Poli 485b: Seminar in Special Topics in Comparative Politics:

Political Thought and Development in Europe


Leonard Ray

Class Time:

Wednesday 3:30 - 6:30


LNG 90; tel: 777-2506


FA 346

Office Hours:

Tues. 1:30 - 3:30

Fri. 1:30 - 3:30



Course Description: This course will survey the major European political ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries and link currents of political thought to political and social developments. Ideology will be discussed as a cause and a consequence of political and social conflict.

Requirements and Grading: This seminar will stress critical and creative thinking about the political development of Europe, and trends in European political thought. Grading will be based upon two short papers (30%), class participation (15%), a midterm (25%) and a cumulatve final examination (30%.) Make up exams raise serious issues of equity and fairness and are strongly discouraged. Any student who needs to take a make up exam must contact me before the normally scheduled exam. Students who ask for a make up after the regularly scheduled exam must obtain permission from the Dean's office.

Late papers will be penalized one letter grade per day (including Saturday and Sunday.) Weekly assignments will not be accepted late.

Incompletes are given only in the case of serious illness, death in the immediate family, or other comparable circumstance.

Short Papers: Students will complete two short writing assignments during this course. These will be group projects. Students will be assigned to groups of 3 to 5 students, and will discuss the assigned topic in class. Each group will then meet outside of class to continue their discussion, and to write a brief paper on the topic. Details on these papers will be handed out during the semester.

Participation: Participation grades are based on occasional written homework assignments and on class discussion. These homework assignments will be handed out during the course of the semester.

Readings: Students are expected to participate in class discussion. In order to do so effectively, they must have read the required readings before the class period. Some course readings are on reserve at the reserve reading room of the library. So that these readings are available to all of the students in this course, they can only be checked out for a two hour period. You may find it useful to photocopy these readings well in advance of the class period. Other reading assignments will be drawn from two textbooks (both available at the bookstore):

Course Schedule and Reading Assignments (subject to change):

Course Textbooks:

Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal by Terence Ball and Richard Dagger.

European Political Thought, 1815-1989 by Spencer Di Scalia and Salvo Mastellone.

Week One, 1/27: Introduction

Week Two, 2/3: What is Ideology? Ideology and Social Conflict.

Readings: Ball and Dagger, Chapter 1

Hinich and Munger, Ideology and the Theory of Political Choice Chapter 1 (on reserve)

North, Structure and Change in Economic History Chapter 5 (on reserve).

Week Three, 2/10: State Formation, Mercantilism, and Absolutism

Readings: Ball and Dagger, Chapter 4; Di Scala and Mastellone, Chapter 3;

De Maistre, Bodin (on reserve)

Week Four, 2/17: Revolution and the Liberal Challenge

Readings: Ball and Dagger, Ch 3; Di Scala and Mastellone, Chapter 2;

Adam Smith, John Locke (on reserve)


Week Five, 2/24: Classical Liberalism

Readings: Ball and Dagger Ch 2; Di Scala and Mastellone, Chapter 5;

J. S. Mill, US Bill of Rights, French Declaration of Rights of Man, UN Declaration of Human Rights (on reserve)

-Group Writing Assignment #1- Write a Bill of Rights, papers due in class March 3.

Week Six, 3/3: Utopian Socialism and Marxism:

Readings: Di Scala and Mastellone, Chs 1, 7 (pp 75 - 89), 8; Ball and Dagger Ch 5

Week Seven, 3/10: Democratic Liberals. Social Democrats

Readings: Di Scala and Mastellone, Chs 4, 6, 7; Ball and Dagger Ch 6 (p149 - 157);

Bernstein (on reserve)

-Group Writing Assignment #2- Write a Socialist Manifesto, papers due in class April 7.

Week Eight, 3/17: Spring Break

Week Nine, 3/24: Midterm Exam

Week Ten, 3/31: Passover/ Easter Holiday

Week Eleven, 4/7: Illiberalism of the Left and Right:

Readings: Di Scala and Mastellone, Chs 9, 10, 11;

Gould, De Gobinau (on reserve);

Week Twelve, 4/14: The Russian Revolution

Readings: Di Scala and Mastellone, Ch 12; Ball and Dagger Ch 6 (pp157-171)

Week Thirteen, 4/21: Fascism and Nazism

Readings: Di Scala and Mastellone Chs 13, 14; Ball and Dagger Ch 7;

Mussolini (on reserve)

Week Fourteen, 4/28: Post War Political Thought

Readings: Di Scala and Mastellone Chs 15, 16, 17; Ball and Dagger Ch 9

Week Fifteen, 5/5: Contemporary Ideologies

Readings: Ball and Dagger Chs 8, 10

Final Exam: Time and Place to be Announced.