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Comparative Governance as a Design Exercise

Mondays, 4:00 - 6:50 pm
Dr. Wendy L. Schultz

Course Description | Assignments


  • Brief, three-page, bullet-point comparisons of two of the following: 1) the ideologies considered; 2) the systems and components of governance reviewed; 3) the styles of representation and participation reviewed; and 4) the approaches to citizenship and leadership (i.e., two brief comparative reports total) -- 20% of final grade;
  • Book report (5 pages) on one classic utopia, reviewed with reference to Kanter's and Shenker's analyses of intentional communities, written and presented to the class -- 20% of final grade;
  • Book report (5 pages) analyzing cultural, economic, and political structures embedded in one speculative fiction novel, written and presented to class -- 20% of final grade;
  • Team project designing governance/economic/cultural system for future human colony, with presentation to class (written document about 12-16 pp. from group) -- 20% of final grade;
  • Description of participant's own preferred political, economic, and cultural future, 5 pages -- 20% of final grade.

Formats: comparisons may be essays, bullet points, tables or graphics. Book report style sheet is attached. Team design project and participant preference report formats will be finalized after class discusses and decides on design parameters for governance systems.


Header: Author. Name of the Book. Place published: publisher, date of publication. Number of pages.

Body: After stating all the pertinent information listed above, a book review should contain at least a paragraph (conventionally at least four sentences long) on each of the following:

  1. why you picked that book to review (liked the cover? friend recommended it? threw darts at the book list? came to you in a dream?);

  2. brief summary of the plot or narrative: this will certainly take more than one paragraph, but should take less than six -- do, however, mention crucial information like the main character's name, where and when the action takes place, etc.;

  3. describe as best you can, from what the author describes outright or implies, a) what system of governance exists in this future; b) what the characteristics of the economic system are (production, distribution, currency); c) strong underlying values or social assumptions -- each of these will require at least one paragraph.

  4. describe as best you can, from what the author describes outright or implies, how this society was created out of the present-day, or conditions like the present day. Was the transition peaceful or violent? A matter of the exile of a group of like-minded folks? A gradual evolution in social, economic, and political structures?

  5. Imagine yourself living in the culture of this book. What are its strengths and weaknesses? Advantages and disadvantages? What does it feel like to you -- do you like it?

  6. Finally, tell us if the author wrote the story well -- did you enjoy the book overall?

This looks like requirements for a ten-page paper, but trust me, it isn't. Be concise; try just sketching succinctly the author's key thoughts and your impressions. YOUR IMPRESSIONS are critical -- and don't just say you like or didn't like some aspect of this future, say WHY. Be as specific as possible; citing descriptive phrases from the work helps.

One more thing: I am a compulsive editor, and it is possible that your book report will be returned to you with red corrections all over it. THIS WILL IN NO WAY AFFECT YOUR GRADE, WHICH IS BASED SOLELY ON CONTENT. On the other hand, experience tells me that salable skills in business include the ability to write clearly, logically, and, where possible, elegantly. This editing service is extended as an aid to improving your writing skills. If you have any questions, or are totally outraged, please come talk. WLS


> Resources > Course Syllabi > Intro | Classics | Systems | Methods | Facilitation | Governance | Images | World | Leadership

15 February 2003. Email IF.
Copyright © 2003, Wendy L. Schultz
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