Course Syllabus

PSC 473: Politics and Media in England

Summer 2006


Syracuse University

Division of International Programs Abroad


Professor Mehrzad Boroujerdi                                                                                      Telephone: (315) 443-5877

Department of Political Science                                                                                     Fax: (315) 443-9082

Syracuse University                                                                                            

Syracuse, New York 13244                                                                                                      


Prerequisites:  None


Objectives: The primary goal of the course is to provide students with access to the thinking and beliefs of individuals who are involved in media, politics and economics in Great Britain.  The setting for this program is the spectacular and cosmopolitan city of London, which is one of the truly beautiful cities of the world. 


This course is different from those found in university curriculums that rely on written texts. In addition to articles and books, the lectures on history and theory are vital parts of the course. However, our primary resources are in-depth interviews of activist intellectuals and practitioners.  These individuals, who are often key figures in government and in the opposition to government, or belong to think tanks, the media, and universities, are not distant surveyors of data and argument.  They typically have strong convictions drawn from intimate involvement in practices, and want to convince students (and others) of the rightness of their views by sharing their understandings of political realities.  The goal of the course is to use the best instructional frameworks available to absorb and analyze the views offered by the individuals we interview. 


Issues for summer 2006 include the succession issue within the Labour Party, the reinvention of the Conservative Party, security versus civil liberties post 7/7/05, Education Policy, Enlargement of European Union, globalization, ethnic cleavages, the continuing war in Iraq, and a broad range of topics in the media (broadly conceived to include print, television, radio and film).


Description: The seminar begins with 30-35 hours of lectures on British politics and media in the first week.  At the end of this week, we usually travel to Oxford to see a debate in the Oxford Union, the most famous debating society in the world.  Then, for the next four weeks, the group interviews individuals, roughly eight interviews per week for a total of thirty-two.  Many of the interviews take place at Westminster in committee rooms that are closed to the general public. Others are held in the editorial boardrooms of leading newspapers, and in the offices of prominent intellectuals and academics.  Some take place in the Syracuse University center.


The reading material for the course consists of one textbook – Contemporary British Politics (4th edition) by Bill Coxall, Lynton Robins, Robert Leach (Palgrave Macmillan 2003) - and relevant articles drawn from academic journals, magazines and newspapers.  Students are encouraged to read at least two newspapers a day and follow current events on television.  The program chair also organizes informal discussions during the week to help students prepare for the interview sessions.


Course Title: PSC 470: Experience Credit (three credit hours). Undergraduate students who complete the program may stay in London for an internship with media, political, or public service organizations.  Internship placements will be assigned based on availability as well as the interests and qualifications of the student.  A specific official in each organization will supervise students and provide the program chair with a written evaluation of the student’s performance at the end of the internship period.  Students who choose this option are introduced to their placement supervisors during the final two weeks of the seminar and are expected to work full-time, five days a week for at least five weeks thereafter (from July 10 to August 11).


In previous summers we have placed students in internships at Amnesty International, APTV, CNBC, Electoral Reform Society, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, the Law Society, IPC Magazines, the London Towers (a professional basketball team), MORI, Museums and Gallery Magazine, National Campaign for the Arts, National Opinion Polling, NBC News, the New Statesman, the NHS Trust (health care),  Princess TV Productions, Raindance, Spectrum Radio, Theatre Museum (at Covent Garden), United Nations Association, USA Today, Voice of America, World Radio Network, and the Labour and Conservative Parties in both Party headquarters and Parliamentary offices.


Requirements and Evaluations: All undergraduate students are given an examination (which is primarily diagnostic) at the end of the first week of lectures.  A final exam is given to undergraduates on the last day of the course.  The course grade in PSC 473 (Politics and Media in England) is based on the final exam and contributions to the interview sessions.  Undergraduate students who select the internship option are given an additional grade for PSC 470 (Experience Credit).  This grade is based on the organization supervisor's evaluation and the student's personal diary. 


Dates of the Course:


                        May 30, 2006 (Program begins)

                        June 5 - June 9 (lectures on British institutions)

                        June 12 - July 6 (in-depth interviews with speakers)

                        July 7 -- final exam and end-of-term program dinner

                        July 10 - August 11 (optional undergraduate internships)


For more information on this Program and the Program Director see:  

Additional Useful Links:

Where have interns been placed in the past?

Adam Smith Institute

Amnesty International

Associated Press Television News (APTN)


BBC Short Film Festival

Billboard Magazine

British Youth Council

Centre for Economic Policy Research

Center for the Study of Financial Innovation


Commission for Racial Equality


Conservative Party (The)

Corporate TV Networks Ltd.


Economist Intelligence Unit

Electoral Reform Society

European Movement

European Parliament

Focus Information Services

Garden Inspirations

House of Commons

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

International Record Review

IPC (Magazines)

Jane’s (defense and international security affairs publisher)

Labour Party (The)

Law Society (The)

Liberal Democrats Youth and Students

Lion Television Ltd.

London Magazine

London Towers (Basketball Team)

Market and Opinion Research International (MORI)

National Campaign for the Arts

National Opinion Polling

NBC News

New Statesman

Newsweek International

NHS Trust (health care)

Princess Productions

Professional Development Foundation

Raindance Film Festival

Reuters Group PLC

Royal College of Psychiatrists (Drayton Park Center for Women)

Spectrum Radio

Spinal Injuries Association

The Independent on Sunday

Theatre Museum (at Covent Garden)

Time-Life Magazine

United International Pictures

United Nations Association

USA Today

Voice of America

Web User

Woman and Home

World Radio Network

Y Care International




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