Unit Seven Study Session: Iran! (LAST ONE, GUYS!)

Y’all know the drill.  I’ll be running a study session over the political and governmental system of the Islamic Republic of Iran from 3 to 5 PM today (Sunday, May 7th).  If you can watch live, you’ll want to go here and ask questions in the livechat.  If you know you won’t be able to watch live, but still have questions, please tweet them to @GallowayTeaches, and I’ll answer them on-air.

And if you haven’t downloaded a copy already, here’s the Unit Seven Study Guide.

Final Project: Public Policy Advisers!

General Description

As we have noted several times this year, we live in interesting times.  And while there is unquestionably value to be found in observation and analysis of existing political institutions and events, it is also important to consider how institutions, events, and policy might be changed—and what the ultimate results of those changes might be.  To that end, you and your group members will be acting as independent policy advisers to the individual, body, or board which sets public policy in your assigned country.  You will jointly write ONE white paper (that is, a report which explains history of the issue in question, your suggested policy, and your rationale for your choice), and give a five to seven minute presentation on your policy.  This project will serve as your final exam for this class, with 50% of your grade coming from the white paper, and 50% from the presentation.

While you may NOT choose your group—those will be assigned—your group MAY select the topic which they would like to address from the following list:

  • International or domestic terrorism
  • Ethnic conflict
  • Gender inequality
  • Environmental concerns
  • Economic inequality
  • Healthcare and public health
  • Educational opportunities
  • International trade
  • Drug trafficking

During this project, you SHOULD:

  • Try to develop a solution to the problem which is specific to the political, social, and economic realities of your country. Your goal—for this project, at least—is not to overthrow the existing government, social, or economic structure of your country, but rather to attempt to work within it to affect change.
  • Develop a strong working knowledge of the historical background, global interactions, and local issues surrounding your topic. You may be presenting your work to the Politburo in China, but you should also know how your topic relates to the rest of the world in broad strokes.
  • Ask yourself if the policy you are suggesting will support or encourage: liberal or illiberal democracy, an active and free civil society, and economic stability or growth. If it won’t, why?  Are there institutional limitations you have to work within?  Are there other solutions you could pursue instead?
  • Use scholarly, reputable sources in your research. Peer-reviewed journal articles accessed on JSTOR will be useful, as will textbook readings, NGO reports, and primary sources such as United Nations resolutions or policy speeches by politicians in your country. Do NOT use information you found on a random blog, Tumblr, or Twitter.  The key phrase—as always—is “reputable source.” Make sure you know a little bit about the author(s) and their backgrounds and work before you automatically accept information as valid.

During this project, you SHOULD NOT:

  • Develop solutions which are completely unrealistic. Use the analytical skills you developed in AP Macro, and consider the costs and benefits to the policy changes you suggest.  Also consider the central political goals of the existing regime: does the solution you offer have any chance of being accepted by those who ultimately set public policy?  For example, if you’re working on gender inequality, suggesting that the Supreme Leader and Guardian Council of Iran reverse course and change their policies with regards to the role of women in public life is probably not going to happen overnight—so how can you work within the systems which exist?
  • Simply divide-and-conquer. I’m well aware the temptation will be to divide the work in such a way that one person handles the historical context, one handles the local issues, etc., and then just collaborate via Google docs. However, dividing the work in such a way will NOT give you the sort of cohesive, expert analysis you should seek.  Instead, you should work TOGETHER to research and develop your white paper, as well as your presentation.

White Paper Instructions (50 points)

  1. Your paper must be double-spaced with one inch margins, typed in 12 pt. Times New Roman, and adhere to all conventional spelling and grammatical standards. The header should contain a relevant title, and the names of all the authors.  All citations within the paper should be completed in APA style, with a Works Cited page.  You should use a minimum of FOUR sources in your paper.  Your paper should be 2 to 3 pages long, or approximately 750 words.  You’re going to need to be very concise; consider that your target audience is very busy and only needs the most relevant information.
  2. Your paper should have five sections to it: (a) an initial section in which your group defines the problem as it relates to your country, (b) a secondary section which provides the historical context of the problem, (c) a third section describing current policy in your country which addresses the problem, (d) a fourth section in which you describe the position your group suggests as a solution, and (e) the potential results of your solution. Doing this in no more than three pages (Works Cited not include) will mean that each section should be about half a page long.

Presentation Instructions (50 points)

  1. Your presentation may be in the form of a video or PowerPoint presentation, and should be a condensed version of your white paper, although you are encouraged to be creative in your presentation. (You could, for example, make it into an infomercial, selling your solution to the class.)  It should succinctly address the five sections of your white paper, be visually appealing, involve all members of your group, and last five to seven minutes.  If doing a PPT, you should limit yourself to no more than seven slides (not including Works Cited).  YOU MAY NOT GO OVER SEVEN MINUTES.
  2. Your presentation should specifically identify which body, individual, or group you would be addressing—are you talking to Ayatollah Khamenei? The Duma?  The House of Commons?  President Putin? You need to know who makes policy in order to be effective as advisers.
  3. You should be prepared to answer questions from the class about your proposed solution at the end of your presentation.

Group Assignments

United Kingdom Alex M.

Celina C.

Rebecca C.

Thoren M.

Imani B.

Madison K.

Raghav P.

Olivia G.

Alison A.

Jonathan J.

Kierra M.

Denise T.

Sinclair G.

Brittany E.

Zach M.

Moriah H.

Russian Federation Michael S.

Claire H.

Sam S.

Kimberly N.

Jessica C.

Ika L.

Kesha P.

Shelby S.

Alyssa M.

Noah M.

