Spring 2014 Prof. Hira Wed, 9:30-13:20

Simon Fraser University
Political Science Departments
(POL 358)
Spring 2014
Wed, 9:30-13:20
WMC 3220
Office: AQ6048
Prof. Hira
tel. 778 782-3286
website: www.sfu.ca/~ahira
This course introduces students to a new way of thinking about politics and social behavior,
based upon an evolutionary perspective. A number of breakthroughs in scientific studies of
evolution, the brain, and social psychology bring into question the basic assumptions of the
traditional political science and economic approach to individuals as unitary rational actors. This
course will expose you to the revolutionary ideas behind these emerging insights, as we contrast
traditional with emerging explanations of political phenomena. It will give you a chance to
reflect upon your own life decisions. You will also have a chance to learn how to write a
literature review, a key skill for anyone who does research. Finally, it will allow you to better
grapple with why seemingly simple political and economic questions, such as climate change,
prove so intractable in practice, and suggest different approaches that might prove more
Required Books
All material will be available at the bookstore through custom courseware and wherever possible
on reserve at the library. Articles in journals can be downloaded directly from SFU Library
The keys to success in any course for both the professor and student are thorough preparation
and active participation. Students must not only attend every session, but also be prepared
to participate in each meeting. In order to accomplish this, students should prepare an outline
of the readings for each meeting and work ahead of time on all assignments.
Students will be graded upon participation and writing assignments culminating in the literature
review. The assignments are the following:
1- Thorough preparation and active participation in every class. Students should make
notes from the readings and come prepared to discuss them in class. The powerpoint
slides, avail. from my website, will be a good guide to the topics of the lecture and
discussion for each class.
2- Quizzes, based upon the readings.
3- One reflection paper on material read for that week. These are like mini-literature
reviews. I will create a sign up sheet in the beginning of class. Detailed instructions
and examples will be given. You will present them in roundtable format in the class
after the lecture.
4- A proposal and annotated bibliography laying out the foundations for the final
literature review.
5- A literature review on a relevant topic that is of interest to the student with my
approval. Detailed instructions and examples will be given.
6- A 10 minute presentation of the literature review. These will be presented in the last
few weeks of the class.
The assignments will be graded proportionally as follows:
-participation, including in class exercises, 15%,
-quizzes based upon the readings, 15%
-topic proposal and annotated bibliography, 10%
- one reflection paper of 5-7 pages, 20%
-literature review, 15-20 pages, 30%
-class presentation of lit review, 10 minutes, 10%
Assignments are due promptly at the beginning of class. There will be an increasing penalty for
any work that is late. Pls. see my website (listed at the top) for grading philosophy, lecture slides
and other material that will help you with skills.
Office Hours I am generally available 9-3 M-F for you to drop in or e-mail, except for teaching
and meeting times. Do send me an e-mail to confirm a time to meet. I will set up a class e-mail
The schedule is planned by weeks. Readings should be done prior to each class.
I. Introduction to Course (Jan 8)
-About the Professor, the students, and the course
-Time management, reading academic material, grading templates for papers and presentations
-Reflection paper instructions, examples
-topic proposal instructions, examples
-prospective timing for reflection paper presentations
-Exercise: brief bio
Part I- New Theoretical Basis for Identity and Actors
II. Evolutionary Models 1- Insects and Bats (Jan 15)
-finalizing timing for presentations will be set
-What is the purpose of a literature review? Finding appropriate material.
-Elements of a Literature Review
-Organizing the Task of a Literature Review
-Lecture on insects
-Timing of Presentations of Reflection Papers
Readings: -Thomas D. Seeley, 1995. c.10, “The Main Features in the Colony,” 239-65 in Seeley,
The Wisdom of the Hive: The Social Physiology of Honey Bee Colonies. Cambridge, Mass., QL
568 A6 S445 1995 (1)
-Edward O. Wilson, 1991. Ants, Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences , Vol.
45, No. 3 (Dec., 1991), pp. 13-23
-Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson. 1994. Chapters 3 (29-40) “Life and Death of the
Colony” and 10 (123-42) “Social Parasites: Breaking the Code” in Journey to the Ants: A Story
of Scientific Exploration. Belknap: Cambridge, Mass. QL 568 F7 H575 1994 (2).
-Gerald S. Wilkinson. 1984. Reciprocal food sharing the vampire bat. Nature. 308, 8. March,
Suggested reflection paper topics: How do evolutionary biological imperatives, such as hunger
and reproduction, shape the way we organize society? To what extent do we become specialized
by genetic endowments towards certain occupations? To what extent can a city be seen as an ant
colony or honeybee hive?
