Introduction to Comparative Politics: Nationalism, Religion, and State Power
Also offered Spring 2019
While the field of international relations focuses on the actions of sovereign states towards one another, the comparative study of politics looks mainly at what goes on inside countries, the domestic dynamics of political power and institutions. It asks, for example, where sovereign states come from, why political life differs so much from one country to another, and how political regimes, structures and institutions change, sometimes suddenly. Thus comparative politics is often about what citizens of countries with stable and relatively effective governments take for granted (and why they may take it for granted). In this course, we will examine several broad historical-political themes: the rise of modern state structures; the emergence of capitalism; the articulation of national identities; the spread of liberalism and democracy; the roots of terrorism; and the effects of war and religion on politics. Worthwhile answers will require us to look at them theoretically, historically, comparatively, and through contemporary developments.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: four 2-page essays and a final exam
Enrollment Preference: first-years and sophomores
Distributions: Division II;
Attributes: POEC Required Courses; PSCI Comparative Politics Courses