European Union Law and Politics
Political Science 395, Fall 2011
Wednesday 10:55-1:55, Center for European Studies, Seminar Room
Office: Center for European Studies, Office Hours: Wednesday 2-4pm, or by appointment
Phone: (732) 932-1920, E-mail:
Course Description and Objectives
In this course, we will analyze the politics, institutions
and policies of the European Union (EU). Throughout the course we will focus on the
relationship between law and politics, examining both how politics influences the law and how
the law influences politics.
In particular, we will analyze the central role that European law has
played in supporting the process of European integration.
We will review the basic structure and
operation of the EU and introduce the dominant political science theories used to explain
European integration in general, and the process of legal integration in particular.
We will also
examine a number of areas of EU law and public policy, including the basic principles of EU
(constitutional) law, the internal market, social policy, equal treatment of the sexes, and human
The course will provide students with an understanding of the structure and operation of the EU
and its legal system and will introduce them to a number of salient policy issues facing the EU.
Students will gain understanding of why the EU came into being, how it has evolved, how it
works and gain an appreciation for a number of the most pressing issues facing the EU today.
Examining the interaction of law and politics in the EU will provide students with more general
insights into the role of courts in democratic political systems.
6 Brief Reaction Essays (60%):
Over the course of the semester, students must write six
brief reaction essays (of 1000-1200 words):
Each essay must respond to one of the questions posed on the syllabus (in
below) concerning a particular week's readings (students must include the question at
the top of their essay).
Students must bring a hard copy of their essay with them to the relevant class
session. (They may also submit an electronic copy via Sakai for other students to read
the night before class, but this is not obligatory.)
Essays must demonstrate familiarity with the readings for the week (i.e. make
reference to the readings, agree or disagree with arguments made in them)
Essays should answer the question the student selects, while demonstrating
understanding of the readings for the week. The essays should not provide a
summary of the readings, but should instead engage (ie analyze/ agree or disagree)
with the arguments made in the readings.
(40 % of final grade): Active participation is vital to the success of this
seminar. Participation takes many forms:
The first element of participation is attendance.
Absences will impact your
participation grade. If you expect to miss any class, please use the University absence
reporting website //