PO350 Special Topics in Politics:

for S1J 2007

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PO 350 Special Topics in Politics


S1J 2007 PV


Brecke, Ronald





Office Location

Mackay 20A

Office Hours

One half-hour before class, after class as needed; M, 10-11; T, 11:30-1:30; R, 11:30-1:30; F, 10-11.

Daytime Phone




Web Page


Semester Dates


Class Days


Class Time

5:30 - 9:50 PM

Credit Hours




Karnow, Vietnam, 2nd or 3rd edition

Ely, War and Responsibility


Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:
In-depth examination of a selected issue in politics and government. 3:0:3

This course is a special topics course; it is an attempt to provide information about Vietnam, the Vietnam War, and the role of the United States in it. This will not simply be a chronology of events during the Vietnam War. This course will contain elements of such a chronology, but it will also go far beyond it.


This course will endeavor to give answers to some vexing questions surrounding Vietnam. We will try to gain an understanding of: the history of Vietnam; the forces which drew America into conflict there; the assumptions we made about fighting the war and the consequences of those assumptions; the forces in Vietnam, the world and at home which led to the American withdrawal; and finally, the aftermath of the war in Indochina as well as in American foreign policy and domestic politics. The course will help the student draw conclusions about the constitutionality of such armed conflict since Vietnam. References will also be made to our current situation in Iraq.


For those who put forth more than a nominal effort in this course, the rewards can be much greater than a mere grade. Those students who develop their critical thinking abilities, understand a major influence upon recent American history, and perhaps, decide to become active citizens in support of the conclusions they reach from participating in this course.

Educational Philosophy:

 The facilitator’s educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web sites and writings. The facilitator will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.

Class Assessment:




You have a choice in paper assignments. You can do two (2) “brief papers” (10 pages each) or one major paper (20 pages) on the assigned topics. See the descriptions below.

Papers will be typed, double spaced, using either MLA or APA citation methodology.


A note on sources: “Wikipedia” is not an appropriate source, nor are any blogs deemed appropriate sources.



You can choose to do two brief papers in this course. These papers must be typewritten (double-spaced). The minimum is 10 pages each.. Little research is needed to complete these papers. However, if you use outside sources, be sure and give appropriate citations. 


For every five errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar, 3 points will be deducted from your paper grade.


Brief paper number 1


If you had been on a college campus in the late 1960s or early 1970s, do you think you would have been an anti-war protester or a pro-war supporter? Why???? If the draft were now reinstated now, would you support the draft or not? Why or why not??


Brief paper number 2


Would you have given pardons to those who evaded the draft in the US? Why or why not? Would you have given pardons to those involved in the My Lai incident? Why or why not?


Papers are due March 5, 2007 in class. No late papers will be accepted.




Some students may see the Vietnam War simply as an historic artifact. In an upper division Liberal Learnings course, however, students should be prepared to link a course’s subject matter to matters not necessarily covered in the course. It is through these connections that the breadth of learning is addressed.


To that end, students who do the major paper will be required to analyze the current conflict in Iraq in light of what they learn about the Vietnam War. Specifically, students should approach the papers by examining parallels and disparities between the Vietnam War and Iraq War in terms of one or two of the following topics:


A) Reasons for entering the war, and what part of a larger foreign policy was it?

B) Military tactics used.

C) Media coverage of the war.

D) Congressional responses to the war (including investigative and legislative).

E) Public opinion on the war and how it changed.

F) Expectations for a post-war period.


You are not expected to examine the broad areas of either conflict. Instead, focus on one or two of the above topics. Do a thorough job. Outside research will be a necessity for this paper using secondary resources.




                        90-100=A                    Paper               50%    


                        70-79=C                      Participation    50%


Late Submission of Course Materials:

Papers are due March 5, 2007 in class. No late papers will be accepted.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:




1.         Attend classes regularly. Each absence will lower your cumulative grade for the course by 10% (ten percent). There are no excused absences. If you are missing a lot of classes due to health, consider dropping the course, or taking an incomplete for the course. The administration of Park has directed me to notify them of any student who misses two consecutive weeks during the course.

2.         Students are responsible for all material covered in class if they are absent.

3.         Be prepared for class. Read the assignment, think about what you have read and be prepared to discuss what you think. 50% of your final grade will be determined by your in-class participation in discussions and small-group activities.

4.         There will be two papers due for this course (see separate handout). No emailed assignments will be accepted.

5.         No assignment will be accepted after 9:50 p.m. on March 5, 2007. Assignments not handed in by these times will be recorded as a zero.

 6.       Cheating or plagiarism will result in an “F” for the course and a recommendation to the Dean that you be dismissed from Park College.

7.         If you have any questions or problems, come and see me, call me or email me.

8.         No portable telephones or pagers are allowed on in class except for security or emergency medical personnel.

9.         Any student with special needs or who has a disability in the classroom environment should see me immediately after the first class.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


CALENDAR: please note that to accommodate guest speakers, some adjustments may have to be made.


January 15

            Intro to course


            The Domino Theory

            Karnow, Preface & Ch.s 1, Ch. 2


            Video: Roots of War



January 22

            Vietnam as a place

            Karnow, Ch.s 3, 4, 5


            Video: The First Vietnam War

            Video: America’s Mandarin


January 29

            LBJ Goes to War

            Karnow, Ch.s 6, 7, 8


            Video: LBJ Goes to War

            Video: America Takes Charge




February 5

            The Enemy      

            Karnow: Ch. 9, 10, 11


            Video: America’s Enemy

            Video: TET



February 12

            Winding down 

            Karnow: Ch.s 12, 13


            Video: Vietnamizing the War

            Video: My Lai





February 19


            Karnow Ch.s 14, 15


            Video: Homefront

            Video: Peace is at Hand


February 26

            America Leaves


            Video: End of the Tunnel

            Video: Legacies

            Ely: Ch.s 1-3



March 5

            Ely: Ch.s 4 - 6



Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:12/29/2006 12:59:42 PM