Alfred P. Montero

Office Hours

407 Willis

E-mail: amontero@carleton.edu

Web Page

Phone: x-4085 (Office), 645-9603 (Home)

Winter 2001

Political Science 396 -- QUESTIONS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

Course Description

This class is intended for seniors taking the examination option of our department's comprehensive exercise. The examination will include two field questions and one broader, "synoptic" question. This course is a prerequisite for taking the examination option of the department's integrative exercise.

Class Format

This course will meet once each week in one of two formats. (1) The general class meeting will include all students and will meet during the appointed hour (Tuesday 8:30-10:15 a.m. except on Jan. 4). During these meetings, the professor will present on techniques for critically analyzing and answering comps exam questions. These presentations will include "post mortem" exercises involving mock exam answers prepared in the course. (2) Study group meetings will occur on a schedule to be arranged with the professor during the first week of the course. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss comps reading materials, to approach debates in the literature and across the discipline, and to discuss progress on mock comps exams.

Reading Materials

All required common readings are on closed reserve at the library. In addition to these materials, students will be asked to provide sufficient copies of essays or book chapters that they believe shed light on the weekly discussion topics. These topics are defined in broad terms using readings from the comps reading list (2000-01).

Grading

Assessment of the students in this course will be based on their performance on mock comps exams, their written critiques of colleagues' exam answers, and their extensive participation in the study groups and general class discussions. Students will be required to answer two of three field questions and one discipline question by the end of the term.

Each study group of 12-13 students (3 groups total) will work on exam questions as a collective. No more than two groups will answer questions from any one exam. The third group will be responsible for preparing written assessments of at least two of their colleagues from the other two groups. The professor will make these assignments randomly and they will be double-blind.

The schedule for the exams is below. The sequence for the exams is the following: Exam #1 will be taken by Groups 1 and 2 and answers will be evaluated by Group 3; Exam #2 will be taken by Groups 1 and 3 and answers will be evaluated by Group 2; Exam #3 will be taken by Groups 2 and 3 and answers will be evaluated by Group 1.

The professor will evaluate field questions and student critiques and provide an oral assessment during office hours. Students will receive a written critique of their discipline question answer from the professor.

The grade breakdown follows:

Each Field Question

25%

The Discipline Question

35%

Student Critiques

20%

Class Participation

20%

The Grading Scale

I will be using the following grading scale in this course:

98-100 A+
94-97 A
91-93 A-
88-90 B+
83-87 B
79-82 B-
76-78 C+
72-75 C
68-71 C-
67/below D/F

Academic Misconduct

Given the fact that academe relies upon the ethical conduct of scholars, students are held to the same standards in their own work. Any act of academic dishonesty or misconduct will be referred to the Office of the Associate Dean. For further information, see Carleton College's Academic Honesty in the Writing of Essays and Other Papers and the section on "academic honesty" in Academic Regulations and Procedures, 2000-01. Both are available in Laird 140.

Special Needs

Students requiring access to learning tools/special schedules approved by Student Support Services should contact me at the beginning of the course.

Session 1: Getting Ready for the Exam - Planning, Stress Management, The Importance of Being a Mensch

Introduction and Study Group Organization (Jan. 4, Thursday)

Handouts: Departmental Guidelines for the Examination Option; The Comps Reading List (2000-01)

General Meeting #1: Basic Techniques (Jan. 9, Tuesday)

Handout: Criteria for Evaluating Essay Answers

Session 2: Power, Ambition, and Leviathan

Study Group Meeting #1 (Week of Jan. 15)

Hobbes (selected pages)

Max Weber, "Bureaucracy and Political Leadership."

Robert Gilpin. 1981. War and Change in World Politics. New York: Cambridge, Chapter 1.

[student readings]

Study Group Meeting #2 (Week of Jan. 22)

Machiavelli, The Prince (selected pages)

Guillermo O'Donnell. 1994. "Delegative Democracy." Journal of Democracy 5:1 (January): 55-69.

[student readings]

MOCK EXAM (Field Question) #1 DISTRIBUTED VIA EMAIL (Monday, Jan. 22)

Session 3: Cooperation and Community

Study Group Meeting #3 (Week of Jan. 29)

Mancur Olson. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Chapters 2-3 (selected pages from latter).

Robert Keohane. 1985. After Hegemony. Princeton: Princeton University Press, Chapter 4.

Karen Remmer. 1997. "Theoretical Decay and Theoretical Development: The Resurgency of Institutional Analysis." World Politics 50 (October): 34-61.

[student readings]

MOCK EXAM (Field Question) #1 DUE (Monday, Jan. 29); Student Evaluations Due (Wed., Jan. 31)

General Meeting #2: Post-Mortem on Mock Exam #1 (Tues. Feb. 6)

MOCK EXAM (Field Question) #2 DISTRIBUTED VIA EMAIL (Wednesday, Feb. 7)

Study Group Meeting #4 (Week of Feb. 13)

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (selected pages)

Robert Putnam. 1993. Making Democracy Work. Princeton: Princeton University Press, Chapter 6.

[student readings]

MOCK EXAM (Field Question) #2 DUE (Wednesday, Feb. 14); Student Evaluations Due (Friday, Feb. 16)

General Meeting #3: Post-Mortem on Mock Exam #2 (Tues. Feb. 20)

MOCK EXAM (Field Question) #3 DISTRIBUTED VIA EMAIL (Wednesday, Feb. 21)

Session 4: Globalization

Study Group Meeting #5 (Week of Feb. 26)

Susan Strange. 1996. The Retreat of the State. New York: Cambridge University Press, 3-87.

Peter B. Evans. 1997. "The Eclipse of the State: Reflections on Stateness in an Era of Globalization." World Politics 50: 62-87.

[student readings]

MOCK EXAM (Field Question) #3 DUE (Wednesday, Feb. 28); Student Evaluations Due (Friday, March 2)

General Meeting #4: Post-Mortem on Mock Exam #3 (Tues. March 6)

MOCK EXAM (Discipline Question) DISTRIBUTED IN CLASS (Tues. March 6); Due (Friday March 9)