Sun setting over King Library

POL 221: Introduction to Comparative Politics (Syllabus)

Course Description

Comparative politics is one of the major disciplines of political science. As the name implies, its focus is on comparing states and political systems. More specifically, comparative politics is concerned with identifying and investigating similarities and differences across diverse states and explaining how these similarities and differences lead to specific political outcomes. But even then, there are a plethora of factors and outcomes that one can compare! In this course, we will narrow our focus to exploring various regime types: democratic, authoritarian, and hybrid. The first segment of the course will familiarize you with some of the major topics in the field, e.g. the role that identity plays in state construction, the many ways of ordering political life, and the interrelated nature of politics and economics. The second part of the course will explore the differences between democratic and authoritarian regimes, the factors leading to democratization, the logistics of democratic transitions, and the problems facing democratic consolidation. While we will not focus on any countries in particular, we will use various case studies throughout the semester to elucidate particular concepts.

Key questions considered in this course include:

  • How did the modern nation-state develop? What role did national identity play in this development? What challenges does national identity pose for democratizing countries?
  • How do regime types differ in terms of their creation, maintenance, institutions, key actors, and political economies?
  • In the post-communist world, how are democracies created, and why do some democratization projects fail while others succeed?

This is an introductory course, meaning that it is designed to be accessible to students with no prior knowledge of particular regions of the world and with no previous study of comparative politics. It is also designated as a writing enhancement course, meaning that you will write a lot! Throughout the semester, you will explore major themes in comparative politics and analyze several case studies. By the end of the semester, you will be able to explain concepts such as the comparative method, democracy, authoritarianism, the welfare state, dependent development, among others. You will also be able to identify the challenges facing countries in Africa, Europe, and Latin America and offer competing explanations for why countries in these regions exhibit such divergent political and economic trajectories. Finally, as this is a writing-intensive course, it offers ample opportunities for you to hone your writing skills through writing activities geared toward general and specific audiences. Writing improvement will be key, so you can expect to receive regular feedback from the instructor and fellow students.

Student Learning Goals and Objectives

This course is structured to achieve the student learning outcomes endorsed by the Department of Political Science at Miami University.

  • Students will define and explain key concepts, theories, and approaches in political science, specifically in the sub-discipline of comparative political science. This will be achieved through class discussion and debate, in-class/out-of-class response papers, the midterm and final exams, and writing assignments geared to general and specific audiences.
  • Students will develop and demonstrate skill in evidence-based reasoning. This will be achieved through various course activities but primarily through op-ed assignments, role-playing simulations, and the research design project. These tasks will provide opportunities for students to learn how to identify the appropriate data and evidence necessary to construct a convincing argument and how to communicate that argument to various audiences.
  • Students will be able to identify the appropriate methodology, design, and analysis for a given problem and understand the ethical components of their research choices. This will be achieved primarily through the research design project.
  • Students will be able to apply political science knowledge to contemporary political issues and problems and be able to identify and to evaluate alternative political science-based solutions. This will be achieved particularly through the op-ed assignments and the role-playing simulations, and class debates.
  • Students will be able to formulate, propose, and advocate possibilities for positive change in a democratic society as engaged and informed citizens. This is what this course is all about!

POL 221W also coincides with the Miami Plan for Liberal Education. It promotes the goals of developing a critical analytic mind and the ability to reflect and act by encouraging students to be culturally sensitive and to understand and place themselves into myriad streams of political events taking place around the world. Students will often be confronted with competing perspectives and asked to reflect and react in a reasoned and respective manner, even when they might not agree. The course provides a variety of mechanisms for students to engage with other learners. In particular, op-ed articles and responses, role-playing simulations, and classroom debates invite students to engage others’ ideas, points of views, and questions. The role of the professor in the course is to facilitate this range of student activity and to lead the discussions concerning the readings and assignments.

Course Reading

The majority of the readings for this course will come from the required books listed below. All are available for purchase at the student stores.

