Revised Syllabus for Pol S 346

European Politics

Mon., Wed., & Friday, 2:10-3, 277 Science Hall

Spring 2006, Iowa State University

Christopher L. Ball, Lecturer

Dept. of Political Science

Office Hours: Mon. & Wed., 3:15-4:15

517 Ross Hall

Phone: 515.294.4652


This course examines European politics, broadly construed, in historical and contemporary perspectives in four major areas. First, governments and people contest the boundaries of Europe as a political, economic and cultural entity. The European Union of 25 European states represents, for some, the apotheosis of European community. We will examine how Europeans and claimants to a European identity conceive of and argue over the extent of Europe. Second, western European governments have developed some the most advanced social welfare states in the world, characterized by income equality and generous healthcare, pension, and unemployment benefits. Since the 1980s, however, conservatives have challenged the feasibility and desirability of the European social model. We will examine the debates over the “European Dream” and whether it can survive economic and demographic challenges. Third, the extent of Europe economic and political integration is unparalleled in the world. This creates tensions between and within European polities over how national and regional institutions will be reshaped or modified by European commitments and standards. Fourth, the European states and the European Union are facing new challenges and opportunities in international military and economic affairs.  


All students must do the assigned reading. This course will involve extensive class discussion; it will be more a colloquium than a lecture course. Therefore, doing the reading is crucial to doing well. (I reserve the right to distribute unannounced in-class quizzes on the assigned readings for the week.) We will read most of each book assigned.


In addition to course readings, students should follow current events in international affairs. The New York Times, the BBC on-line <>, and National Public Radio (NPR) news broadcasts (on WOI 640 AM and KTPR 91.1 FM) are excellent daily news sources. I will also post items on the course website. The Economist provides a good weekly analysis of world affairs, although with a pro-market slant. Numerous on-line news sources are listed at the course website.


The main course website is at this URL: <>. The WebCT site is used only for participating in the discussion forum, releasing test grades, and posting non-public copyrighted material under fair use provisions. For regular information and relevant links students should monitor the main course website, not the WebCT version.


ISU advises: “If you have a documented disability that requires assistance, you will need to go to the Disability Resource (DR) Office for coordination of your academic accommodations. The DR is located in the Student Services Building, Room 1076. Their phone number is 515-294-6624, TDD 515-294-6335 or email Bea at <>.”


Class Participation: All students should be prepared to participate in class discussions and in the on-line discussion via WebCT. Students are not expected to perform Periclean orations, but everyone should be prepared to discuss the assigned readings, current events, and questions that I pose. Criticisms of points made in readings, by fellow students, and by yours truly are welcome, and debates may emerge among students. Students should respect their classmates’ contributions, and refrain from partisan or parochial philippics. The purpose of these discussions is not to win imaginary debating points, but to learn beyond solitary reading and unexamined listening.


Participation in class and on the WebCT discussion forum is worth 20% of the course grade. Each student has a D as his or her default grade. If students participate well, their grades will be increased. Students who fail to participate or who do so poorly will get a D.  


Written Work: During the term, students will write four essays (roughly one every three weeks) on the reading due for that week (I will divide students into groups with different schedules). Each essay should be 3-4 pages long. I will present topics students might discuss, or a student can choose her own topic. The grading is progressive. The first two essays are worth 15% of the course grade combined (the exact weight for each essay depends on how well the student does on the first essay). The last two essays are each worth 20% of the course grade.


The final exam will be a longer essay based on a question that I present. It is worth 25% of the grade.

Penalties: Students must submit assignments on time. Students may not ‘make-up’ essays at will. There are two exceptions. First, for personal emergencies (e.g., a death in the family, medical problems), students should obtain a note from the dean of students. Second, for students with extra-curricular activities that conflict with in-class assignments, arrangements for an alternate date and time must be made at least a week in advance. The student must provide verification of the activity in order to be eligible for an alternate test appointment. I do not accept notification after the fact (e.g., “I didn’t turn in my paper last week because I had a match”).

A computer mishap will not excuse a late paper. You should make frequent and multiple back-ups of your work (to at least 2 separate removable media), so that you never lose more than one hour’s worth of work. Even if you own a computer, be sure you familiarize yourself with ISU’s computer labs in case your system breaks down.

