PSC 1001: Introduction to Comparative Politics

Course Description

Why are some countries democratic and others dictatorships? Why do civil wars occur in some countries and not others? How does history impact the political and economic stability of nations? These are some of the questions addressed by scholars working in the field of comparative politics, which is defined by its focus on political questions that can be answered through cross-country comparison. In this course, we will explore the field of comparative politics through a survey of issue areas, including state capacity, nation-building, ethnic conflict, democratic and authoritarian regimes, transitions to democracy, terrorism and insurgency, and economic development.

Learning Objectives

This class satisfies G-PAC requirements in critical thinking and cross-cultural perspectives. In this class, you will:

  • Learn and critically analyze fundamental concepts in political science and comparative politics;
  • Apply these concepts in a variety of countries;
  • Learn how historical, societal, and cultural differences influence the practice of politics;
  • Compare the differences between regime types and their impact on political, economic, and social outcomes;
  • Demonstrate your knowledge through analytical papers, writing exercises and one term paper, along with an intensive peer review process.

Course Requirements

  1. Quizzes (10%)
  2. Class participation and attendance (10%)
  3. Memo and presentation (20%)
  4. Group projects (30%)
  5. Final (30%)