PSC 150 – Political Systems of the World
Department of Political Science
Office: 990 W. Fullerton #2108
Office Hour: Tu 2-3, 4:45-5:45
The purpose of this course is to investigate different political systems that have existed (or ceased to
exist in some cases) in the modern era.
In particular, the focus of the course is on liberal democracy and its
various rivals – often eventual losers – such as Nazism, Fascism, Communism, and other non-democratic
forms of regimes, governments and institutions.
Readings for the course include prominent works of
leading scholars in political science such as Robert Dahl, Adam Przeworski, Robert Putnam, J. P. Nettle,
Mancur Olson, Susanne Rudolph, Samuel Huntington and Philippe Schmitter.
The course is organized into 10 sessions.
In addition to lecture, the mode of the course is what I call
For each session, I bring a list of key concepts, ideas, theories and other issues
related to the assigned readings.
Going through the list, I pose a host of questions and debatable
propositions based on the readings.
In response, students are expected to actively participate in the
discussion of these critical issues.
To avoid “chaos,” discussion during the session is structured as it
progresses along the list that I have prepared in advance.
To avoid “indoctrination,” however, class is
conducted in a discussion mode, not as a lecture.
Through this mutually interactive process, it is hoped that
students acquire both proper understanding of the assigned readings and the ability to critically evaluate
The grade for the course is based on class participation (20%), a take-home midterm (40%) and a take-