Description and Resources
GOVT_112_SP_2013: Comparative Politics
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.
Students in the role of Press Secretaries, create a graphic identity as one component of a semester-long simulation exercise designed to introduce students to the world of campaigning, elections, and government formation in a parliamentary democracy. This "Party Logo" represents their fictious political party and is based on the party platform chosen by their group.
» Associate Professor of Government Sharon Rivera
This project is in the following groups:
» Comparative Politics Simulation
Completed Student Projects
Rivera Flag for West Europa - Created Spring, 2005
Peoples Conservative Party Logo - Created Spring, 2007
Goals, Process and Outcomes
The overall goal of the simulation is to introduce students to basic parliamentary politics as well as provide them with an avenue to learn and develop basic literacy skill sets (collaborative work, research skills, media literacy, written and oral communication) useful in other classes and the workplace.
The simulation was designed with four goals in mind.
1. Bring to life some of the key topics central to an introductory comparative politics course, such as electoral systems, coalition governments, and party systems.
2. Engage students in cooperative learning and problem-solving activities.
3. Take away from the simulation some practical skills that students might be able to use in an internship or future job in the “real world.”
4. Foster the ability to see the world from various perspectives, both by encouraging students to work with others whom they may not already know and by allowing them to assume alternative identities for the simulation.
Students work in a group to collaborativley develop their party platform. A "Visual Literacy and Graphic Design" session in class is combined with libary research to translate each parties platform into a graphic identity.
Students in the roles of "Press Secretaries" attend subsequent workshops and poster proofing/printing open labs to finalize their logos.
Students in the roles of "Press Secretaries" translate the party platform into a meaningful graphic identity or Party Logo. The Party Logo is used in party advertisement during the campaign simulation.