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Introduction to Comparative Politics: Nationalism, Religion, and State Power
(also offered Fall 2019)
Even in today’s era of unprecedented interdependence between countries in the World, the old adage that most, if not all, politics is local remains valid as ever. Why are some countries stable and orderly and others afflicted by crime, corruption and conflict? Why some countries remain under authoritarian rule, when so many others have embraced democracy? How have some regions of the world managed to become rich and prosperous while others remain poor? The field of comparative politics explores these and many other questions, which despite their profound impact on international affairs, remain largely rooted in domestic politics. This course will provide an introduction to some of the most fundamental issues and key methods in comparative politics. The topics covered will include the rise of the state and its role in the economy and society, the origins and impact of political regimes and political institutions, such as systems of government and electoral systems, the role of political parties, interest groups and social movements, and questions of identity, ethnic and religious conflict, political violence, civil war and revolution. As we cover these substantive issues, we will also practice using the comparative method: how to systematically compare cases to increase our knowledge of a trait they share, or a trait on which they differ. For both the substantive and methodological segments of the course, we will study and contrast select case studies of countries from throughout the World.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
four 2-page essays and a final exam
first-years and sophomores
POEC Required Courses
PSCI Comparative Politics Courses