Political Science D01-1

page 2

In addition to these required texts, there will be some required readings from materials placed on reserve at the library. In view of the large size of the class, I have tried to limit these outside readings, assigning less this year than in the past. Be warned that only three copies of each item will be on reserve, so you should not wait until the last minute to do that reading.

Note that this syllabus is structured with clearly--specified sets of assigned readings for each session and additional annotated items for further study--if you have the motivation and time. I do not make reading assignments casually, and I expect that all the assigned reading be done. If you can remember what you have read without taking notes, I congratulate you for possessing a gift that I do not have. Most of the mortals among us will probably need to take notes to consolidate their understanding of the material.

Performance in the course will be evaluated according to the quality of your participation in seminar discussions--for which regular preparation is imperative--on your performance on an examination in class on November 15 (see page VII.l), and on the quality of your three written assignments, all of which are intended to help you progress toward the development of your first year paper. In brief, these assignments are as follows:

1. Bibliographic Essay: This assignment is designed to get you fully immersed in the scholarly literature on a topic of major interest to you. If the topic turns out to be one pursued in your first-year paper, so much the better. The essay portion of this assignment need be no more than 5 typewritten pages. It should identify the seminal works, the major authors, styles of scholarship, and typical sources of publications. Appended to this essay should be an extensive alphabetized bibliography organized into two parts: (1) items which you have read and (2) those which you have not read but which look promising. The emphasis in this bibliography should be on (1) journal articles rather than books and (2) recent citations (e.g., mid-1970s), which should put you in touch with work done at the forefront of the field. Knowledge gained during the first week of the course about the library's holdings should equip you for this assignment. It will be due on October 18.

2. Conceptual Framework: This assignment is designed to develop your capacities for conceptual identification and analysis. You must isolate what you regard as the major concepts involved in the study of any political phenomenon of your choice, but presumably one covered by your bibliographic essay. In short, you should clarify the phenomenon that scholars have been trying to explain and the concepts they have employed in their efforts at explanation. Address yourself also to the scholars' efforts at measuring the concepts they employ. This paper should be no more than 10 typewritten pages (double-spaced). It will be due on November 22.

3. Theory Construction: This assignment obliges you to become a social theorist. Presumably, it will build upon your previous "conceptual framework" paper as you try to formulate a rigorous body of theory that seeks to explain some political phenomenon within your interest. The emphasis within this paper will be on the formalization of your theory in what Hempel refers to as a "deductive-nomological" framework, or what Chafetz describes as "axiomatic" theory. (see pages 83-90). This final 10 page paper is due on December 18.

If you do not know professional form for use in your work, I also recommend that you purchase Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertation, 4th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973). Pay special attention to pp. 38-54 and 66-77 on punctuation; pp. 78-99, 117-124, and 132-143 on footnotes; pp. 159-171 on tables; pp. 180-187 on scientific papers; and pp. 188-202 on typing. I will expect good professional form in your papers for the course.

go to page 3