SS 205 Micronesian Governments and Politics/Spring 2002


Instructor:  Mariana Ben Dereas                                            

Office Hours: 2:00 to 3:00PM (daily)

COM-FSM Social Science Division/F-102                              

or by appointment: 320-2480/ext. 4510

I.  General Objectives

This course examines the governments and politics of the island societies of Micronesia by focusing and studying such things as:

Ø      Sequence of events that led to the introduction and institutionalization of Western political systems and practices in Micronesia. 

Ø      Issues underlining national political development such as the reconciliation of cultural and political identity; achievement of national unity and attempt to gain economic self-sufficiency; the impact of foreign aid on political autonomy; and the built-in tension between the national government and constituent state governments. 

Ø      The basic structures, functions, and operations of the FSM national, state, and local governments.

Ø      The relationships between FSM national, state and local governments. 

Ø      FSM foreign relations, particularly between FSM and its Micronesian neighbors and the United States; FSM membership in the South Pacific Forum.

Ø      Non-governmental forces of politics in FSM. 

Ø      The impact of the Compact on FSM sovereignty and politics. 



II.  Course Contents

1.       Traditional political systems in Micronesia

2.       Historical background

3.       Forced political change and the response of the traditional system

4.       Constitutionalism in Micronesia

5.       Modern government and politics in Micronesia

6.       Political sovereignty and the Compact of Free Association

7.       Federalism and the FSM Constitution

8.       Traditional leaders’ influence on politics and their formal role in government



III.  Methodology

Different modes of teaching will be utilized in order for students to have a comprehensive understanding of this course.  They will include lecturing, occasional videos, written assignments, tests, and in class presentations and discussions. 



A.       Reading Materials

       The required textbook for this course is Remaking Micronesia: Discourses over Development in a Pacific Territory, 1944-1982. By David Hanlon.

*** This book is available for purchase at the COM-FSM bookstore.

            ** Extra reading materials/articles will be handed-out in class.  Students are expected to read the materials and assigned chapters from text to discuss in class when called upon.




B.     Student Evaluation and Grading


       The grading system is as follows:

                        90-100 = A

                        80-89   = B

                        70-79   = C

                        60-69   = D

                          0-59   = F


C.     The final grades will be according to the following:  There is no Mid-term or Final Examination for this course, however, a number of tests will be given throughout the semester as means of evaluation.  Attendance is very important for we will be doing a lot of in-class activities and group presentations.  In-class activities will include questions and readings while group presentations will be groups working on issues discussed in class. 


Attendance                   = 20%

                                                            Group Work                = 30%

                                                            Tests                            = 50%



Weekly class format



Week One – January 14/16/18

Monday:  Introduction of course and students

Wednesday and Friday:  Concepts of Politics

v     Last day to Add/Drop Friday January 18th!!!


Week Two – January 21/23/25

Monday and Wednesday:  Traditional Government and Politics

Friday:  Group Work – discussion on Tradition vs. Modernity


Week Three – January 28/30 and Feb. 1st

Monday and Wednesday:  Pattern of Colonialism in Micronesia

Friday:  Discussion on Colonialism


Week Four – February 4/6/8

Monday: Review

Wednesday:  Test #1

Friday: Begin Chapter 1 of text


Week Five – February 11/13/15

Monday:  Questionnaires for Chapter 1

Wednesday and Friday:  Group work on “Defining Development” 


Week Six – February 18/20/22

Monday and Wednesday:  Chapter 2/Questionnaires

Ø      Friday:  NO Class – Staff Development Day




Week Seven – February 25/27 and March 1

Monday:  Group work

Wednesday: Review

Friday:  Test #2


Week Eight – March 4/6/8

Monday and Wednesday:  Begin Chapter 3/Questionnaires

Friday:  Group Discussion


Week Nine – March 11/13/15

Monday and Wednesday:  Chapter 4/Questionnaires

Friday:  “Planning for Micronesia” – Group activity


Week Ten – March 18/20/22

Monday:  Finish Chapter 4

Wednesday: Review

Friday: Test #3


Week Eleven – March 25/27/29

Monday:  Group Activity

Ø      Wednesday and Friday:  No Class – Easter Recess for Students/Good Friday


Week Twelve – April 1/3/5

Ø      Monday:  No Class – Cultural Day

Wednesday:  Activity – “Beginning of Micronesia”, Video:  “Micronesia – A Beginning”

Friday:  Group Activity


Week Thirteen – April 8/10/12

Monday:  Chapter 5/Questionnaires

Wednesday and Friday:  Finish chapter 5; class discussion and activity “Constitutionalism”


Week Fourteen – April 15/17/19

Monday: Chapter 6/Questionnaires

Wednesday and Friday:  Finish Chapter 6


Week Fifteen – April 22/24/26

Monday:  Review

Wednesday:  Test #4

Friday:  Begin Chapter 7/Questionnaires


Week Sixteen – April 29 and May 1/3

Monday and Wednesday: Chapter 7; video: “Prime Time on the Marshall Islands”, 

Friday:  Chapter 8 and The FSM Compact of Free Association


Week Seventeen – May 6/8/10

Monday: Discuss the Compact vs. other economic and political status

Wednesday:  Continue discussion on Compact and Review for test#5

Ø      Friday:  No Class – FSM Constitution Day


Week Eighteen – May 13/14/15