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Project Goals, Methods, Expectations

Page history last edited by Kevin Deegan-Krause 14 years, 7 months ago

Project Schedule

In other classes they call this a "syllabus" but we will be more ambitious.  We will not just collect and consume.  We will learn and produce.



This class will take us to Mozambique to learn what democracy looks like in other contexts than our own.  As the name of the course suggests, its goal is to challenge our preconceptions of Africa, of democracy and even of what it means to take a college course.  No one participant in this course is an expert in all of its aspects and so this more than any other course will be an exercise in cooperation and mutual education.



The course is designed to help you achieve the following six objectives:

  • To acquire some additional facts about the world in which we live, particularly about Africa and Mozambique in particular.
  • To understand the basic concepts that political scientists use to study the world.
  • To be able to apply the concepts you learn in class to understand what is happening in the world.
  • To express yourself well, both in writing and in video/audio. This includes both a clear, engaging style and organization that gets to the point yet does not oversimplify.
  • To think and work with others.  This means using the full potential of various kinds of in-person and electronic conversations to learn more than you could on your own.
  • To learn how to learn.  This includes an ability to research a topic and find out what you need to know from all available sources: books, articles, video, audio and most of all, people themselves.



Every class period will demand full participation.  On regular occasions I will offer brief lectures to clarify points that you cannot be expected to know, but even then I will rely heavily on you to connect the dots and draw the necessary conclusions that you can share with the class.  The assignments will force you to go out into the world and test the bounds of conventional wisdom.  The group assignments will develop your ability to work collaboratively and will also test the ability of the new technologies to assist in that effort.  The writing assignments will challenge you to think more deeply about particular topics covered in the course and to apply what you have learned to new situations. They will also help you develop your ability to conduct research, construct cogent arguments and write with clarity and precision, and to work together with people to achieve those goals.



The following list of assignments and expectations should give you an idea of what you will need to do in this course and how I will evaluate your work:


Assignment Due Date

Individual Work: You will track your developing thoughts with a series of weekly blog entries that address (but need not be limited to) the blog topic for the week.  At the end of the semester you will submit an individual project that addresses the relationship between the course content and your own life and experience in a coherent presentation, either in writing or in some other medium.

Blog entries


Final individual project December 18 20%
Group Project: You will work with a small group of 3-5 students on a particular question related to the politics, economics, culture or related aspect of Mozambique's 2009 election.  Groups will form in the first two weeks of class, consult with he instructor about the appropriateness of the theme, develop plans for investigating the theme while in Mozambique, do the investigating, and then prepare a coherent presentation for submission, either in writing or in some other medium. Final group project December 18 20%

Class Project:  The class will work together to gather materials and begin, after the return from Mozambique, to shape those materials for inclusion into the final video presentation.

Final class project

December 18


In-Class Expression: I will evaluate your responsiveness classroom discussion.  I will expect you to be capable at any time of voicing intelligent opinions based on prior reading.   Part of your participation will be occasional presentations.  While I will not assign these a separate grade, I will be glad to offer written or oral feedback if you request it.

Daily Participation

Every day


Group Presentations

To be scheduled

Attendance: Class attendance is mandatory. If you must be late or absent, please contact an instructor immediately.


Throughout the semester

Sine qua non


Failure to complete any of the required assignments will result in a grade of F.






Every student should have the best possible chance to engage in learning. If you are registered with the Educational Accessibility Services (EAS) office, please see me during the first week of class so that we can determine how I can help you. Please bring your paperwork from EAS to our meeting.



This course will make as much use as possible of electronic resources.  Many readings below, therefore, will require you to follow links to internal- or external- sites containing the relevant text.  In some cases, furthermore, I will ask you to use on-line databases such as JSTOR and Project Muse to which Wayne State subscribes. These are available from any on-campus computer and with off-campus computers that are correctly configured .


You are responsible for downloading material at least one week before so that you are not caught out by a dead link or other error. If you have problems with downloading any material, contact me immediately so that I can find some way to get you a copy that you can read before class.


While it is not technically part of the course, I will also ask you to follow contemporary political developments in the U.S. and elsewhere.  To keep you up to date, you may find it helpful to subscribe to the New York Times Online and to The Economist weekly political review and to follow, via RSS a variety of blogs and websites available at the course's net hub: http://www.netvibes.com/adpm.  These are free and they represent a better way spend your precious media-time than attending to most newspapers, and commercial radio and television networks.  (In fact there are few human activities less useful than watching TV news).

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