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Comparative Country Project

Components of the Comparative Country Project

Students will select two European countries to research throughout the semester.  Students should choose one “Western” European country and one “Eastern” European country from the list below.


Western European CountriesEastern European Countries
United KingdomLithuania
IrelandCzech Republic
LiechtensteinTurkey (?)


The comparative country project is worth 40% of students’ overall grades in the course.  There are three main components of the comparative country project:

  1. Short response paper (~5 pages double-spaced) (10%)
  2. Creative Project (includes a creative project, accompanying response paper, and conference) (30%)




  1. Short Response Paper


In addition to the weekly research questions, students will write ONE short response paper about their comparative countries.  Students will choose between two topics:  (1) Importing “lessons from Europe” on structuring the executive and parliamentary branches of government in the United States OR (2) a comparative analysis of the effects of the European Union on national politics in the country cases.  Students will receive response paper topics and grading rubrics at least four weeks before the due date.  The paper is worth 10% of students’ grades.  Students may choose whichever topic is most interesting to them, but are required to adhere to the deadlines for each topic.


Papers are due on the following dates:


Short responses papers must be typed using 12-point font, stapled, one-inch margins, and should not exceed 5 double-spaced pages.  Late response papers will receive a 5-point grade penalty for each day the paper is late.


The weekly discussion questions will help prepare students to write the short response papers.



  1. Comparative Country Project



The weekly discussion questions and short response paper will help prepare students for the comparative country project and conference.  Students will creatively compare a contemporary issue in their country cases using one of the following modes:

  • Internal political party memos (discussing strategy, policy, public opinion, etc.)
  • Poem
  • Drawing or painting
  • Short story
  • Transcript of a fictional interview
  • Video
  • Blog post
  • Op-ed in a newspaper or journal
  • Other ideas (the instructor is open to hearing your ideas—please don’t be limited to these modes listed above)



The creative document should provide a comparative political commentary on a contemporary issue in students’ country cases.  Contemporary issues include but are not limited to immigration, populism, the European Union, relations with the United States, relations with Russia, recent elections, responses to terrorism, the environment, etc.


Students are strongly encouraged to pick a creative mode that excites them—you do NOT have to be a good poet to write an A-worthy poem for this course, you do NOT need to be a good artist to draw an A-worthy drawing, and you do NOT need to be a published author to write a good fictional story.  When creating your project, please work in close consultation with the rubric to ensure you are adequately meeting all expectations and requirements. Have fun with this project!


While students are encouraged to be creative in their final comparative project, students are also expected to show respect for the culture and customs in their comparative case countries.  I strongly encourage students to consult with the instructor if there is every any doubt or question about whether or not a creative idea may be perceived as disrespectful by others.  We learn by asking and having conversations, and the instructor openly invites all students to join in discussions and conversations.


In addition to the creative document, students will write a short (three-pages double-spaced maximum) paper to accompany their creative document(s).  The short paper should describe how the creative document(s) compares and summarizes the contemporary issue in their country case studies.


Rough draft of creative document(s) is due by:

While the rough draft is ungraded, late rough-drafts will receive a 5% grade penalty on the comparative country project for each day the rough draft is late.


Final draft of creative document(s) and short response paper is due at the Comparative Country Conference on:

Late assignments will receive a 5% grade penalty for each day the assignment is late.  The final draft and accompanying short paper is worth 30% of the students’ overall grades.


The comparative country project will culminate in a conference that will take place on the last day of class.  Students will present their projects in small groups, in a poster-session like setting.  We will discuss the parameters of the conference throughout the semester.  Students’ active participation (both presenting and listening) in the conference is worth 10% of their overall grade.


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