Politics 370W Europe and the International System
Fall Semester 2016
Walton Hall Room 21
MWF 11:30–12:30
Course Web Page: http://www.willamette.edu/~mmarks/poli-370.htm

Prof. Michael Marks
Office: Smullin 332
Office Tel. 503–370–6932
Politics Dept. Tel. 503–370–6060
E-mail: mmarks@willamette.edu
Home Page: http://www.willamette.edu/~mmarks
Office Hours: MWF: 8:00–9:00, 10:15–11:15, and by appointment.

Course Description

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage in an in-depth study of politics and foreign policy in modern Europe. Through in-class discussions, research, and writing students will  examine the changing political structures, contexts, and relationships within, between, and among countries in post-Cold War Europe. Special emphasis is placed on the evolving relationships among European countries in a rapidly changing international environment. The purpose of the course is to help students make sense out of the changes sweeping Europe by understanding these changes in theoretical and historical perspective. Through readings, in-class discussions, and hands-on research students will explore the political, economic, and security policies in European states as well as Europe’s interactions with the rest of the world.

This class fulfils in part the writing-centered component of Willamette’s undergraduate general education requirements. The main writing project is an analytical essay that will be developed over multiple drafts. Therefore, this course provides an excellent opportunity for Politics and International Studies majors to prepare for their senior theses in these majors.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course students should be able to write an analytical essay that evaluates competing perspectives on the nature of European politics and policy using empirical evidence. In the essay each student should effectively demonstrate the ability to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of theories of European integration.
2. Identify major historical trends in European foreign relations.
3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competing arguments for European integration and European foreign policy.
4. Write a research paper that is well written, well organized, states a clear and cogent thesis, and that is supported by logical arguments and relevant evidence.

Time Commitment for This Course

Willamette’s Credit Hour Policy holds that for every hour of class time there is an expectation of 2–3 hours work outside of class. Thus, for a class meeting three hours a week such as this one you should anticipate spending 6–9 hours outside of class engaged in course-related activities. For this course you should allocate your time among the following three activities: Reading the assigned texts, reading newspapers and/or online news resources on topics relevant to the class, researching and writing the multiple drafts of the research paper.

Course Organization

Classroom format will consist of a combination of instructor-led lessons and student discussions. Class attendance is mandatory. Given the collaborative nature of the research paper process, students are expected to participate in offering guidance and feedback to their peers. Peer editing is a requirement of this writing-centered class. In addition, attendance at other students’ oral presentations is mandatory. The instructor thus reserve the right to raise final grades for superior classroom participation, and lower final grades for unpreparedness, disruptiveness, and deficient classroom attendance.

Electronic Devices in the Classroom

Laptop computers can assist in note taking and wireless Internet access on campus can aid in organized classroom exercises. However, laptop computers can also be a classroom distraction. Laptop computers are permitted in class for note taking purposes. Additionally, there may be occasions when the class as a whole may want to use the campus wireless network to look things up online. However, please refrain from checking e-mail, online chatting, websurfing, game playing, etc. during class. If you are observed doing so during class time, you will asked to no longer bring your laptop to class. Additionally, cell phones should be turned off prior to class.


Students requiring accommodation should contact the Office of Accessible Education Services (Student Success Hub in Matthews Hall, Phone: 503–370–6737) for consultation and to make the necessary arrangements.

Written and Oral Assignments

The main written assignment for this course is an iterated analytical essay utilizing course readings, additional theoretical literature as necessary, and empirical evidence in the form of historical or current events in the area of European integration, politics, and foreign policy. Empirical evidence for the paper can be acquired simply by reading daily news accounts of European integration, politics, and policy. Additionally, students can find ample information about European integration, politics, and policy through books and articles readily available in the Hatfield Library and online as well as newspaper and other news organization archives also readily available via library and online resources.

The theme of the paper should elaborate on how best to understand the nature of European integration. That is to say, the paper’s thesis should finish the sentence: “European integration is best understood…” There are an infinite number of ways of answering this question which allows students to tailor their paper to their interests regarding European politics and policy. For example, one thesis might be “European integration is best understood through the perspective of functionalist theories of regional integration.” Another possible thesis might be “European integration is best understood as a process that involves periods of rapid change followed by periods of relative stasis.” Another thesis might be “European integration is best understood as a process led by those EU states with the most power.” Yet another thesis might be “European integration is best understood in terms of multiple levels of governance.” More information on how to craft a thesis for the analytical paper can be found in a separate hand-out provided by the instructor (also available online).

