Comparative Politics—POS 670
This graduate seminar is designed to train students in analyzing and conducting comparative research. Course readings are drawn from prominent scholarship in the field, especially from classic works on theoretical and methodological debates and approaches, political economy of development, state-market relations, state building, regime change, social movements, revolution, internal violence, political parties and party systems, systems of government, and electoral systems. By the end of the course, you should be able to (1) employ the comparative method and describe how it is used in different scholarly works to rule out and rule in alternative causal arguments, (2) classify research according to theoretical approach(es) used to explain political outcomes, (3) identify trade-offs involved when selecting different research methodologies, (4) summarize major substantive findings and debates about the political phenomena covered, (5) identify gaps in existing research, and (6) make progress toward filling one or more gap through a substantive research paper.
Political Development—POS 672
This graduate seminar analyzes politics in the developing world. It is organized in four thematic units: the state, political economy, regimes, civil society. Over the course of the semester, we will examine explanations for and social and political implications of formal and informal institutions, state capacity, non-state and anti-state systems of political order, regime change, grievances and social class mobilizing, extractive economies, economic development, and varying welfare states. The course is grounded in cutting-edge comparative research on regional, national, subnational, and local politics in Africa, Central Asia, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Each book builds on prior research through deep conceptual and theoretical work. As a collection—and in several cases individually—the readings employ quantitative and qualitative methods; and draw on different theoretical traditions in Comparative Politics, taking seriously institutions, structural forces, culture, and individual rationality.
Professional Development Seminar—POS 691
This course provides advanced graduate students with an introduction to Political Science as a professional career. Students will Throughout the course of the semester in this class, you will gain skills in designing a college-level course, recognizing and employing different techniques for in-class instruction and class management, lecturing at the college level, presenting an academic conference paper, and summarizing your professional and intellectual accomplishments in standard, required formats within the profession.
Studies in Latin American Politics—POS 366
This course examines dramatic shifts in development models, national political regimes, and patterns of representation in Latin America over the past century, with emphasis on dynamics since the 1970s. The course focuses on the following phenomena in particular: (1) alternative forms of authoritarian rule as well as their origins and downfalls, (2) different paths toward democracy; (3) state-led and liberal economic models; (4) contemporary patterns of representation—including social movements, the rise of the “new lefts”; and (5) challenges to the rule of law.
Politics of Developing Nations—POS 361
This course focuses on politics in the Global South, with special attention given to the challenges that developing countries face in relation to economic development, internal security, state capacity, and democracy, and the interconnectedness of these phenomena. In class discussions and in your writing, you will compare and contrast different explanations for economic development, markets, regime type and quality, state-building, and internal (dis)order in the developing world. As part of this discussion, you will consider the potential influence of the power of domestic political institutions, domestic cultural factors, structural characteristics of the national and international economy, and the strategic calculation of self-interested individuals.
Natural Resources and Conflict—POS 301W
Conflict surrounding mining and hydrocarbons extraction in the developing world has increased in salience in the current context of liberal economic models and resource booms: investment and production are up, with ramifications for social and political tensions. This course covers different types of conflict brought on by resource extraction in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with particular attention devoted to Colombia. Conflicts involve indigenous mobilizing, ties and tensions between indigenous and environmental activism, and clashes—some peaceful, some violent—among different actors over the rents generated by extraction. The course will also address actions taken in the face of conflict, by state actors, multinational corporations, and international nongovernmental organizations. This writing-intensive seminar fulfills the Junior Writing Requirement.
Politics in the Andes—POS 301W
In recent decades, the Andean sub-region of Latin America has seen the collapse of traditional party systems, weak checks on executive power, and the emergence of strong indigenous movements, contributing to a substantial rise of the Left and backlash from the Right. Ongoing insurgencies—fed by legal and illegal economies and in some cases supported inadvertently by state actions—have raised dilemmas surrounding security, human rights, and national sovereignty. Interwoven throughout and contributing to these political developments is the region’s heavy reliance on extractive industries. This course focuses on politics in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, while speaking to the broader themes of development and inequality, political participation and representation, environmental justice, social movements, and security. This writing-intensive seminar fulfills the Junior Writing Requirement.
Comparative Politics—POS 360
This course focuses on “what?” “why?” and “how?” in the field of Comparative Politics. It is designed to prepare you to do the following, in class discussions and in your writing: (1) apply key concepts to describe what important political events you observe in different countries; (2) critique causal explanations for explaining why these events have occurred, and use the power of comparisons to rule in and out possible explanations; and (3) evaluate possible causal pathways—that is, how certain causes might lead to certain outcomes—by drawing on logic and evidence. The major topics covered in the course include the following: state building and state capacity, comparative political economy, regimes and regime change, constitutional design, legislatures, executives, political parties and party systems, contentious politics and social movements, revolutions, and identity politics.