III. Evolutionary Examples II- Primates (Jan 22)
-Finding a good topic q. for your literature review
-Walkthrough example of a Literature Review
-Lecture on primates
Readings: -Frans B. M. Waal. 1998. C. 1, “Introduction,” 3-40, exc. 12-13 in Chimpanzee
politics: power and sex among apes. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. QL 737 P96
W3 1998 (3)
-Jenny Tung, et. al, 2012. Social environment is associated with gene regulatory variation in the
rhesus macque immune system. PNAS. Apr. 24, 109,17: 6490-5.
Suggested topics: Does the role of the alpha male hold up for human society? Can human
groups be linked to primate groups, or have we ascended these limitations?
IV. How the Human Brain Works and Sources of Morality and Happiness (Jan. 29)
-In class, we will watch the short videos: a) The Nervous System and the Senses (1st 3 segments);
b) Discovering the Human Brain [electronic resource] : New Pathways to Neuroscience, with
Susan Bookheimer, Ph.D. / Davidson Films. New York, N.Y. : Films Media Group, [2011] (1st 2
parts), c2007, c) Human Brain Development: Nature and Nurture (1st 3 segments); and 4) The
Emotional Brain
all avail. through the SFU library website; I also highly recommend you track down the 2
Charlie Rose brain series, through his website
-Lecture on how the brain works
-Patricia Smith Churchland. 2011; c.s 3,4, & 6 of Braintrust: what neuroscience tells us about
morality. Princeton: Princeton U. Press, available as e-book through SFU library catalogue. Also
on reserve, QP 430 C58 2011
-Columbia University, World Happiness Report, found at:
Suggested topics: How might the amygdala (instinct) affect our ability to make decisions? Is
there evidence of general genetic endowments that relate to differential abilities? What does the
emerging science of the brain tell us about the role of emotions in politics? OR What have we
learned from the past decade of happiness studies? How can the lessons be applied to policy
V. Psychological and Network Approaches to Identity (Feb 5)
-Preparing an annotated bibliography as the second step of your literature review
-Lecture on identity from psychological and network approaches
Readings: -Harrison White, “Introduction to Identity and Control,” c.1, pp.3-21 in Identity and
Control: A Structural Theory of Social Action, Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 2nd ed., 2008, HM
706 W55 2008 (4)
-Anne Norton, “Identity: Individual and Collective,” c.1, pp.9-27 in Reflections on Political
Identity, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1988, JA 74.5 N67 (5)
Exercise: re-bio
Assignment due: Topic Proposal & Annotated Bibliography
Suggested topics: Compare hierarchy and network ways of examining social structures- which is
more convincing? What is your identity- what insights can White provide about identity?
Feb 12 Reading Break
Part II: Applications
VI. Application 1: Leadership, War, and Genocide (Feb 19)
-Lecture on leadership- from enlightenment and charisma to paranoia and abuse
-Exercise: 9/11 speeches
Readings: Arnold M. Ludwig. 2002. Chapter 1, 1-21 in King of the Mountain: The Nature of
Political Leadership. Lexington: U. of Kentucky. JC 330.3 L83 2002 (6)
-Robert S. Robins and Jerrold M. Post. 1997. C.1, “The Mind of the Paranoid,” 7-35 in Political
Paranoia: The Psychcopolitics of Hatred. New Haven: Yale U. Press JA 74.5 R55 1997. (7)
-Daniel Pipes. 1997. C.7, 129-53, “Two Conspiracist Traditions,” in How the Paranoid Style
Flourishes And Where it Comes From, Toronto: The Free Press D 21.3 P55 1997 (8)
Recommended: Triumph of the Will, famous Hitler-era film, available free on internet search
Suggested topics: Examine the biography of a leader, such as Hitler or Stalin or a contemporary
one. To what extent can the issues we have examined explain their dispositions and
perspectives? To what extent can they explain their desire to seek office? To what extent can
they explain their actions? Or : Examine a war. What are the sources of that war? Was conflict
inevitable? To what extent was the conflict over ideas/values? To what extent resources? What
explanation would you give? Or: Examine the sources of a genocide and explain why it
VII. Application 2: Corruption (Feb 26)
-Lecture on corruption
Acemoglu, D; Johnson, S; Robinson, JA.
The colonial origins of comparative development: An empirical investigation
AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW, Volume: 91 Issue: 5 Pages: 1369-1401
-Bin Dong, Uwe Dulleck, and Benno Torgler. 2012. Conditional Corruption. Economic
Psychology. 33: 609-27.
Suggested topics: Examine a country’s level of corruption. Do an internet search for projects
related to tackling corruption problem (use Eldis for developing countries). What are the results
of such projects and why did they fail?