  • O’Neil, Patrick H. 2015. Essentials of Comparative Politics, 5th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • O’Neil, Patrick H. and Ronald Rogowski. 2013. Essential Readings in Comparative Politics, 4th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • O’Neil, Patrick et al. 2015. Cases in Comparative Politics, 5th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

In addition, there will be other required readings available through the Canvas portal. The titles and page assignments for these readings are listed in the schedule below, though I reserve the right to change/add/subtract materials throughout the semester. We will be discussing and referring to these texts in class, so you should bring hard copies of the readings to class.

Finally, being informed about what is going on in the world is always a good idea, and it is particularly important for the purposes of this course. Keeping up with international events will enhance the quality of our discussions as we incorporate the material and the theories that we are learning with what we see and read in the news. Each week I will distribute links to news articles via Twitter. Don’t let the tag turn you off; the content is not just about Europe but the world! If you do not already have a Twitter account or would like to set up a new account specifically for this course, go to Twitter for instructions on how to get started.

In addition to following the course on Twitter, I highly recommend spending a little time each day (or each week!) checking out the international news on your own. Listed below are some of the news sources that I use to stay abreast of world events.

  • The Economist (weekly British news magazine with a good comparative perspective)
  • The Financial Times (British daily newspaper with quality information on international topics)
  • The Guardian (British newspaper with a weekly European edition containing extracts from a number of continental European newspapers)
  • Der Spiegel (popular German news magazine with online content available in English)
  • The New York Times (US newspaper with decent coverage of world events) and free to Miami students!
  • I also recommend that you listen to the following NRP programs: Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Diane Rehm’s Friday News Roundup: International Hour.

Course Expectations and Student Responsibilities

Attendance Policy

I value attendance and therefore expect yours to be regular. Attendance at lectures, video screenings, and class exercises is required and absences will adversely affect your participation grade as well as your overall performance in the course. Attendance will be recorded daily.

Miami University requires that students attend all regularly scheduled class sessions. The exception to Miami's full-attendance policy is as follows:

There are no University-recognized excused absences except for religious observances that require absence from a class session and other required class activities. Students must give written notification to their instructor within the first two weeks of class of the religious event which prohibits class attendance, and the date that will be missed, if officially known. Instructors will, without prejudice, provide such students with reasonable accommodations for completing missed work. However, the students are ultimately responsible for material covered in class, regardless of whether the student is absent or present.

Beyond this, I give you two “free” absences for which I ask no questions. Missing more than two classes without a legitimate excuse approved by me will reduce your final semester grade by 1/2 letter grade per absence. Missing more than four classes without a legitimate excuse approved by me will result in you being dropped from the course. Legitimate excuses include serious medical emergencies or University activitiesand must be supported by documentation. They do not include work commitments or early departures for university breaks.

Attendance is only one component of successful participation. Reading the required material, an average of 30-40 pages per session, prior to the lecture is essential, as this will enable you to participate fully in class activities and discussions. Consider falling behind with the readings to be the kiss of death in this course!

Academic Integrity Policy

Students should be aware that I take academic integrity seriously. Cheating, plagiarism, and any form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be grounds for receiving a grade of Withdrawal Academic Dishonesty (W(AD)). The University policy on academic integrity and the repercussions for violating it can be found in the Miami Student Handbook (Chapter 5).

Disability Resources

I welcome requests and am more than willing to work with students who may need academic accommodations due to a disability. Please contact me as soon as possible if you have any disability or concern. You should also refer the Office of Learning Assistance and/or the Office of Disability Services to learn about the resources available to you.

Sexual Assault

Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources here. Miami's Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Student Sexual Assault and Harassment is Ms. Rebecca Getson. You can contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Student Sexual Assault by phone at 529-1870 or by email at

For a full description of support services, see Title IX Protocol and the Office of Equity & Equal Opportunity.