Virginia P.

Clay Wright

Sheku K.

Kelli R.

Katelynn R.

Natalie L.

People’s Republic of China Karsyn M.

Adaugo O.

Mariah F.

William W.

Nadin C.

Tierra M.

Anthony B.

Dante’ J.

Andrew G

Kelli K.

Leo S.

Sam V.

Ansley H.

Ben H.

Julie S.

Michael V.

Federal Republic of Nigeria Eunice N.

Josh J.

Sarah B.

Kat S.

Brandon S.

Nicole B.

Taylor M.

Ben C.

Justin H.

Courtney W.

Serena D.

Maia E.

Giovanni M.

Nikita U.

Gabby W.

Rachel H.

Amanuel K.

Emmett S.

Maddox T.

United Mexican States Chris P.

Marie O.

Zahria H.

Audrey W.

Madeliene G.

Cole M.

Jordan F.

Madhu K.

Erin B.

Shilpa M.

Faye N.

Zack W.

Christina L.

Detriana E.

Shawn M.

Autumn P.

Islamic Republic of Iran Dylan K.

Andrea O.

Tyler C.

Briana S.

Duyan B.

Nhilynn N.

Nikita G.

Bethel M.

Barrett V.

Sydney G.

Chiara M.

Leighann R.

Taylor T.

Joseph O.

Shelby E.

Mackenzie U.

Kayla R.


Ms. Galloway Explains Mexican Political History!

Hey guys!  I hope your Spring Break was excellent and that you’re all refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to focus for the remainder of your high school career.

(That got pretty real rather quickly, huh?  It’s not long ’til the end, guys.  Give me a little more work, and you’re done.  You can do this.)

At any rate, if you were absent on Friday, missed class due to the senior meetings, OR had AP Macro on Friday instead, you will want to watch the videos below.  They’re a series of 15 minute screencasts on Mexican political history, and they start with the geography and demographics of the country (which you all have taken notes on) and go to the current administration.   I very strongly suggest that you make an effort to watch ALL of them before your unit test, which is scheduled for this Friday.

The playlist starts here, but you can also go to specific videos and watch just what you missed, if that’s more convenient:

  1. Geography and Demographics
  2. Pre-Contact and Colonialism
  3. New Spain, Castas, and Independence
  4. Mexico, La Reforma, and the Porfiriato (part 1)
  5. Mexico, La Reforma, and the Porfiriato (part 2)
  6. The Mexican Revolution

So there you go, guys. That should help you work your way through Mexican political history, and maybe make a little more sense of the complex political history of our southern neighbors.

Current Event: Mexico!

Hey there, guys– you know the drill by now: look at one of the following sites and choose a news story which relates in some way to politics and governance in Mexico.  One thing, however– Mexico only has one daily English-language newspaper (there are some regional English-language papers written for American ex-pats in resort towns, but that’s not really what we want), so I’ve also included some broader news agencies that address news in Latin America as a whole.  If you choose one of those sources, do make sure to focus on MEXICO, not, like, Argentina.  And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, I’ve included a couple of significant Mexican Spanish-language news sources as well, if you’re currently studying Spanish and want to push yourself.

Please use one of the following news sources:

Complete the following form on your article once you’ve selected one:

Remember, this assignment is due on 3/31 at 11:00 PM.

Unit Five Online Study Session!

Hey guys!

Our study session over Nigeria will be going live at 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM (or until the questions run out) over on YouTube.  If you go here you can participate in the live chat.  If you can’t watch live, tweet questions to me @GallowayTeaches, and then you can watch the video below for my answers:

The Unit Five Study Guide is located here, and you can also pick up a hard copy tomorrow in class!

Happy studying.

Substitute Work, March 6th: Political History and Regime in Nigeria

Hey guys.  Sorry I’m out today; remember, I’m just down the hall in the Media Center if you need something.  (Also, I could drop in at any time to see if you’re focusing or not….)  Here’s what you’re doing for me today:

  1. Reading Quiz.  (30 minutes.) Remember that you should NOT write on the quiz itself, and please put your name on the answer sheet.  (Some of you goofed on that last time and made life difficult.)  You’ll have thirty minutes to complete the quiz, and then you need to move on.
  2. Video Lecture on Nigerian Political History. (30 minutes.)  I’ve recorded a video lecture of the notes we need to finish up from last time.  They’re embedded below.  Please watch both and take notes as you go.  If I’m too fast in terms of my discussion, remember that the material will still be available on the blog for you to rewatch later.
  3. Take Notes on Nigerian Political Regime.  (30 minutes.) I’ve got a PowerPoint I’d like you to go through and take notes on to set us up for our discussion of the current Nigerian political regime– make sure you go through the whole thing before I see you again on Wednesday.
  4. Also, remember you have a Harkness discussion coming up on Wednesday.  If you finish everything with time to spare, please go ahead and get started on that reading.

Here are the materials you’ll need for today:

Nigerian Political History Video Lectures:

PowerPoint Notes on Current Nigerian Political Regime:

Nigerian Political Institutions

You can also, of course, find more information on this material in your reading packet (which you should obviously read anyway).


Current Event 1: Federal Republic of Nigeria

Hey guys– remember that you have your first current event for Nigeria due tomorrow.  I did not intend for it to be due on the same day as your Macro test, I promise, so we’ll stretch the deadline just a little: instead of being due at the start of class, I will count this as on-time if you submit your work by 11:59 PM tomorrow evening (Friday, February 16th).

I would suggest you use one of the following sources for your current event:

Good luck on your Macro test, guys!  Study hard and get some rest.  You’ve got one more day until break; you can do this.