Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two more links on Germans expelled from Central and Eastern Europe

Eric Schmaltz has translated two important documents regarding Germans expelled from Central and Eastern Europe into English. The first one is the Charta der deutschen Heimatvertriebenen (Charter of the Germans Expelled from their Homelands) from 5 August 1950. It can be found here. The second document is the Deklaration zur Charta der deutschen Heimatvertriebenen vom 5 August 1950 (Declaration on the Charter of Germans Expelled from their Homelands from 5 August 1950) issued on 6 August 1960. It can be found here. Both of these documents were originally proclaimed in Stuttgart, Germany.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It is Really Cold in Bishkek

It is so cold now that in the morning on the walk between the bus and work my hands feel like they are on fire. I have taken to wearing two pairs of gloves, but this does not seem to have reduced the severity of the chill. I am going to go and see if I can find a really good pair of gloves soon. I would hate to have to leave some fingers behind in Bishkek due to frostbite.

Friday, January 18, 2008

First Week of the Spring 2008 Semester Done

I have finished teaching my first week of classes for this semester. I was not nearly as anxious this semester as last. By now I had figured out that the frequently touted claim that only people who had been TAs in American universities could teach college students was a deliberate falsehood used to deny me a job in the US. So I did not feel as if I was lecturing under a sword of Damocles like I did the first week of last semester.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Link to Review Article on the Forced Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia

My colleague Dr. Eric Schmaltz at Northwestern Oklahoma State University has written an excellent review of Edvard Benes, The Liquidator: Fiend of the German Purge in Czechoslovakia by Sidonia Dedina. He provides a lot of good historical background to the ethnic cleansing of the Sudeten Germans. You can find his review here on the website of the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at North Dakota State University Library. My own review of the book can be found here. I will be spending a week in my Migration and Borders class this semester on the forced expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Orange Flavored M&Ms

I am not sure if they have them in the US or not, but the Mars candy operation out of Moscow produces orange flavored M&Ms. I have found them to be quite tasty. I have also noticed that the Russian M&M bags have cool cartoons on them.

Team Teaching

Today I participated in my first team taught class. It went quite well. I do not anticipate any problems in this class. But, there are a lot of people I do not think I could share a class room with as an instructor.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Back to the Grindstone

Classes for the spring semester officially started today. I only had one class to teach this afternoon. Tomorrow I have two. The first one is at eight in the morning.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Syllabus for Introduction to Comparative Politics

ICP 120
3 Credits
International and Comparative Politics
American University Central Asia
Spring Semester 2008
J. Otto Pohl, Ph.D.
Emir Kulov, AFP Fellow

Meeting Time: Lecture on Tuesdays at 8:00 am and Seminars on Fridays at 8:00 am, 9:30 am and 11:00 am.

Course Description: This is an introductory course to comparative politics. It will compare and contrast the existing political systems of six different countries. These countries are the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Mexico, the United States and South Africa.

Requirements: The course will consist of assigned readings, lectures, discussions, five surprise quizzes, a mid-term examination and a final examination. The five surprise quizzes cannot be made up. Students that are absent that day will forfeit the 5% of the grade from the quiz. Being more than fifteen minutes late will count as an absence. Students will lose one letter grade after four unexcused absences and fail the course after seven. Written proof of an emergency from a doctor or other appropriate authority is required for an absence to be excused. Please turn off all cell phones while in class. We will eject any students carrying on cell phone conversations during class from the room. This will count as an unexcused absence. Please see the separate handout on mobile phones. Finally, I (Dr. Pohl) have a significant hearing loss and may have to ask people to repeat their questions or statements from time to time. You can minimize this by speaking loudly and clearly. This syllabus is tentative and subject to change.

Readings: All the readings are contained in the Introduction to Comparative Politics reader and Mark Kesselmann, Joel Krieger, William Joseph (eds.), Introduction to Comparative Politics: Political Challenges and Changing Agendas, Second Edition.

Policy on Plagiarism: Plagiarism will result in a zero on the assignment for the first offense. A second offense will result in a grade of F for the course. Please be sure to cite your sources. Please also see the separate handout on plagiarism.


Five surprise quizzes – 25% (5% each)

Mid-term Examination – 20%

Final Examination – 30%

Attendance – 10%

Participation - 15%

Grading Scale:

100-96 = A
95-91 = A-
90-86 = B+
85-81 = B
80-76 = B-
75-71 = C+
70-66 = C
65-61 = C-
60-56 = D+
55-51 = D
50-46 = D-
45 and lower = F

Class Schedule

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

Introduction, pp. 3-25 in Kesselman, Krieger and Joseph.

Weeks Two and Three: The United Kingdom

Richard Rose, pp. 161-212 in reader and Joel Krieger, pp. 28-77 in Kesselman, Krieger and Joseph.

Weeks Four and Five: Germany

Russell J. Dalton, pp. 271-324 in reader and Christopher S. Allen, pp. 134-186 in Kesselman, Krieger and Joseph.

Weeks Six and Seven: Russia

Thomas F. Remington, pp. 373-414 in reader and Joan DeBardeleben, pp. 426-483 in Kesselman, Krieger and Joseph.

Week Eight: Mid-Term Exam

Weeks Nine and Ten: Mexico

Wayne A. Cornelius, pp. 463-513 in reader and Merliee S. Grindle, pp. 378-423 in Kesselman, Krieger and Joseph.

Weeks Eleven and Twelve: The United States

Austin Ranney, pp. 733-777 in reader and Louis DeSipio, pp. 288-319 in Kesselman, Krieger and Joseph.

Week Thirteen and Fourteen: South Africa

Reader, pp. 420-449.

Week Fifteen and Sixteen: Review

Week Seventeen: Final Exam

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The New Semester

Yesterday, I finished writing up my last syllabus for my spring 2008 classes. Now I am going through and rereading the assigned texts for my classes. I teach my first class of the new year on Monday at 1:00 pm. It is Political History of the USSR.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another New Publication Arrives in Print

I went into work today for the first time since Saturday. At the office I noticed a package in my in-box. It was a large envelope containing my two author copies of Deniz Kandiyoti (ed.), The Cotton Sector in Central Asia: Economic Policy and Development Challenges (London: The School of Oriental and African Studies, 2007). I wrote the first chapter in the collection, "A Caste of Helot Labourers: Special Settlers and the Cultivation of Cotton in Soviet Central Asia:1944-1956." The book is the result of an international conference I attended at SOAS on 3-4 November 2005.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Changes for the New Year

Last year involved a lot of changes in my life. I left Arivaca in the summer and moved to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan where I started a job as an Associate Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the American University of Central Asia. The end of the year and start of the new one has brought even more changes in my life. My flatmate moved out and returned to the US. In January he will start a Ph.D. program in the UK. Since he has left I have acquired three new things. First, I got a mobile telephone. I had militantly resisted joining the 21st century as long as was humanly possible. Second, I seem to have acquired a new girlfriend. Third, I have found a new apartment much closer to work. Currently, I am in the process of moving my few possessions from the old domicile to the new one. I will be finished in time for the start of the new semester on the fourteenth of January.