Course Requirements

Part of my job as your instructor is to spark and expand your interest in comparative politics, to uncover the connections between politics and your life, and to help you hone your writing skills. I will do my best to fulfill my side of the bargain, but for the class to be successful and fun for all of us, you must keep up your part of the bargain as well. This means that you must complete the following tasks:

Op-Ed Article and Responses (90 points; 15% of final grade)

As budding political scientists, you should strive to convey your ideas to a variety of audiences. The op-ed assignment requires that you address a general audience. Detailed instructions are provided on Canvas. The assignment consists of two components:

  1. An op-ed article on a topic of your choice. During the first week of classes, I will assign you a specific week during which they must submit your op-ed. Articles are limited to 750 words and should include the following:
    • a compelling introduction;
    • a brief, yet informative and fair, background on the topic;
    • a clear statement of opinion;
    • a policy solution/recommendation;
    • a minimum of two sources.
  2. Four responses to op-ed articles submitted by fellow students. Due dates for responses are provided above. Responses should be limited to 350 words and should include the following:
    • a clear statement supporting or contesting the initial op-ed article, and
    • a minimum of one source to support your position.

In addition to the components listed above, all submissions should be grammatically clean and well written and should appropriately cite all sources. Unlike many op-ed articles that do not cite sources, your op-ed should cite a minimum of two reputable sources and your rebuttals should cite at least one reputable source. See assignment instructions for additional details.

Midterm Exam (90 points; 15% of final grade)

The midterm exam will take place on October 13 and is comprised of two parts: 1) a take-home component consisting of an essay on set topic and, 2) an in-class component consisting of identification short answer questions covering the readings, lectures, and class discussions addressed during Weeks 1-7. I will provide a study guide on Canvas (Assignments > Exams) two weeks prior to the exam.

Research Design Paper (180 points; 30% of final grade)

In contrast to the op-ed assignment, the research design paper offers an opportunity to write to a specific audience, namely fellow political scientists. You will write an original research design paper between 4000-4500 words (not including the works cited page). These papers should resemble an empirical journal article or a conference paper, with only the actual empirical analysis missing. The papers should include a research question or puzzle, a short review of the relevant literature, theoretical arguments and hypotheses, and a proposed method of researching the question (empirical evidence and methodology, i.e. how you would potentially test these hypotheses?). The only part missing from the paper is the actual analysis. The papers can focus on any of the literature or questions raised in class. This assignment has multiple components and deadlines that are noted in the syllabus. Detailed instructions for each component of the paper are available on Canvas (Assignments > Research Design Paper).

Final Exam (90 points; 15% of final grade)

The final exam will take place on December 10. Similar to the midterm exam, it follows an unconventional pattern. The exam consists of two parts: an in-class exam and an in-class debate. The debate covers the material introduced during the final two weeks of classes. The written exam consists of identification and short answer questions covering the readings, lectures, and class discussions from Weeks 8-14 (that means it IS NOT cumulative!). I will provide a study guide for the in-class written exam and further instructions for the in-class debate two weeks prior to the exam (Assignments > Exams).

Reflection Responses (60 points; 10% of final grade)

During this course, we will read a number of articles by scholars who “take sides” during debates about particular systems of government, policy outcomes, etc. Regularly, I will ask you to do the same through short reaction papers or in-class group assignments. These assignments serve multiple purposes. First and foremost, they allow you to practice the craft of clear and concise writing. Writing is a trial and error process, and I believe in learning from your mistakes. Second, I will provide prompt feedback for each assignment prior, so you will be able to gauge your improvement over the course of the semester. Two of your writing assignments will assess your ability to evaluate social scientific methods, applying the comparative method yourself, and to convey your ‘findings’ in a written piece. Many of these assignments will require that you or your group choose which of two scholars’ arguments you find most compelling, recap that argument (in the context of the opposing argument), and explain what makes that argument compelling and why.

Participation (90 points; 15% of final grade)

Political science is a discipline that lends itself to discussion and debate. Exchanging in a political dialogue is a great way to absorb a working knowledge of political concepts and ideas and to develop your thoughts in response to the material covered in class. Often you will find that your classmates have a different perspective and raise good questions about your views or add further insights to your ideas. You have a lot to learn from each other – I know that I find my own study enriched by hearing your ideas and perspectives, and so I am sure that you can learn as much from each other as I learn from all of you.