Grade Components

Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

·        Participation: 20%

·        Term Essays: 55%

·        Final Essay: 25%


Each component will be assigned a letter grade, converted to a grade point, and multiplied by its percentage weighting. I do not accept make-up assignments, re-writing of papers, or extra-credit work.

Academic Honesty

Iowa State University regulations regarding academic honesty will be enforced. See Iowa State University Catalog, “Academic Dishonesty,” p.38-39. The penalty for plagiarism or cheating on tests or exams is failure for the course.


There are three books and two Economist reprints available for purchase for this course at University Bookstore (294.5684) in the Memorial Union and the Campus Bookstore (292.1616), 2300 Lincoln Way. Used versions of some of these books should be available via Internet stores. The books are also on reserve at Parks Library.


  1. William I. Hitchcock, The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent. Random House, 2004 ISBN: 0385497997


  1. T.R. Reid, The United States of Europe. Penguin Press, 2004 ISBN:1594200335


  1. John Peet, “Addio, Dolce Vito: A Survey of Italy,” The Economist. 26 Sep. 2005

  2. Robert Cottrell, “Meet the Neighbors: A Survey of the EU’s Eastern Borders,” The Economist. 25 Jun. 2005.

  3. *M. Donald Hancock, Politics in Europe. 3rd ed. Chatham House, 2003 ISBN: 1889119342


* The fifth book is an optional purchase. There are no assigned readings from it, but it is a useful reference. It is recommended primarily for those students who have not taken Pol S 241.




9  Jan.



11 & 13 Jan.

Post-War Europe

Hitchcock, p.1-97


No Class on 16 Jan., MLK Birthday


18 & 20 Jan.

1950s Europe

Hitchcock, p.127-192


23, 25 & 27 Jan.

1960s Europe

Hitchcock, p.221-268

30 Jan, 1 & 3 Feb.

Resisting Authoritarianism

Hitchcock, p.193-220, 269-310

6, 8 & 10 Feb.

¿Dual Revolutions?

 Hitchcock, p.311-379


13, 15 & 17 Feb.

Europe as an International Actor

Reid, Chap. 1: The Atlantic Widens & Chap. 2: The Invention of Peace (7-62)


21, 23 & 25 Feb.

European Crises

Reid, Chap. 7: Showdown at Capability Gap (177-196)

Hitchcock, p.380-409

27 Feb., 1 & 3 Mar.

 Europe as an Economic Power

Reid, Chap. 3: The Almighty Undollar” (63-87)

Hitchock, p.435-464


6, 8 & 10 Mar.

The European Social Model

Reid, Chap. 6: The European Social Model


Spring Break, 13-17 Mar.


20 Mar.,. (Class cancelled 22 & 24 Mar.)

Parties and Publics, I

John Peet, “Addio, Dolce Vito: A Survey of Italy,” The Economist. 26 Sep. 2005

Ludwig Siegel, “Waiting  for a Wunder: A Survey of Germany,” The Economist. 11 Feb. 2006 via WebCT (Discussion Forum “Economist Reading on Germany”)

3, 5 & 7 Apr

Parties and Publics, II

Alistair Cole, “A Strange Affair: The 2002 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in France," Government & Opposition 37:3 WebCT

Thomas Quinn, "Choosing the Least-Worst Government: The British General Election of 2005" West European Politics 29:1 (Jan. 2006) WebCT

Russell J. Dalton & Steven A. Weldon, "Public Images of Political Parties: A Necessary Evil?" West European Politics 28:5 (Nov, 2005) WebCT



10, 12 & 14 Apr.

Parties and Publics, III

See “Parties & Publics III Readings (3 articles)” on WebCT Discussion Forum

17, 19 & 21 Apr.

Pan-European Identity

Reid, Chap. 8: Generation E (p.197-226)

Hitchcock, p.410-434

24, 26 & 28 Apr.

Can the EU Expand?

Robert Cottrell, “Meet the Neighbors: A Survey of the EU’s Eastern Borders,” The Economist. 25 Jun. 2005.