Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On My Way

In a few hours I will be departing for the airport to begin my journey to Kyrgyzstan. I am scheduled to arrive in Bishkek very early Thursday morning. I will try and write a post in my new location sometime next week.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Real Syllabi

A while ago I posted a series of imaginary syllabi. Now that I will actually be teaching I have real syllabi. The first one is in the previous post. If anybody has any constructive criticism please put it in the comments or send me an e-mail. I can be reached at pohlcat [the at sign] rocketmail [the dot] com.

Political Culture Syllabus

Political Culture
Fall Semester 2007
J. Otto Pohl, Ph.D.

Course Description: This course will cover the subject of political culture and related concepts such as civic culture and civil society. Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba defined the political culture of a society as “the political system as internalized in cognitions, feelings, and evaluations of its population.” (Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations (London: Sage Publishing, 1989), p. 13. That is how members of a society view the role of government and their relationship to it. Almond and Verba conducted their comparative analysis of political culture among five long established states in Europe and the Americas. These states were the US, Great Britain, West Germany, Italy and Mexico. This course will begin with Almond and Verba’s work and then proceed to examine the various social structures that support political culture. In particular it will examine the social networks created by national, ethnic and religious kinship on one hand and class and professional ties on the other. The vertical ties of nationality, ethnicity and religion often cut across the horizontal ties of class and occupation. The social matrix of these networks or civic culture forms the foundation of political culture. The course will examine civic and political culture in Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. It will cover not only independent states, but also national groups such as the Chechens, Crimean Tatars, and Palestinians. Despite lacking independent states all three of these nationalities have well developed civic and political cultures. The development of political culture among these peoples will be contrasted to those controlling fully independent states.

Requirements: The course will consist of assigned readings, lectures, discussion, short writing assignments, an oral report and a research paper. For each of the twelve weeks with reading assignments, students will be required to submit a 150 to 200 word summary of the material along with one question for class discussion. Students will also have to complete a 1500 to 2000 word research paper comparing and contrasting some important elements of civil and political society among two different nations. The paper is due the last week of class. In the two weeks prior to this deadline each student will be required to give a short oral presentation on the subject of their paper followed by a short question and answer session.


Twelve short papers – 36% (3% each)
Written research paper – 35% (Due last week of class)
Oral report on research – 15%
Class Participation – 14%

Class Schedule:

Week One: Introduction to the course and review of the syllabus.

Theory and General History

Week Two: Read “An Approach to Political Culture” (chapter one) in Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations (London: Sage Publishing, 1989), pp. 1-44.

Week Three: Read “The Peasants and Revolution” (chapter nine) in Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in Making the Modern World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966), pp. 453-483.

Week Four: Read “Social Movements, Parties and Political Action” (chapter two) in Tom Bottomore, Political Sociology (London: Pluto Press, 1993), pp. 28-41.

Week Five: Read “Illiberal Democracy” (chapter three) in Fareed Zakaria, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003), pp. 89-118.


Week Six: Read Vladimir Tismaneanu and Michael Turner, “Understanding Post-Sovietism: Between Residual Leninism and Uncertain Pluralism” (chapter one) in Vladimir Tismananu, ed., Political Culture and Civil Society in Russia and the New States of Eurasia (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1995), pp. 3-22.

Week Seven: Read “Post-Soviet Nationalism” (chapter eleven) in Valery Tishkov, Ethnicity, Nationalism and Conflict in and after the Soviet Union (London: Sage, 1997), pp. 228-245.


Week Eight: Read “Rehabilitation” (chapter fourteen) in Moshe Gammer, The Lone Wolf and the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule (London: Hurst & Company, 2006, pp. 185-198 and “An Ideology of Extremes” (chapter thirteen) in Valery Tishkov, Chechnya: Life in a War-Torn Society (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004), pp. 196-209.

Crimean Tatars

Week Nine: Read “Houses and Homelands: The Reterritorialization of Crimean Tatars” (chapter seven) in Greta Lynn Uehling, Beyond Memory: The Crimean Tatars’ Deportation and Return (NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), pp. 199-230.

Latin America

Week Ten: Read “Llama Fetuses, Latifundia, and La Blue Chip Numero Uno: ‘White’ Wealth in Latin America” (chapter two) in Amy Chua, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (NY: Doubleday, 2003), pp. 49-76.

The Middle East

Week Eleven: Read “State and Opposition in Islamic History” (chapter two) in John L. Esposito and John O. Voll, Islam and Democracy (NY: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 33-51.