Class participation will play an integral role in this course. Class participation includes both venturing forth with your own ideas and questions and listening attentively to each other. A person who seldom speaks but listens intently and takes notes is participating as fully as one who speaks frequently and thoughtfully. In guiding discussions, I seldom impose the strict control required to ensure that everyone in class speaks equally because I respect the fact that different people have different preferences for how they participate in class discussions. I do impose the mild control of giving preference to new voices when I can tell that someone who has not spoken much wants to speak. And I very much encourage those who feel shy about speaking to practice speaking up because it is a liberation to find one’s voice in discussion. I promise to do my best to keep the classroom a safe place to share ideas, even tentative, uncertain ideas! In the same spirit, I encourage those who find themselves speaking a lot to use their high level of social comfort well – you who are most vocal do much to shape the atmosphere of discussion, so work to make that atmosphere one that is warm and inviting. There are gentle ways that those who are vocal can try to make space and draw in those who are quiet. The quiet students appreciate when the outspoken folks take an interest in hearing their thoughts!

In discussions, making connections – with the readings, with topics discussed in previous classes, and with the comments that others have made – is particularly helpful to you and to everyone else. Therefore, making connections is especially noted and appreciated.

Finally, there will be occasional homework assignments to be prepared in advance of class. They are not intended to be onerous and often will not be graded. Their completion, however, will factor into you overall participation grade.

A Note about Writing Assignments

Writing is an art (and thankfully something that can be improved and developed over time). I expect your writing assignments to be clearly argued and organized. Your submissions should have an introduction that includes a thesis statement, followed by clear and methodical development of the thesis, ending with a conclusion summarizing the main argument of the essay or paper. These assignments are not creative writing exercises, rather as most technical writing are, they are a method to convey to me knowledge and insights that you have gained from the readings, lectures, and your own research. If you have never been in a technical writing situation before, let me know, and I will provide you with materials that will make the new task easier. I have developed a handout on General Tips for Good Social Science Writing and a general Paper Rubric, both of which are available on Canvas (Assignments > Writing Aids). There are also numerous resources available at Miami University, several of which we will explore together throughout the semester.

I strongly encourage students to go to the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, located in King Library. They have many resources to assist students with written assignments.

Finally, students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the site.

Extra Credit

Miami University is a vibrant campus. Rest assured that there will be numerous opportunities for extra credit throughout the semester. I will announce details via Canvas and email.

Technology in the Classroom

Though technology will play a key role in this course outside of the classroom, laptops and mobile phones will not have free reign during class hours!! A few ground rules:

  • Laptop and tablets are not permitted in lecture unless permission is granted by me for specified inclass assignments. Laptops and tablets should only be used to take notes or to complete instructor assigned tasks. I run a “two strikes you’re out” policy regarding laptop abuse in class, meaning if you are caught abusing laptop privileges more than twice, you will no longer be able to use your laptop in class and your participation grade will be reduced by two points.
  • Everyone has a mobile phone these days. They should be kept out of sight and out of mind during our class periods. Phones should be kept on silent and in your bag, backpack, purse, etc. The “two strikes you’re out” policy described above also applies to phones.

Course Schedule

Week 1: What Is Comparative Politics? (August 25, 27)

Introduction and Organization/What is Comparative Politics? (Tuesday 8/25)

  • We will review the syllabus and complete the student questionnaire in class. Both are available via the Canvas portal, but I will also distribute hard copies during class.
  • Smith, R. 2002. “Should We Make Political Science More of a Science or More about Politics?” PS: Political Science and Politics, 35(2): 199-201. [C]
  • In-class activity: Writing exercise

Overview of Comparative Politics (Thursday 8/27)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 1: Introduction,” (pgs. 3-27)

Week 2: Using the Comparative Method to Explain Political Outcomes /Nuts and Bolts of Writing an Op-Ed Article (September 1, 3)

The Comparative Method (Tuesday 9/1)

