PSCI 356
Democratization in South Asia Spring 2024
Division II

Class Details

Democratization has had both successes and failures in postcolonial South Asia. The region is home to the world’s largest democracy in India, often cited as an unlikely and puzzling success story. At the same time, periods of democratic rule in Pakistan and Bangladesh are broken up by military interference, Sri Lanka’s democracy is plagued by ethnic conflict, and Afghanistan has been unable to sustain democracy due to weak state institutions. What explains this diverse and uneven pattern of democracy in South Asia? The course delves into theories on political parties, ethnic politics, electoral institutions, civil-military relations, political violence, state-building, inter-state conflict, and civil wars to understand the variation in regime type in the region. It covers domestic and international factors that lead to democratization and democratic backsliding. We will focus on the role of political parties in democratization; the emergence of political dynasties; changes in the characteristics of the political elite; investigate claims of democratic deepening; and examine the effect of inter-state wars, land disputes, and insurgencies on democratic stability in the region.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 16
Expected: 14
Class#: 3938
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three 5 to 7-page papers or one research paper; presentation; class participation
Prerequisites: previous course in political science or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: preference given to political science majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: GBST South + Southeast Asia Studies Electives
PSCI Comparative Politics Courses

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