Adrian C. Sinkler
POL S 204
Political systems in a comparative framework. Traditional and contemporary approaches to the study of governments and societies in different countries. Offered: WSp.
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.
Student learning goals
Improve the student's ability to analyze and interpret theoretical arguments about the causes of political and economic development.
Improve the student's ability to construct her own arguments and support them with historical evidence.
Improve student's understanding of different political systems and economic systems, as they have operated in different regions of the world.
General method of instruction
Lectures combined with small discussion sections.
Class assignments and grading
Course grades will consist of two in-class exams (20% for the first and 30% for the second), and two 5-6 page essays (20% for the first and 30% for the second).
All grades are assigned according to the 4.0 scale.