GOV365N: European Union/ Regional Integration
Professor: Zeynep Somer-Topcu, PhD
Office: BAT 3.124
Office hours: T-Th 2:30pm-4pm, or by appointment
From the European Coal and Steel Community of six countries, the European Union has grown to be composed of 27 member states. It is governed by an ever-growing and strengthening set of political institutions. Member states share common economic and social policies, a common foreign and security policy, and (for some member states at least) a common currency, the Euro. They are also together suffering through the current economic recession.
This course provides students with a general introduction to the politics, history, governing structure, and policies of the European Union. The course begins with an overview of the theories and the evolution of European integration. We will then look at how the EU is governed, and where the power lies. Finally, we will survey important European-level policies and issues, and conclude with a discussion on the future of the EU.
By the end of the semester, students should be familiar with:
a) The history of the European Union starting with the early history after the World War II and the developments throughout the years from the European Community of six countries to the European Union of twenty-seven.
b) The main theories and conceptual approaches used to explain and make sense of the European integration process.
c) The composition, structures, and functioning of the main EU institutions (the European Commission, the Councils, the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice)
d) The European elections to the European Parliament and the democratic deficit problem
e) The European Union policies and its areas of regulation from agriculture to monetary policies and foreign policies of the European Union.
Class participation: 5%
In-class quizzes x2 10% each
In-class midterm exam 25%
In-class debate 20%
Final exam 30%
Attendance is NOT required. However, the exams will heavily rely on what we will discuss in class. I make the power-point slides available after class (on Canvas). However, there are more details beyond the slides we will discuss in class, and you will be responsible of those details in the exam. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to come to class.
While attendance is NOT required, I would like to strongly emphasize the following two points:
- Given that some of you may be on the other side of the campus for an earlier class, you can be a few minutes late to the class. However, you should not be late to class for more than a few minutes (unless there is a exceptional circumstance like an exam, which should be notified in advance). Please do not be late and disturb the class.
- You are NOT allowed to leave the class early. If you must leave early this can happen only once or twice during the semester. You must let me know in advance and can only leave within the last 10 minutes of the class.
Class Participation (5%)
Class participation is different from attendance. Throughout the course students are encouraged to raise questions and relevant discussion topics in class, and expected to contribute to class discussions. Students are expected to do the assigned readings before we discuss the topic in class, and arrive at class ready to discuss the readings.
Note that I make a distinction between attendance and participation. Attending every class, without ever speaking up or turning these assignments, does not constitute participation. If you do so, you will receive 60 points (D-) for this part of the class. To receive more credit for participation, students are required to ask questions, raise issues, express opinions, etc. regarding the topics covered.
I reserve the right to occasionally call your name to discuss a topic or answer a question.
Two Short-Quizzes (10% each)
This is a course with a lot of factual information on European politics and the European Union. There will be two in-class short quizzes that will check your facts. These quizzes will NOT be cumulative. Each quiz will be composed of multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and bullet point questions, and last about 30-45 minutes (at most) at the beginning of the assigned class period.
If you are late to the class you will NOT be given extra time to complete the quiz. Make-up quizzes will not be offered except in extremely rare circumstances. These extremely rare circumstances require a doctor’s note or a note from the Dean’s office. If you have an unanticipated emergency that causes you to miss the exam, contact me as soon as possible.
Midterm exam (25%)
The exam will have two parts: the first half of the exam will be like the first quiz and test your facts since the first quiz (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, bullet point questions). The second part of the exam will be composed of one-page essays and will cover all the material since the beginning of the class. The exam date is listed in the schedule below. If you foresee problems with the exam date, see me after class, during office hours, or contact me by e-mail before the assigned dates.
Make-up exam will not be offered except in extremely rare circumstances. These extremely rare circumstances require a doctor’s note or a note from the Dean’s office. If you have an unanticipated emergency that causes you to miss the exam, contact me as soon as possible.
In-Class Debates (20%):
Each student, as a member of a team, will be responsible for debating one of the topics from the list below. A sign-up sheet for the debate teams will be made available in the second week of the classes. If you do not sign up you will be randomly assigned to a group.
Debates are of the form “yes/no”, where one side supports an initiative or idea and the other side does not. There will be three students in each debate team. After you sign-up for a topic, I will randomly assign you to the “yes” or “no” side of the debate.
You are expected to do the background preparation necessary to be informed about your topic and to address questions from the debate moderator and audience. Each team will receive a grade given the group’s debate performance. In addition, each student will receive a grade based on his/her solo presentation performance. Your final debate grade will be calculated using these two separate grades.
Final exam (30%)
The details of the final exam will be made available later in the semester.
The following book is available for purchase at the bookstore:
Cini, Michelle, Nieves Perez-Solorzano Borragan. European Union Politics. Oxford University Press. 5th edition (2016). ISBN : 9780198708933
There will be additional required articles/chapters for some classes. These readings are denoted with an asterisk (**) in the syllabus, and will be available on Canvas in advance.