Week Twelve: Read Amy Hawthorne, “Is Civil Society the Answer?” (chapter five) in Thomas Carothers and Marina Ottaway, eds., Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East (Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005), pp. 81-108.


Week Thirteen: Read “Steering a Path under Occupation” (chapter nine) in Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal, The Palestinian People: A History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), pp. 274-311.

Student Research

Week Fourteen: Student oral presentations.

Week Fifteen: Student oral presentations continued.

Week Sixteen: Written version of the research paper due and concluding remarks.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Getting Ready to Go

I am finishing things up here in Orange County before I fly off to Central Asia on Tuesday. Yesterday, I got my proofs for a chapter I wrote for a collected work being edited out of Canada. I made a few very minor corrections and sent the article back. My biggest project in the last couple of weeks has been putting together syllabi for my classes. I am almost finished. I will post them here after I have typed them up.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Still More on the Arivaca Tower

Here is another recent article on the Arivaca Tower.

Yet another article on the Arivaca Tower

I found yet another article on the Arivaca Tower.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Family Link

My father, Dr. John H. Pohl and Dr. Charles F. Sanders have started a new blog. New Energy Technology deals with new and alternative energy sources. While a lot of blogs deal with these topics, the vast majority of them are long on opinion and short on expertise. Pohl and Sanders have been studying and working on the scientific side of these issues for decades. I encourage all my readers to go check it out. I have added a permanent link to their blog on my blogroll.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Map of Volga German ASSR

The blog strange maps has recently posted a good map of the Volga German ASSR.

hat tip: Randy McDonald

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Leaving on 31 July 2007

I now have a plane ticket. I will fly out of Los Angeles on 31 July 2007 and arrive in Bishkek on 2 August 2007. I got the last seat on a British Airways flight.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I am no longer trapped behind the Orange Curtain. My visa arrived today. Tomorrow I am buying a plane ticket on the earliest flight to Bishkek I can get. I hope to be there before the end of the month.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Another New Link

I noticed I got added to another blogroll today. So I am reciprocating the favor. Athens & Jerusalem is an academically inclined blog with a conservative bent. It has a lot of thought provoking commentary on political and cultural issues.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Link

In the interest of reciprocity I have added a link to Andy Young's blog Siberian Light to my blogroll.

Yet another article on the Arivaca Tower

I found another article on the Arivaca Tower. Government Executive has an article on the wireless Internet frequency used by the towers. One of its features is that it blocks everybody in Arivaca from using the Internet. I myself frequently experienced this problem before I left Arivaca. It usually disrupted service four or five times a day. Sometimes at night it would interrupt Internet service for as long as seven or eight hours. Boeing claims it is working on solving this problem.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Any advice?

This fall I will be teaching Russian Politics, Political Culture and Democratization. I have noticed that a lot of other bloggers have managed to get suggestions on reading assignments for classes in their comment sections. I have a good idea of what I will be teaching, but free advice is always welcome. I am an historian by training and this is my first teaching job ever.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day

To all my American readers I wish you a Happy Independence Day.

Meskhetian Turk Response to Georgian Bill

The reaction from the Meskhetian Turk diaspora to the recent bill in the Georgian parliament to allow them to repatriate is one of disappointment. The various restrictions on their return are seen as unacceptable by many Meskhetian Turks. In particular the Meskhetian Turks find the Georgian government's demands that they give up their Turkish ethnicity and become assimilated Georgians in order to return to their ancestral homeland to be offensive. The Turkish Daily News published an article on this subject today with interviews from members of the Meskhetian Turkish diaspora in the Turkish Republic and Kyrgyzstan.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Invitation to Delurk

This blog post is an open invitation for all my readers to come forth and introduce themselves in the comments. I have not had much luck with such invitations before. I am guessing I will probably get no comments on this post. But, it would be nice to know a little bit about my readership.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Behind the Orange Curtain

I am still in Orange County California waiting for my visa. I should get it sometime next week. In the meantime I have been doing a lot of reading for the classes I will be teaching this fall. I managed to find most of what I need at the UCI library.

Last week I went with my mother to the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. Finding a parking space was almost impossible. But, the actual event was well worth seeing. The people really did look like works of art.

Yesterday, I went with my brother and sister in law to Little Gaza. I had expected it to be bigger. It is really only about half a dozen small shopping centers. Little Gaza also still has a fair number of Mexican and Chinese places mixed in among the Arabic shops and cafes. I was expecting it to be almost all Arab.

Other than that I have not done much. Orange County is not an international hot spot like Arivaca. It does, however, have a better selection of ethnic restaurants.