  • ER: Chapter 1
    • Lichbach, M. and A. Zucherman. 1997. “Research Traditions and Theory in Comparative Politics: An Introduction.” Excerpt from Comparative Politics: Rationality, Politics, and Structure. New York: Cambridge University Press. (ER: pgs. 3-7)
    • King, G., R. Keohane, and S. Verba. 1994. “The Science in Science.” Excerpt from Designing Social Inquiry. Scientific Interest in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (ER: pgs. 7-13)
    • Bartels, L. 2010. “Some Unfulfilled Promises of Quantitative Imperialism.” Excerpt from Rethinking Social Inquiry, 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. (ER: pgs. 13-17)
    • Rogowski, R. “How Inference in the Social (But Not the Physical) Sciences Neglects Technical Anomaly.” Excerpt from Rethinking Social Inquiry, 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. (ER: pgs. 17-23)
  • In-class activity: Preparation for debate on the Comparative Method to be held Thursday 9/3.
  • In-class activity: Writing in the Discipline – General Audiences.
  • Recommended reading
    • O’Neil 2015. “Introduction.” Cases in Comparative Politics, 5th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company: 3-33.

Putting the Comparative Method into Practice (Thursday 9/3)

  • Start reading: Sodaro, M. 2008. “Critical Thinking About Politics: Analytical Techniques of Political Science – The Logic of Hypothesis Testing. In Comparative Politics: A Global Introduction. New York: McGraw Hill: 60-97. [C]
  • Study Questions provided on Canvas; responses due THURSDAY September 17.
  • In-class activity: Debate on the Comparative Method

Week 3: Established States (September 8, 10)

The State and Sovereignty (Tuesday 9/8)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 2: States,” (pgs. 31-60).
  • ER: Chapter 2
    • Weber, M. 1956. “Politics as Vocation.” Excerpt from Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. New York: Galaxy. (ER: pgs. 39-44)
    • Fukuyama, F. 2011. “The Necessity of Politics.” From The Origins of Power. (ER 26-39)
    • Krasner, S. 2001. “Sovereignty.” From Foreign Policy 35(3). (ER 68-74)

Nuts and Bolts of Writing a Research Design Paper I (Thursday 9/10)

  • In-class activity: Writing in the Discipline – Specific Audiences. PRINT OUT the following:
  • Next Assignment: Research Design Project – Part 1 (topic) due TUESDAY by 11:59 p.m. via Canvas

Week 4: Failed and Failing States/Nations (September 15, 17)

Failed/Failing States (Tuesday 9/15)

  • ER: Chapter 2
    • Herbst, J. 1990. “ War in the State of Africa.” From International Security 14(4). (ER 45-60)
    • Rotberg, R. 2002. “The New Nature of Nation-State Failure.” From Washington Quarterly 25(3). (ER 60-67)
  • Visit by Howe Writing Center
  • Next Assignment: Finish reading: Sodaro, M. 2008. “Critical Thinking About Politics: Analytical Techniques of Political Science – The Logic of Hypothesis Testing. In Comparative Politics: A Global Introduction. New York: McGraw Hill: 60-97.
  • Responses to Study Questions due THURSDAY by 11:59 p.m. via Canvas

Nations and Nationalism (Thursday 9/17)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 3: Nations and Society,” (pgs. 63-77).
  • Muller, J. 2008. “Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism.” Foreign Affairs 87(2):18-35.
  • In-class activity: How to Read in Political Science…Reading for Purpose!
    • Fearon, J. D. and D. D. Laitin. 2003. “Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War.” From American Journal of Political Science 97(1). (ER: pgs. 86-113)
  • Next Assignment: Research Design Project – Part 2 (puzzle and working thesis) due TUESDAY by 11:59 p.m. via Canvas

Week 5: Civil Society and Collective Action (September 22, 24)

What Is Civil Society?

  • Essentials: “Chapter 3: Nations and Society,” (pgs. 77-95).
  • Putnam, R. 1995. “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.” Journal of Democracy 6(1): 65-78.
  • Foley, M. and B. Edwards. 1996. “The Paradox of Civil Society.” Journal of Democracy 7(3): 38-52.

