SPRING 2018 SYLLABUS: English Writing for Political Science (Juniors)
Meeting Time & Location: Tuesdays & Thursdays from 8-9:30AM, Classroom 15
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/PSWriting.html
Office: Rm. 301 & occasionally Newark Bldg. Rm. 245. Office hours by appointment.
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com
Jump to: Grading Essay 1 Essay 2 Class Schedule Midterm

OVERVIEW: This course aims to improve students' English writing skills in general and specifically with regard to topics in political science. By student request, source materials will focus largely on topics in the subfield of comparative politics. A writing course entitled "English for Academic Purposes" (EAP) may be considered approximately analogous, though again the subject material for research and writing assignments will be focused rather than general.. In each session of class, students should expect to do some writing, so a notebook and pen or pencil are REQUIRED for each class! Students should keep the same notebook throughout class to observe the progress they make throughout the course of the semester. We will do A LOT of writing in this class! Some of the writing will be corrected by your peers, so try to sit next to someone you trust to read and comment on your writing. Writing topics will be provided by the instructor and will require some preparation and previous knowledge of topics such as comparative politics, political theory, and current events. The class will include a review of basic grammar concepts, and this will involve many exercises to practice parts of speech, sentence and paragraph structure, improve vocabulary, and translation of basic sentences from Chinese to English. Exercises intended to advance students' writing from Chinese-style English or "Chinglish" toward a more standard, academic style of an American university will be emphasized. As the ultimate goals are to write English essays reviewing other scholarly works and containing some original research, extensive attention will be paid to proper quotation methods to avoid plagiarism. This course will share a similar structure, along with some materials and activities, with an international politics version. 讲课的语言是英语。 听/看不懂英语的学生千万要提前安排助学办法。

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES: Depending on students' receptiveness, a variety of activities will be employed in this class. Above all, class sessions will be ACTIVE, with lots of student participation and a goal of minimizing lecture time by the instructor. Likely activities will include dictations (covering material from the previous session), individual & team games, grammar exercises, and correction of homework. Occasionally, while students are working on assignments in class, the instructor will meet with students 1-on-1 to read and correct past assignments, with the goals of explaining grading criteria and providing opportunities to make sure students can express their personal ideas precisely and clearly.

ASSIGNMENTS: Most class sessions will assign homework. Homework assignments will consist of both reading and writing. Reading assignments will mostly be to read an article, book chapter, or other text online to be prepared for in-class writing exercises. Some assignments, especially those completed in class, will be handwritten, while others may be either handwritten or typed and printed from a computer. Occasionally the instructor will ask students to turn in writing assignments from in-class exercises or homework to be used as "daily grades" (平时成绩). At least twice in the semester, a dictation will be used for a daily grade.

EXAMS: This class will not have exams, unless students or higher authorities request them.

GRADING (ESSAYS): The two essays' final drafts will be the main determinants of the final grade (30% x2), supplemented by their rough drafts (15% x2) and with attendance and daily grades influencing borderline cases (10%). One final draft will be due near the midterm, and the other near the end of the semester. Prompts and requirements for such essays will be presented and discussed in class, then posted below. Students are encouraged to share drafts of essays with classmates before turning them in to the instructor. Please type and print rough and final drafts of your essays on BOTH SIDES (double-sided 双面的). Essays will be graded on clarity, structure, and how well they meet the requirements in the next section. Addressing (not necessarily following) classmates' and the instructor's suggestions for revision of the rough draft will be taken into account for the final drafts' grades. Self-expression, i.e. being able to express your own, unique thoughts will also be increasingly important as the semester progresses and technical skills improve. Grading standards will become more strict as the semester progresses, and some consideration of overall improvement of writing skills (as shown in the progression from the first rough draft to the final draft of Essay 2) may factor into the final grade for the course.

