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Comparative Politics - PS 120 through 139

120A. Political Development of Western Europe (4)

An examination of various paths of European political development through consideration of the conflicts which shaped these political systems: the commercialization of agriculture; religion and the role of the church; the army and the state bureaucracy; and industrialization. Stress will be on alternative paradigms and on theorists.

120B. The German Political System (4)

An analysis of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany with an emphasis on the party system, elections, executive-legislative relations, and federalism. Comparisons will be made with other West European democracies and the Weimar Republic.

120C. Politics in France (4)

This course will examine the consequences of social and economic change in France. Specific topics will include institutional development under a semi-presidential system, parties, and elections.

120D. Germany: Before, During, and After Division (4)

Consideration of political, economic, and security factors that have kept Germany at the center of European developments for more than a century.

120E. Scandinavian Politics (4)

Introduction to the politics and societies of the Scandinavian states (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden). Focuses on historical development, political culture, constitutional arrangements, political institutions, parties and interest groups, the Scandinavian welfare states, and foreign policy.

120F. Europe as a Political Model (4)

Political debates often invoke the "European model", with the left extolling its political virtues as the right derides it as "unworkable". Although these discussions frequently tie into political reform debates, they offer little discussion of what the "European political model" entails. This course is designed to identify the economic, institutional, and cultural components of the "European political model", examining whether it provides insights for reform outside of the European context.

120G. British Politics (4)

Emphasis will be placed on the interaction between British political institutions and processes and contemporary policy problems: the economy, social policy, foreign affairs.  The course assumes no prior knowledge of British politics and comparisons with the United States will be drawn.

120H. European Integration (4)

This course reviews the origins and development of the European Community/European Union and its institutions, theories of integration, and the challenges inherent in the creation of a supranational political regime.

120I. Politics in Italy (4)

This course will provide a comparative perspective on the development and functioning of the Italian political system. It includes analysis of political institutions, ideological traditions, parties and elections, political elites in the policy process, and the evolving importance of Italy within European integration.

120J. Politics and Revolution (I): The Politics of the French Revolution (4)

A comparative historical study of the origins, dynamics, and outcomes of the French revolution. After overview of social-scientific theories and approaches to understanding revolution, the course will evaluate these in light of the concrete experience of the events that gave birth to the term revolution itself. Only undergraduates will have a final examination; graduate students will be required to do additional reading for the course as well as complete a seminar-length research paper. Prerequisites: For 120J - one lower-division political science course; for 220J - graduate standing.

120K. Comparative Legislatures (4)

This course examines how legislatures shape policymaking in the United States, France, and United Kingdom. We will pay particular attention to how political parties, institutional structures, and legislator incentives impact representation and policymaking within and across cases. A substantial portion of the course will require participation in a simulation which will ask students to apply theoretical insights learned in the course to advance legislation in a simulated legislature.

120N.  Contention and Conflict in Africa (4)

This course offers a systematic study of civil wars, electoral violence, anti-immigrant violence, genocides, coups, riots and rebel groups in sub-Saharan Africa.  It will explore why some regions experience certain types of violence while others do not. 

120P. Africa's Success Stories (4)

This course examines reasons why we can be cautiously optimistic about development, growth, peace and democratization in Africa.  Sample cases include Botswana's resource blessing, post-conflict reconstruction in Uganda, and democratization in Ghana, Benin and Niger.

120Q. Ethnic Politics (4)

This course introduces students to the comparative study of ethnic politics. It examines the relationships between ethnicity on one hand, and mobilization, political contestation, violence, trust, and pork on the other. It draws from analysis from a variety of contexts and regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, North America, South Asia and Western Europe.

121. Governments and Politics of the Middle East (4)

This course examines general themes affecting the region (social structure and regime type, religion and modernization, bonds and tensions), the character of major states, and efforts to resolve the conflict between Israel and its Arab and Islamic neighbors.

121B. Politics in Israel (4)

An interdisciplinary study of Israel as both a unique and yet a common example of a modern democratic nation-state. We will examine Israel's history, its political, economic and legal systems, social structure and multicultural tensions, the tension between state and religion, national security and international relations.

122. Politics of Human Rights (4)

What do we mean by "international human rights"? Are they universal? This course examines human rights abuse and redress over time, and across different regions of the world.  From this empirically grounded perspective, we critically evaluate contemporary human rights debates.

122D. Abuse of Power (4)

Power, a crucial part of politics, can be, and often is, abused.  This course discusses the nature of power and surveys a variety of abuses, including agenda manipulation, rent extraction, fraud, extortion, corruption, exploitation, and gross political oppression.

123. Politics of Empire in Comparative Perspective (4)

In between "rises" and "declines," empires are political entities with highly heterogeneous populations that must be governed. The course examines the similarities and differences in imperial governance, comparing the internal and external political dynamics of traditional (Roman, Ottoman), modernizing (Habsburg), and modern (British) empires. Prerequisite: upper-division standing.

124. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (4)

This course will examine the national and colonial dimensions of this long-lasting international conflict.  The course will also examine the everyday, international humanitarian law, and governmental/political aspects of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza following the 1967 War and the Israeli-Palestinian peace-process.  This course is cross-listed with SOC 188I. 

