Political Science | West European Politics
Y335 | 9823 | McFillen
In the 16th century, Western Europe was mostly a conglomeration of
city-states, networks of local strongmen controlled (loosely) by
dynastic rulers, and territories run by the Catholic Church. Over
the course of five centuries, this region transformed into nation-
states; diverged into absolutist and constitutional monarchies;
expanded into transnational empires conquering and/or colonizing much
of the rest of the world; pounded itself to rubble in two massive
wars; struggled to achieve democracy, prosperity, and peace while
under the threat of Soviet domination; and has today managed to
incorporate most of its countries into a 25-member, supranational
form of government unique in the world.
Given all this extraordinary, world-altering change, how
could anyone with the slightest curiosity about politics not take an
interest in Western Europe? And, besides, they have pretty good
bread and cheese – not to mention beer.
This class will look at the political institutions that
govern Western Europe, the issues that confront them, and how we can
seek to understand these phenomena through cross-national comparison
and theory. Special emphasis will be placed on the three most
economically and politically powerful European nation-states –
France, Germany, and Great Britain – as well as the European Union.
Others will be examined as well, as time permits. Expect to do
plenty of reading and discussion.
Patrick Dunleavy, Andrew Gamble, Richard Heffernan, and Gillian
Peele, Eds. Developments in British Politics 7, 7th Ed. (NY: Palgrave-
MacMillan, 2003). ISBN: 0-333-98705-5
Stephen Padgett, William E. Paterson, and Gordon Smith, Eds.
Developments in German Politics 3, 3rd Ed. (Chapel Hill, NC: Duke
University Press, 2003). ISBN: 0-822-33266-3
Anne Sa’adah. Contemporary France: A Democratic Education. (Lanham,
MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). ISBN: 0-7425-0198-1
Michelle Cini, Ed. European Union Politics. (Oxford, UK: Oxford
University Press, 2003). ISBN: 0-19-924836-2