ESSAY GRADING CRITERIA: The instructor will write prompts for both essays and choose the topics in consultation with students. Each essay will be turned in and graded in two stages: the rough draft and the final (revised) draft. ESSAY 1: Rough Draft Due Apr. 24th. Required length: 4-7 paragraphs (at least 1 introduction, 2 body paragraphs, 1 conclusion); not more than 5 double-spaced, typed pages. TOPIC: The U.S. & Chinese media landscapes, Regime Types. PROMPT- See below. Final Draft Due: _________________. Required length: 800 words, but not longer than 7 double-spaced pages. Point Distribution: On Time? 20, Clarity & Cohesiveness 20, Grammar/Punctuation/Spelling/Capitalization 10, Title 5, Format (double-spaced, fonts, margins, paragraphs indented) 5, Evidence 5, Persuasiveness 5, Analysis (Thesis w/ body paragraphs connected to it, At least two questions in the PROMPT answered, Counter-argument considered) 15, Interesting/Original? 15.

Topic 1: The U.S. and Chinese media landscapes. Background: American politics and media have, since the rise of the internet, become increasingly partisan and polarized. Those who are centrists and moderates now tend to be elites favoring the status quo and "low-information" voters who prefer entertainment over news. Well informed news consumers tend to be very liberal or very conservative and generally consume media in line with their ideologies. Defenders of this arrangement say these changes are still positive reflections of U.S. pluralism, diversity, and free speech, while critics worry that media in the ideological extremes may be pulling the nation apart. China once experimented with national elections and more liberal media at the very end of the Qing Dynasty but found the results too divisive, perhaps influencing the chaos and factionalism of the Warlord period in the early 20th century. Today, Chinese media and nationalists regularly criticize Western media as "anti-China," while defenders of blocked websites like "papers of record" The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times would counter that a critical press is "in the public interest."

PROMPT: In your view, is partisan media driving U.S. political polarization, or does a polarized citizenry demand partisan media to reflect its increasingly extreme viewpoints? To what extent is the "free media" in America's liberal democracy dividing the public into factions, in the same way China feared it would at the beginning of the 20th century? To what extent does China's "internet sovereignty" guard against such problems, and at what cost? Which U.S. media sources are the most "anti-China," and which (if any) treat China fairly? How critical can one be before being "anti-China"?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: _________________

Topic 2: Regime Types Background: Comparative politics rests on a foundational typology of totalitarian, authoritarian, and liberal democratic regimes and claims that these "ideal types" are objective, backed by empirical evidence/observation, and applicable to virtually all regimes around the world with little or no pro-Western bias. At the same time, the teleological sub-subfield of political development largely assumes that regimes will progress toward a procedural democracy based on "polyarchy," supplemented and enabled by the liberal rights and freedoms outlined in Schmitter & Karl's "What Democracy Is...And Is Not," even if such a regime does not help the economy. This assumption rests on a body of work called "human development theory," which in a very oversimplified form claims that economic development creates a middle class which gradually comes to prefer "self-expression values" and demand liberal democracy. Furthermore, living in a liberal democracy reinforces a political culture which makes any other regime type, including "illiberal democracy," unacceptable to citizens.

PROMPT: To what extent do you agree or disagree that the three basic regime types are objective and universally applicable, not Western impositions full of subjective value judgments? Do you think people in liberal democracies would really tolerate years or decades of economic stagnation rather than change their regime? Will all the world's political regimes, including China's, eventually converge in some form of liberal/"Western"/"bourgeois" democracy? Why/why not? Why are there so few totalitarian regimes left in the 21st century?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: _________________

ESSAY 2: Rough Draft Due _________________. Required length: 4-7 paragraphs (at least 1 introduction, 2 body paragraphs, 1 conclusion); not more than 5 double-spaced, typed pages. TOPIC: _________________ PROMPT- _________________ Final Draft Due: _________________. Required length: 800 words, but not longer than 7 double-spaced pages. GRADING OF ESSAY 2:

OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Outside Sources = use (quote directly) at least one source originally in English and one source originally in Chinese (to be translated into English while including the original text and citation). Bibliography = include a bibliography of outside sources at the end of the essay. The format will be discussed in class. TOPIC: Students may choose between Topic 1 OR Topic 2.