There is no required minimum or maximum length for each draft of the paper. There is an old adage (variously attributed to Abraham Lincoln or J. D. Salinger) that, in answer to the question “how long should a man’s legs be?,” the answer is “long enough to reach the ground.” In other words, your paper should be long enough to accomplish its task (no longer, and no shorter). Having said that, it is most likely that a good first draft will range between 2000 and 4000 words (7 to 13 pages), a good second draft probably will fall into the 3000 to 5000 word range (10 to 17 pages), and a good final draft most will most likely run between 4000 to 6000 words (13 to 20 pages), all give or take. Each draft of the paper should include a title (on a title page), an abstract, and a bibliography.

Students will also be required to make an oral presentation of their paper to the rest of the class.

Additional information about the paper and oral presentation will be made available on the separate hand-out provided by the instructor.

Grading and Policy on Academic Honesty

Incompletes will only be given under exceptional circumstances such as serious illness. You may appeal any of your grades during office hours only after you have handed in a typed, reasoned memorandum detailing the specific reasons why you think the grade you received is not justified.

Late writing assignments will be assessed a one-third grade penalty per day (e.g., a B+ paper handed in a day late receives a B). Early submissions of assignments are gladly accepted.

The final grade will be determined as follows: First draft 25%; Second draft 30%; Final draft 35%; Oral presentation 10%.

Everything you turn in must be your own written work. You may not copy, borrow, or appropriate other authors’ work. Reference to other people’s ideas must include attribution. All references to other authors’ work must be fully documented in the form of citations and/or footnotes, and direct quotes must be indicated as such with quotation marks. Suspected cases of plagiarism will be pursued vigorously and appropriate penalties (including an “F” for the course) will be applied.

Willamette's Plagiarism and Cheating Policy

Required Readings

Students should purchase the following books:

1. Brent F. NELSEN and Alexander STUBB (eds.), The European Union: Readings on the Theory and Practice of European Integration (fourth edition). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2014.

2. Ben TONRA and Thomas CHRISTIANSEN (eds.), Rethinking European Union Foreign Policy. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.

The readings are noted below as “NELSEN & STUBB” and “TONRA & CHRISTIANSEN,” respectively.

Course Schedule and Weekly Reading Assignments

August 29–31: Introduction

No Readings

September 2–9:  European Integration I

NELSEN & STUBB: Chapters 14–17

September 12–16: European Integration II

NELSEN & STUBB: Chapters 18–20

September 19–23: European Integration III

NELSEN & STUBB: Chapters 21–24

September 26–30: European Integration IV

NELSEN & STUBB: Chapters 25–28

October 3–7: European Integration V

NELSEN & STUBB: Chapters 29–32


October 10–14: Issues in European Integration

Students should bring to class for each class session this week at least one news article (from a newspaper, news magazine, or online news source) about a recent or current issue regarding European integration. The emphasis should be on the processes and policies of European integration including the institutions of the European Union, political participation and interest group representation in the EU, the dynamics of EU decision- and policy-making, economic policy, monetary policy, agricultural policy, social policy, regional policy, other policy areas, etc. Note: There will be an opportunity to discuss the foreign and security policy of the EU later in the semester. Students should wait to bring in article on those topics until that time.

October 17–21: European Foreign Policy I


October 24–28: European Foreign Policy II



October 31–November 4: European Foreign Policy III



November 7–11: Issues in European Foreign Policy

Students should bring to class for each class session this week at least one news article (from a newspaper, news magazine, or online news source) about a recent or current issue regarding European foreign policy. The emphasis should be on European foreign and security policy, not the processes of European integration which were covered earlier in the semester.

November 14–18: Issues in European Foreign Policy/Student Oral Presentations

See instructions from last week.

November 21–25: Thanksgiving Break

No classes.

November 28–December 2: Student Oral Presentations

No readings

December 5–9: Student Oral Presentations

No readings

DECEMBER 7: FINAL DRAFT OF PAPER DUE (including abstract)