West European Studies
| Modern European Politics & Society
W301 | 4096 | Hoffman
Meets TR 1:00-2:15 Woodburn Hall 121
Meets with POLS Y335.
Obtain on-line authorization for above section from department.
This course will be a comparative overview of the political systems in
Western Europe since 1945. Although the postwar period will be the
primary focus for the course, the approach will be historical and
comparative, and attention will be given to such transforming events
as the French revolution, the post World War I "Versailles" period,
the Yalta settlement, Marshall Plan, etc. We will individually cover
the four European members of the G-7 group of nations: Great Britain,
France, Germany and Italy. Unlike many survey courses on Western
Europe, we will also cover Spain, previously viewed as being a
"peripheral" European nation, in the context of the Spanish transition
to democracy. We will study political parties and the nature of
politics in multiparty legislative systems and we will understand the
workings of various parliamentary systems of government.
The 1990s have been a turbulent decade of fundamental social,
cultural, and political change in Europe. Particular emphasis will be
placed on this post-Cold War period. In addition to our study of
interest groups, political culture, and new social movements such as
environmental groups, we will place particular emphasis on two quite
pressing issues in Europe today: Immigration and the various
responses to it, as well as the issues surrounding European
Integration such as the common currency and EU expansion to the east.
Nationalism and regionalism, such as devolution to Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland in Britain, will also be covered, especially in
the current events readings and discussions.
Readings will be taken from a textbook on European politics, current
events media, a novel, as well as theoretical and substantive
political and cultural analyses. All readings will be available for
purchase locally. Applying the theoretical and substantive material to
day-to-day politics (elections, strikes, governmental responses to
social issues) should keep the course material interesting and
relevant. Students wishing to get a head start on the material can
contact me for a preliminary syllabus in November (email: cmhoffma).
To mitigate the poor coverage of European affairs in the United States
news and television media, the French news on SCOLA and the Europe and
Britain sections of The Economist will be required. I am currently in
the process of setting up a web page for the course that will provide
a wealth of links to European media outlets and other useful websites.
All Graduate students (who must register under W301) will be expected
to engage in sustained research and prepare a seminar paper on an