sessions in a way most comfortable for you.

This format is new to all of us, so I appreciate comments and feedback. 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 our scheduled class time via Zoom. These Zoom class sessions will not be recorded. The University of Washington and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UW Zoom accounts.

Office Hours:

If you have questions concerning our class, you can schedule an online office hour appointment with me. This can either be following our weekly Zoom sessions, my office hours (https://washington.zoom.us/j/94467529650) or some other time during the week. Please e-mail me and let me know what your question is about.

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. Our discussions will be more interesting if we are all up-to-date on current events in Germany and Europe. Try to scan the news sources you rely on for updates. 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:

  • Class participation means regular attendance and active involvement in class discussions, which is important for the success of the class (10 % of your grade).
  • Throughout the term students hand in weekly response papers. They are short papers (1 page, about 250 words) in response to prompts on the syllabus (adds up to 30 % of your grade). The papers have to be handed in by each Friday (11:59 pm).
  • Students pick one film (documentary or fiction) which relates to Germany and the topics covered in the course. They give a short in-class presentation (about 15 to 20 min.), giving background/context of film, description of content, connection to course and their critical assessment (20 % of your grade).
  • Based on the presentation students write a final film paper. They research scientific references on the topic of the film (at least 4 sources like books or journal articles) and analyze, how far the film represents an actual historical event, phenomenon or societal problem. The structure of the paper should be as follows: background/context about the film, description of story/content, public reception, scientific analysis of topic, conclusion. The paper should have 10 pages or 3000 words, including footnotes and bibliography, with font size 12, double spaced and page numbers. The film paper accounts for 40 % of your grade. The paper is due Thursday, March 18 2021.

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 with advance permission of the instructor or of documented emergencies. In the absence of these provisions late or missing assignments will receive a grade of “0”.

Grading Summary:

  • Active Participation: 10 %
  • Weekly Responses: 30 %
  • In-Class Presentation: 20 %
  • Final Paper 40 %

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

3.0

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/).

Catalog Description: 
Selected comparative political problems, political institutions, processes, and issues in comparative perspective. Strongly
Department Requirements: 
Comparative Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 29, 2020 - 9:05pm