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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Adrian C. Sinkler
POL S 447
Seattle Campus

Advanced Seminar in Comparative Politics

Selected comparative political problems, political institutions, processes, and issues in comparative perspective. Strongly Recommended: POL S 204.

Class description

In this course we will examine the international political economy of drugs and the drug trade by comparing the U.S.-Latin American trade in the Western Hemisphere to "public health" regulatory approaches common in Eurasia. In doing so, we will use social deviance, constructivist and rational choice models to both explain the evolution of drug policy and to assess the effects of different drug policy regimes. What is the connection between drug policy in the developed world and human rights violations in the under-developed world? Would liberalizing the drug trade contribute to poverty alleviation in producer countries like Colombia, Bolivia and Afghanistan? Does decriminalization reduce or increase socioeconomic problems associated with drug addiction? Upon finishing this course, students will be in a position to formulate answers to these questions and enter the policy and ethical debates that surround them.

Student learning goals

Learn different regulatory strategies in industrial democracies.

Analyze the comparative development of drug regulatory strategies in industrial democracies.

Learn the development of international drug treaties as well as their effects on "producer" countries in the global south.

Use different theoretical literatures to explain and interpret the causes of drug use and the development of regulatory regimes.

General method of instruction

This class will be conducted as a seminar, driven primarily by student discussion leaders and mixed with short lectures by the professor.

Recommended preparation

A background in political economy and/or international relations is desirable.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be responsible for serving as discussion leader twice during the quarter, and their will also be two in-class exams.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Adrian C. Sinkler
Date: 05/23/2013