Nuts and Bolts of Writing a Research Design Paper II (Thursday 9/24)

  • Visit to King Library
  • In-class activity: What is an Annotated Bibliography?
  • Next Assignment: Research Design Project – Part 3 (meeting with professor)

Week 6: Ethnicity & Nationalism in Comparative Politics (September 29, October 1)

Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict (Tuesday 9/29)

  • Practice reading for purpose! Study questions provided via Canvas.
    • Varshney, A. 2007. “Ethnicity and Ethnic Conflict.” In The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics, eds. Carlos Boix and Susan Stokes. New York: Oxford University Press: 274-294. [C]
    • Hintjens, H. M. 2001. “When Identity Becomes a Knife Reflecting on the Genocide in Rwanda.” Ethnicities 1(1): 25-55. [C]
  • In-class activity: Film: Ghosts of Rwanda

Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict Cont’d (Thursday 10/1)

  • In-class activity: Film: Ghosts of Rwanda

Week 7: Political Regime Types – Democracy (October 6, 8)

Democracy: Definition and Origins (Tuesday 10/6)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 5: Democratic Regimes,” (pgs. 137-171).
  • ER: Chapter 5
    • Schmitter, P. and T. Karl. 1991. “What Democracy is…and is Not.” 2(3). (ER: 203-212)
    • Lipjhart, A. 1996. “Constitutional Choices for New Democracies.” Excerpt from The Global Resurgence of Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. (ER 188-202)
  • Recommended readings
    • Dahl, R. A. 1998. On Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press. Chapters 4 and 5, pgs. 35-62; Chapter 8, pgs. 83-99; Chapters 13 and 14, pgs. 166-179. [C]

Democratic Transitions & Democratic Consolidation (Thursday 10/8)

  • ER: Chapter 5
    • Stepan, A., J. J. Linz, and Y. Yadav. 2010. “The Rise of ‘State Nations.’” From Journal of Democracy 21(3). (ER 250-264)
  • Huntington, S. “Democracy’s Third Wave.” From The Democracy Sourcebook. (pgs. 93-98) [C]

Week 8: Midterm Exam/ Research Design Paper (October 13, 15)

Midterm Exam (Tuesday 10/13)

Library Session (Thursday 10/15)

  • In class activity: Meet at King Library to finish compiling resources for your annotated bibliography due October 22.

Week 9: Political Regime Types –Democracy cont’d (October 20, 22)

How Do Democracies Differ? Party Systems and State Design (Tuesday 10/20)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 8: Developed Democracies,” (pgs. 239-269).
  • Linz, J. 1990. “The Perils of Presidentialism.” Journal of Democracy. 1: 51-69. [C]
  • Next Assignment: Research Design Project – Part 4 (annotated bibliography) due THURSDAY

Forming a Government Coalition…It’s Harder than You Think! (Thursday 10/22)

  • Review materials from previous session
  • In-class activity: Bring computers to class. Activity TBA.

Week 10: Political Regime Types – Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism (October 27, 29)

Defining Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism (Tuesday 10/27)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 6: Nondemocratic Regimes,” (pgs. 175-204).
  • ER: Chapter 6
    • Linz, J. and A. Stepan. 1996. “Modern Nondemocratic Regimes.” From Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. (ER 267-279)
    • Levitsky, S. and L. A. Way. 2002, “The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism.” From Journal of Democracy 13(2). (ER 303-313)
  • Diamond, L. 2008. “The Democratic Rollback: The Resurgence of the Predatory State.” Foreign Affairs 87(2): 36-48.

Defining Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism Cont’d (Thursday 10/29)

  • ER: Chapter 6
    • Levitsky, S. and L. A. Way. 2002, “The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism.” From Journal of Democracy 13(2). (ER 303-313)
  • Next Assignment: Extra Credit - A State of Mind. Study questions available via Canvas/

Week 11: Political Violence (November 3, 5)

Political Violence: The Basics (Tuesday 11/3)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 7: Political Violence,” (pgs. 207-236).
  • ER: Chapter 7
    • Goldston, J. 2011. “Understanding the Revolutions of 2011.” From Foreign Affairs 90(3). (ER366-372)
    • Crenshaw, H. 1981. “The Causes of Terrorism.” From Comparative Politics 13(4). (ER 333-349)
  • Packet of news articles will be circulated for in class activity on Thursday.

