Introduction to Comparative Politics

POL S 204
  • Quarters: Summer, Autumn
  • General Education Requirements: I&S

In this course we will explore recent and historical trends in the political and economic development of seven countries in four world regions, paying particular attention to differences and similarities between these countries that might explain when and why countries democratize, or when and how countries enhance their economic productivity. In doing so, we will address both major substantive issues as well as important theoretical debates that have informed the study of comparative politics over the last several decades. Why have some countries become stable democracies while others have become authoritarian or even totalitarian regimes? Why are poverty and inequality such pervasive problems in some areas that were former European colonies, while in other areas developing countries have made great strides toward alleviating these problems? Does economic globalization improve or hinder the prospects for economic development and democratization around the globe? Upon finishing this course, students will be in a position to formulate answers to these questions and enter some of the central debates that motivates the study of comparative politics.