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CCOG for PS 204 archive revision 201403

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Effective Term:
Summer 2014 through Summer 2017
Course Number:
PS 204
Course Title:
Comparative Political Systems
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Covers the study of political systems in various countries. Includes such issues as policy-making, representation/ participation, political culture, political economy and development and governance. Countries chosen will represent various political systems including, democracies, totalitarian regimes, dictatorships, post-communist systems in transition, newly industrializing and developing countries. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Credits from this course qualify for general education purposes at Portland Community College and may be applied toward satisfying Associates Degrees at Portland Community College.
Courses with three digit numbers may be transferable to four year colleges and universities. Students should consult with a PCC Academic Advisor and/or other institutions regarding transferability and application of credit to other institutions.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Students will be able to

1. Explore how culturally based assumptions shape any country’s perceptions, behaviors, and policies in relation to political systems in other countries.
2. Examine historical cases for evolving political practices, including the roles played by political socialization, cultural norms, political institutions, and economic systems.
3. Analyze how policies including issues of privilege and discrimination are impacted by diverse governmental decisionmaking processes.
4. Formulate and apply personal value judgments regarding social constructs and power relationships embedded in different political institutions and systems.
5. Engage in lifelong learning that includes the ability to conceptually organize information while practicing ethical and social requirements of responsible global citizenship.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The SACC assumes that faculty will assess student learning using some combination of the following assessment strategies:

  • Exams consisting of essay or other method that integrates and requires application of concepts, themes and issues in the course
  • Written assignments such as papers, reviews, journals and other writing assignments that demonstrate understanding of content knowledge and appropriate application by students of content to clarification of their own views on political issues
  • Oral presentations, summits, model-UN, discussions, debates, or role-playing that articulate views and values incorporating a comprehensive knowledge of appropriate concepts and issues
  • Projects where students can identify resources that provide political information and can utilize these resources to evaluate the political process and identify participatory strategies.
  • Review and critique of political material from different media.
  • Use of standard research techniques and acceptable formats in written work and oral presentations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • role of political socialization
  • manifestation of political culture in class divisions
  • sources of legitimacy
  • participant, subject, and parochial culture
  • structure/power of legislative branches
  • constitutional powers
  • electoral/party systems
  • structure/power of executive
  • selection and limits of executive
  • judiciary independence
  • adversarial/ inquisitorial judiciary
  • economic structures
  • modernization/dependency theory

Competencies and Skills
Students should develop the following skills:

  • Support generalizations/arguments with examples or evidence
  • Accurately articulates ideas in written and oral presentation
  • Articulates original applications and synthesis of academic theories/frameworks, supporting them by citing valid sources.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of political system in written and oral work
  • Critiques own assumptions and those of others, validating them with substantial thinking and application of appropriate arguments.
  • Use of standard research techniques and acceptable formats in written work and oral presentations

Approved Texts:
Choice of texts is at the discretion of each course instructor. Some of the suggestions: McCormick, John. Comparative Politics in Transition, (current edition) Annual Editions, Comparative Politics (current issue) Dushkin Publishing