Topic 1: _________________ Background: _________________

PROMPT: _________________

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: _________________

Topic 2: _________________ Background: _________________

PROMPT: _________________

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: _________________

For both essays, you will lose points if... 1. you don't print double-sided 双面的 ; 2. You try to answer both prompts (don't do it!); 3. You try to address every single thing in the "Background" section or very little (or worse, none) of it; 4. Your essay doesn't have a single, unifying thesis to tie your points together, or you don't directly address each part of the prompt; 5. You don't have a bibliography/works cited section or citations (in-text or footnootes) for outside sources/direct quotes; 6. Your Chinese source doesn't include the original text in Chinese; 7. Your essay is too long or short

 

SUGGESTED ONLINE FORUMS FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION (EXTRA WRITING PRACTICE): Global Voices

Care to see what Julian's other classes are doing and have done? Visit the NENU landing page for his reading, writing, public administration, and IR theory courses. All classes should have received a copy of EFL student guides to Western music and Western movies. Feel free to share and distribute them.

WECHAT POLICY: It is the instructor's policy not to add current students to social media, though some past students which are again current will not be removed. Please contact the instructor via email rather than by WeChat, text message, or phone unless extremely urgent. After the course is over, the instructor welcomes social media inquiries.

 

 

WEEKLY SCHEDULE:

WEEK 1 ( 3-6, 3-8): Instructor will be returning from the Golden Triangle this week, so students should prepare the following assignment, which will be collected, corrected, and graded upon the instructor's arrival. Winter Vacation Story (Assignment) INSTRUCTIONS: To give the instructor an introduction to your writing skills, write 1-3 paragraphs about the most interesting thing you did or that happened during this year's winter vacation. Try to tell an interesting or even entertaining story, but don't write more than a couple (2) pages. Try to "engage the senses" (what did things sound, smell, and feel like?). If you don't know what to write, use the first paragraph to "set the scene" and give the setting (time & place) where you were and who was with you, then use the rest of your essay to describe what happened. This may be handwritten or typed and printed (double-sided) and will be collected in the second session of class. THURS. - Course introduction. Distribute glossaries on Reading & Writing, Critical Thinking, etc. Sentences, Paragraphs, and what they build to. Learn to "extend a sentence" without breaking grammar rules. HOMEWORK: Winter Vacation Story (Assignment)

WEEK 2 ( 3-13, 3-15): TUES. - Collect Winter Vacation Story (Assignment). Introduce dictation exercise and practice a test dictation. Talk about sentence structure: simple, compound, complex, sentence fragments and run-on sentences. Grammar point: Expressing regrets with past participles of verbs. Academic VS. Non-academic writing. Sign up for 1-on-1 session in Julian's office to discuss your first assignment (Winter Vacation Story) HOMEWORK: Write three sentences using past participles of verbs to express how you wish your winter vacation had gone differently. (i.e. Do you have any regrets? What do you wish you had done/not done/done differently?) Be ready to talk about Sentence Structure exercise in next class. THURS. - Return & explain graded "test" dictations. Give answers for Sentence Structure exercise. Review handouts on "How to Talk Like a Political Scientist from the USA" and "Basic Political Structures & Functions in the USA." HOMEWORK: Write one paragraph on what you specifically want to improve about your writing and what you want to learn and do this semester (semester goals in this class and generally, essay topics you'd find interesting). Read about Term Limits: A brief history of the post-FDR 22nd Amendment and the 2-term precedent set by Pres. George Washington. "Top Five Reasons We Need Term Limits!" on the website for the organization petitioning for U.S. congressional term limits. Arguments against term limits in Congress (indeed, against even considering an amendment imposing them) could hardly be punchier than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's quotation, "We have term limits; they're called elections." At greater length against them, please read the recent "Five Reasons to Oppose Congressional Term Limits" on the Brookings Institute's website. Optional if you'd like more academic detail, read the account of Prof. Julia Azari of Marquette University (where I got my first MA).