VIII. Application 3: Discrimination (Mar 5)
-Lecture on social constructivism
-Anne Larson Schneider and Helen Ingram, “Social Constructions of Target Populations:
Degenerative Policy Designs,” c.5, pp.102-149, in Policy Design for Democracy, Lawrence: U
of Kansas Press, 1997, H 97 S33 1997 (10)
-Charles Tilly, “Theories and Descriptions of Collective Action,” c.2, pp.12-49 in From
Mobilization to Revolution, Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley, 1978, JC 328.3 T54. (11)
-Greenwald, Anthony G.; Banaji, Mahzarin R. 1995. Implicit social cognition: Attitudes, selfesteem, and stereotypes. Psychological Review, Vol 102(1), Jan.: 4-27.
Suggested topics: Why did the Occupy movement fail to change the nature of capitalism or
increase accountability? Or Define what it means to be Canadian.
IX. Application 4: Consumption (Mar 12)
-Lecture on consumption
Readings: - Paul A. Samuelson. 1958. An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or
without the Social Contrivance of Money Journal of Political Economy , Vol. 66, No. 6 (Dec.):
-Peter Corrigan, “Theoretical Approaches to Consumption,” pp.17-32, The Sociology of
Consumption: An Introduction, 1997, HB 801 C67 1997. (12)
-Suggested topics: What compels consumption beyond necessity? Are people brainwashed or
are they making conscious decisions? What makes an item desirable or fashionable (take an
example)? What sets the price of an item- is it purely the cost of production, or something more?
X. Application 5: Climate Change (Mar 19)
-Lecture on global poverty and climate change
Readings: Thomas Dietz, Elinor Ostrom, and Paul C. Stern. 2003. The Struggle to Govern the
Commons. Science Vol. 302 no. 5652 pp. 1907-1912
-Leiserowitz, Anthony. 2006. Climate change risk perception and policy preferences: The role of
affect, imagery, and values CLIMATIC CHANGE 77, 1-2: 45-72
-Suggested topics: Examine why given the consensus about climate change there is so much
difficulty in acting upon it. Why do we understand the need for sustainability but find it so hard
to act upon?
XI. Application 6: Global Financial Crisis of 2012 and Presentations of Research Round 1 (Mar
-Lecture on financial crisis
Readings: -Anil Hira, Working Paper on the Financial Crisis, will be sent.
-JM Coates, Gurnell M, Sarnyai Z. 2010. From molecule to market: steroid hormones and
financial risk-taking. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 365(1538):331-43
Recommended: Frontline, “Money, Power, and Wall Street,” documentary,
-Suggested topics: What in your opinion led to the financial crisis? What could help to avoid
such bubbles in the future?
XII. Presentation of Research, Round 2 (Apr 2)
XIII. Presentation of Research Papers, Round 3 (Apr 9)
Assignment due: Research Papers
Plagiarism involves using another author’s words without attribution or otherwise
presenting another person’s work as one’s own. It is a fraudulent and serious academic
offence that will result in a severe academic penalty. Also, close paraphrasing of another
author’s work & self-plagiarism, including submitting the same, or substantively the same,
work for academic evaluation more than once, are unacceptable practices that will result in
a severe academic penalty.
The university policies on academic honesty are available at:
The Department of Political Science’s interpretation of this policy can be found at:
0-%20%20Pol%20Dept.%20Jan.pdf, and is available in hard copy format outside our General
Office. All students are responsible for familiarising themselves with these policies.
A helpful SFU Library tutorial on plagiarism is at
Do not:
 submit an entire paper or part(s) of a paper or papers that has been written or researched by any other
 submit a paper as an assignment that has been bought from another person or from a ‘paper mill’ or
essay service;
 submit a paper or other written assignment that has been submitted at another time or for a different
course by yourself or any other student or former student;
 submit material that has been downloaded from a website, without acknowledging (using
appropriate citation style) that you have done so;
 take someone else’s idea(s) and represent it/them as your own;
 copy any text verbatim, or with only slight variation from the original text, without using quotation
marks and documenting the source with proper citation style;
 do not closely paraphrase another’s material; either paraphrase completely in your own words, or
cite as a direct quotation using quotation marks (in either case, give full credit and details regarding
authorship and location of the original material);
learn how to cite material properly (there are many good guides on this, including the departmental
use a recognized citation style (eg. APA, MLA, Chicago), according to instructions given by the
course instructor, and be consistent in the use of the style throughout any single piece of written
carefully read and make sure you understand the university’s policy on academic honesty;
ask the instructor of this course or other faculty members if you have any questions about