Susan H. Whiting
POL S 505
Modern theories, approaches, and methods in the study of comparative politics.
Description. This course offers a survey of some of the most important literature in the field of comparative politics. The organization of the course reflects some of the central theoretical debates that have shaped the sub-discipline. The course is organized into four sections: the emergence of political regimes, the process of regime development, recent trends in comparative politics (with a focus on institutional and cultural approaches to explaining political phenomena), and, finally, methodological issues in comparative analysis.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Texts. We will read some of the classics of comparative politics, including Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy; Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions; and Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies; as well as some of the more significant recent contributions, including Evans, Dependent Development; Haggard, Pathways from the Periphery; Migdal, Strong Societies and Weak States; Geddes, Politiciansí Dilemma; and Putnam, Making Democracy Work, among other readings.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments. Grades will be based on (a) short weekly essays on the assigned readings, (b) a longer conceptual paper that either explores one of the theoretical issues addressed in the course in greater depth or links a theoretical issue to the studentís own research interests, and (c) an oral exam.