WEEK 3 ( 3-20, 3-22): TUES. - Talk about basic information about texts, including their type, source, title, author, topic, main idea, authors' credibility & bias, etc. Discuss the terms and term limits of the U.S. and other countries in various government positions. A pdf compilation of the texts on term limits is here. HOMEWORK: In one paragraph, answer one of the following questions: 1. How effective would a two-term limit on U.S. members of Congress (similar to the 22nd Amendment limiting the president) be at addressing the problem that while only 9-15% of Americans approve of Congress, 90% of its members get re-elected? 2. Obama claimed he would have beaten Trump if he had run in the 2016 election. Would violating the U.S. constitution have been worth it for Obama to have run, and do you agree he would have won? Why or why not? 3. If 75% of U.S. citizens want term limits in Congress, but members of Congress have strong incentives not to enact them (including both self-interest and the arguments of the Brookings Institute), to what extent, in your view, does this show that the U.S. government does not represent its citizens? Read the instructor's handout on -archy and -cracy to prepare for discussion of regime types. THURS. - Read and comment on your classmates' answers to questions 1, 2, and 3. Discuss your answers to questions 1, 2, and 3. Vote on whether the U.S. Congress should amend the U.S. Constitution to impose term limits on its members. In your notebooks, rank the "Top 3" kinds of "-archy & -cracy" you would want to live in (and why) and the "Bottom 3" you think would be the worst to live under (Choose from, in alphabetical order: anarchy, autocracy, democracy, gerontocracy, gynarchy (matriarchy), kleptocracy, meritocracy, monarchy, oligarchy, patriarchy, plutocracy, theocracy. Discuss your rankings with your classmates and as a class. Begin discussion of regime types. HOMEWORK: Read two classic pieces on regime types from the 1990s by Schmitter & Karl and another by Linz & Stepan. Which of the "-cracy & -archy" labels best fit your view of how and who govern the societies of the USA, Russia, and Japan? Feel free to use more than one label for each country. Write a sentence or two for each, and connect them to your "Top 3" and "Bottom 3" that you'd like and not like to live in.

WEEK 4 ( 3-27, 3-29): TUES. - Determine a "Top 3" and "Bottom 3" for the class (Voted on "best" and "worst" from -cracy & -archy: "Winner" = meritocracy, "Loser" = theocracy). Discuss regime types and the two articles. HOMEWORK: In one paragraph, answer one of the following questions: 1. Your instructor (and his professors) generally prefers to call Linz & Stepan's "sultanism" a kind of personalist authoritarianism, in contrast with the institutionalized version the authors describe but too similar to be another regime type. To what extent do you think this is a real difference worth separating? 2. Many students, especially at first, find it hard to tell the difference between a totalitarian regime and an authoritarian one (especially when Stepan & Linz include the transitional "post-totalitarian" type). How would you describe their differences and, if any, similarities in contrast with liberal democracy? 3. The instructor has taken great care to modify what both texts call "democracy" (and the only kind recognized in the West) as "liberal democracy." This regime has been criticized variously as "bourgeois democracy" by Marxists, "Western democracy" by "Asian Values" advocates (such as China and Singapore), and very often in terms of the instructor's handout such as "oligarchy" or "plutocracy." To what extent do you agree or disagree with such criticism? 4. Schmitter & Karl wanted to make an authoritative reference for how actually existing democracies look and vary, but are they really only describing what we in the 2010s would now call liberal democracies? To what extent does their authority as Stanford professors make for an authoritarian definition of democracy, excluding other, illiberal forms and the regime-type conceptions of average people? READING: The first section of a recent article by Yascha Mounk in The Atlantic . Feel free to read the whole article. THURS. - Topic sentences and summaries. Summary VS. Analysis HOMEWORK: write a 1-paragraph summary of Mounk's first section.

WEEK 5 ( 4-3, 4-5): TUES. - Collect students' notebooks at the end of the session. In-class exercise: write an analytical paragraph answering one of the following questions about Mounk's article...1. What is Mounk's conception of democracy, and how is it similar to and different from what Schmitter & Karl describe? 2. "Free and fair" elections are a requirement of liberal democracy, but the introduction shows that even small elections can be full of dirty tricks. To what extent is Mounk's title based on procedural problems with voting, and in contrast, how much is based on the fact that even "free and fair" elections don't give people much influence over government policy? 3. Mounk points out differences in responsiveness between the "representative" democracy of a republic, often including the protection of minority rights against "the tyranny of the majority/mob rule" and the "direct" democracy preferred by young people and in the introduction's referrendum (voting directly on a policy under "majority rule"). What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of each form? 4. Mounk notes that Trump voters felt especially voiceless but completely dismisses the idea that Trump will actually represent such people as president. To what extent do you find his dismissal fair or unfair, and why? HOMEWORK: Read about media and politics in Zakaria's comparative essay "Democracy Is Decaying Worldwide. America Isn't Immune." The rise of "fake news" in a comparative article in The Telegraph, and an analysis of charts comparing U.S. media bias. All three readings as a pdf here. THURS. - Qingming Holiday, NO CLASS?