Political Violence Cont’d (Thursday 11/5)

  • ER: Chapter 7
    • Abrams, M. 2008. “What Terrorists Really Want.” From International Security 32(4). (ER 372-394)
  • In-class activity: Bring computers to class. Assignment TBA.

Week 12: Political Economy (November 10, 12)

Political Economy: Understanding the Building Blocks (Tuesday 11/10)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 4: Political Economy,” (pgs. 99-112).
  • ER: Chapter 4
    • Smith, A. 1976. “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.” (ER: pgs. 137-145)
  • In-class activity: Practice reading for purpose! North, D. “Institutions.” (ER: pgs. 145-154)

Political Economy: The Big Picture (Thursday 11/12)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 4: Political Economy,” (pgs. 112-133).
  • ER: Chapter 4
    • Acemoglu, D. “Root Causes: A Historical Approach to Assessing the Role of Institutions in Economic Development.” (ER: pgs. 155-159)

Week 13: Communism and Post-Communism (November 17, 19)

Communism and Post-Communism (Tuesday 11/17)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 9: Communism and Post-Communism” (pgs. 271-306).
  • ER: Chapter 9
    • Marx, K. and F. Engels. 1969. “The Communist Manifesto.” From Selected Works in Three Volumes, Vol. 1. Moscow, USSR Progress Publishers. (ER 469-481)
    • Gat, A. 2007. “The Return of Great Authoritarian Powers.” (ER 539-544
  • Next Assignment: Research Design Project – Part 5 (first draft)

Communism and Post-Communism Cont’d/Hybrid Regimes (Thursday 11/19)

  • ER: Chapter 9
    • Bunce, V. and S. Wolchik. 2011. “Conclusions: Democratizing Elections, International Diffusion, and US Democracy Assistance.” From Defeating Authoritarian Leaders in postcommunist Countries. New York: Cambridge University Press. (ER 481-502)
  • Diamond, L. 2002. “Thinking about Hybrid Regimes.” Journal of Democracy 13(2): 21-35. [C]
  • Petrov, et. al. 2014. “Three Dilemmas of Hybrid Regime Governance: Russia from Putin to Putin.” Post-Soviet Affairs 30(1): 1-26.

Week 14: Research Design Paper (November 24, 26)

Research Design Paper – Peer Editing (Tuesday 11/24)

  • In-class activity: Peer review of Research Design Paper
    • o Bring your computers AND hard copies of your drafts

Thanksgiving Break (Thursday 11/26)

Week 15: Developing Countries (December 1, 3)

Less-Developed and Newly Industrializing Countries (Tuesday 12/1)

  • Essentials: “Chapter 10: Less-Developed and Newly Industrializing Countries” (pgs. 290-321).
  • ER: Chapter 6
    • Weinthal, E. and P. Jones Luong. 2008, “Combating the Resource Curse.” From Perspectives on Politics 4(1). (ER 279-294)
  • ER: Chapter 10
    • Easterly, W. 2001. “To Help the Poor.” From The Elusive Quest for Growth. Cambridge: MIT Press. (ER: 547-52)

Group Preparation for Final Exam (Thursday 12/3)

  • Williamson, J. 1990. “What Washington Means By Policy Reform.” In Latin American Adjustment: How Much Has Happened? ed. John Williamson. Washington DC: Institute for International Economics, 83-89. [C]
  • Munck, G. L., and C. Skalnik Leff. 1997. "Modes of Transition and Democratization: South America and Eastern Europe in Comparative Perspective." Comparative Politics 29(3): 343-362. [C]
  • Carothers, T. 2002. “The End of the Transition Paradigm.” Journal of Democracy 13(1): 5-21 [C]

Final Exam: December 10 – 8:00-10:00 a.m.