Why do most European countries have more political parties than the U.S. does? How was the Soviet Union able to maintain its communist dictatorship for so long, and why is North Korea still communist? Has democracy finally arrived in Mexico, and how has this affected the everyday lives of Mexican citizens?
These are illustrative of the types of questions that are addressed in this course. Our objectives are to 1) master several general themes and theories in comparative politics, 2) understand the differences between democracies and authoritarian systems, and 3) learn about the political systems of a few select countries.
For the duration of this course, students take part in a comparative politics simulation held in a fictitious European country called “West Europa.” Students are assigned to political parties and these parties compete with each other through various political campaign, election, and government formation exercises. Ultimately, their end goal is to have their party leader win a final debate staged in front of an audience of their peers and professional judges.
Multimedia Assignments in 1920s Berlin & New York
To supplement the study of film in 1920s Berlin and New York, Mihaela Petruscu's course contains five projects, including a typed analysis of a clip from Asphalt (1929), a voice-over commentary of a self-selected clip, the creation of a media folder about the Flapper/New Woman, a multimedia storyboard, a media folder on the representation of race, and a final project of a video recording on the contemporary fascination with the 1920s.
To enhance the study of film and to help students become critical viewers, Patricia O'Neill's Art of Cinema course includes two film assignments: a 50-second silent film that replicates the ideas and experience of early cinematographers such as the Lumière Brothers; and a 3-minute sound film, using original footage to remake or adapt a sequence from a film watched in class.