WEEK 6 ( 4-10, 4-12): TUES. - Return graded notebooks. Talk about topic, prompt, and format of ESSAY 1 rough draft. Chinglish Elimination exercises from student homework. HOMEWORK: In 1-2 paragraphs, answer two or more questions on the top half of the handout about media & politics (Current Events/Watching the News). Choose your topic for ESSAY 1 and write a possible introduction paragraph with a "hook." THURS. - Finish Chinglish Elimination exercises.Discuss the relationship between mass media and regime types, with a focus on the differences between a "free press" under liberal democracy compared to other regime types. HOMEWORK: Read about liberal/conservative, populist/elite divisions in the USA...

WEEK 7 ( 4-17, 4-19): TUES. - Introductory paragraphs and "hooks." Continue talking about media & politics, including three models of media influence: The Hypodermic Model, The Minimal Effects Model, & The Agenda-Setting Model.. Introduce "the political spectrum" in the USA and relate it back to the media bias chart. HOMEWORK: Profiles in U.S. ideological pluralism exercise & write one paragraph about which profile is closest to how you view political issues and why. Continue reading about political outlooks in the USA...a brief blog post gives the basics. Another in Foreign Policy addresses the divide between populists and elites. PDF of both texts here. THURS. - Test dictation. Build upon the political spectrum with concepts related to partisanship and polarization. Handout coming soon. HOMEWORK: Have a rough draft of Essay 1 ready to turn in for the next session.

WEEK 8 ( 4-24, 4-26): TUES. - ESSAY 1 ROUGH DRAFT DUE. Exchange & comment on two classmates' rough drafts. Basic translation from Chinese to English: General Statements. HOMEWORK: Word Choice exercise: Yield Make Let Allow THURS. - Correct Word Choice exercise together.

WEEK 9 ( 5-1, 5-3): TUES. - Int'l Labor Day, NO CLASS? THURS. - Return rough drafts of Essay 1 & discuss requirements for revisions. How a Western academic political science journal article is structured.

WEEK 10 ( 5-8, 5-10): TUES. - Vocabulary Game THURS. - Midterm Review Game

WEEK 11 ( 5-15, 5-17): TUES. - ESSAY 1 FINAL DRAFT DUE. Small conversation groups? THURS. -

WEEK 12 ( 5-22, 5-25): TUES. - Return Essay 1 final drafts. THURS. -

WEEK 13 ( 5-29, 5-31): TUES. - THURS. -

WEEK 14 (6-5 ,6-7 ): TUES. - THURS. -

WEEK 15 ( 6-12, 6-14): TUES. - ESSAY 2 ROUGH DRAFT DUE THURS. -

WEEK 16 ( 6-19, 6-21): TUES. - THURS. -

WEEK 17 ( 6-26, 6-28): TUES. - THURS. -

ESSAY 2 FINAL DRAFT DUE _________________.

TBA = To Be Announced.

This syllabus is subject to change and will be updated throughout the semester. Check back regularly to be fully informed!

Potential Topics, Readings, Assignments, etc. (Including those suggested by students): Robert Dahl's ideas on polyarchy as "a procedural minimum" for liberal democracy (upon which liberal "rights & freedoms" are placed to make election of representatives and other forms of political participation "free & fair."); Nations & Nationalism...READINGS: Ch. 1, "Definitions" in Ernest Gellner's classic, Nations and Nationalism, Ch. 3, "Paradigms" in Anthony D. Smith's Nationalism; National preservation in the face of extinction in comparative perspective: The Ainu & The Manchu...READINGS: A brief introduction to language regimes. Picture tour of the Ainu on the Washington Post , the conclusion of an archaeology article in Hakai Magazine, and an article about their 2008 official recognition in the NY Times. Articles from the NY Times on the Xibe (Xibo) and the Manchu language. Fan Yiying's 2017 warning of linguistic extinction. PDF of all readings here. Optional: Read what it's like to be the very last speaker of a language in the NY Times profile of the world's only living Taushiro, as a pdf here. More controversial readings are available but not to be listed or discussed in this course.

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