124A. Political Consequences of Electoral Systems (4)

A comparative survey of the major dimensions of the electoral systems used in contemporary democracies (including plurality and majority systems, proportional representation, and districting methods) and of their effects on party competition.

125. Gender, Politics and Globalization (4)

What have been the effects of globalization on gender, and how has gender shaped conceptions and processes of globalization? Through case studies drawn from the global north and south, this course critically assesses contemporary theoretical debates on global gender justice.

125A. Communities and the Environment (4)

A popular new idea in environmental protection is to include local communities in conservation efforts. But what are these communities? What challenges do they face in governing their own resources? This course uses both theory and case studies to explore the political economy of community-based conservation.

125B. The Politics of Food in an Global Economy (4)

This course explores emerging issues in production and consumption of food in a global economy. On production side, we discuss issues such as famine, overproduction of commercial crops, and sustainability. on consumption side, we explore issues such as fair trade, ethical consumption, and public health consequences (such as obesity). Then we discuss the roles of governments, international organizations, and communities to address these issues. 

125D. Corruption in Developing Countries (4)

This course explores corruption in developing countries. It examines various types of corruption, in areas including healthcare, elections, natural resources, development projects, international business. The course investigates causes and consequences of corruption, with an emphasis on political and economic factors. It also explores successes and failures of anti-corruption policies enacted by domestic and international actors. The course draws on examples from Africa, Asia, Latin America.

125E. The Politics of Conservation in Developing Countries (4)

Conservation in developing countries concerns resources that are extremely important to policymakers, militaries, environmental organizations, communities, and individuals. This course examines these groups' struggle for control over wildlife and forests - from the capital to the village - on several continents.

126. Political Economy of Development (4)

Why are some countries rich and others poor?  This course examines how political and economic factors shape development trajectories, focusing on Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Topics include the impact of democracy, corruption, oil and foreign aid on economic development.

126AA. Political Economy: Modern Capitalism (4)

This course explores how economic factors affect political institutions and how political action affects economic behavior in the United States and Western Europe. Particular attention is given to relations between business and labor, economic policy choices, and the impact of international trade. Prerequisite: PS 11 or consent of instructor.

126AB. Politics and Economics in Central Eastern Europe (4)

This course explores the interrelationship of politics and economics in Central Eastern Europe, analyzing the historic evolution of the area, the socialist period, and contemporary political and economic change there.

127. Politics of Development (4)

This course critically examines central concepts and theories jof development, and assesses their utility in understanding political, economic, and social change in the developing world. Central case studies are drawn from three regions: Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia.

128. Autocracy, Democracy and Prosperity (4)

This course considers the interplay between factor endowments, political institutions and economic performance.  It focuses on the connection between representative political institutions and the emergence and expansion of markets.

129. How to Steal an Election (4)

Examine the role of elections in new and fragile democracies, explore how politicians construct elections to suppress increased levels of democracy, the techniques used to undermine free and fair elections, and the strategic responses to these actions by domestic/international actors.

130. Politics of Violence (4)

This course examines why some people, places, and times experience more violence than others. Drawing on anthropology, psychology, and political science, we focus on the role that institutions and inequality play in shaping how people experience and engage in violence.

130AA. The Soviet Successor States (4)

An overview of the historical background and contemporary politics of the fifteen successor states of the Soviet Union.

130AD. The Politics of the Russian Revolution (4)

An examination of the dynamics of the Russian Revolution from 1905 through the Stalinist period and recent years in light of theories of revolutionary change. Emphasis is placed on the significance of political thought, socio-economic stratification, and culturo-historical conditions.

130B. Politics in the People's Republic of China (4)

This course analyzes the political system of China since 1949, including political institutions, the policy-making process, and the relationship between politics and economics. The main focus is on the post-Mao era of reform beginning in 1978.

130G. Politics of Modern India (4)

The course gives an overview of Indian politics since 1947. It addresses: (1) To what extent is India a full-fledged democracy in which all citizens enjoy political equality? (2) Why has political violence occurred in some parts of India, and at certain times, but not others? (3) How well have the country's institutions fared in alleviating poverty?

131. Muslim Integration & Exclusion (4)

Is there a Muslim challenge to immigrant integration in Christian-Heritage Societies? This course asks if and why Muslim immigrants integrate into their host societies, and evaluates the various solutions put forth by politicians and scholars.

131C. The Chinese Revolution (4)

An analysis of the dynamics of the Chinese Revolution from the fall of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to the present. Emphasis is placed on the relationship between political thought and the dynamics of the revolutionary process.

132. Political Development and Modern China (4)

Political development has dominated the study of comparative politics among US academicians since the revival of the Cold War in 1947. This course examines critically this paradigm and its Western philosophical roots in the context of the experience in modern China.

133. Democracy, Development, and Conflict in South Asia (4)

This class introduces core topics in the study of South Asian politics. It uses evidence from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to shed light on key questions in the study of comparative politics. We examine (i) why these nations' regime trajectories have diverged; (ii) violent civil conflict, as well as nuclear weapons' contribution to regional stability; and (iii) human and economic development, including corruption, caste, gender, poverty alleviation, liberalization, and growth.

133A. Japanese Politics: A Developmental Perspective (4)

This course will analyze the political systems of modern Japan in comparative-historical perspective.

133D. Political Institutions of East Asian Countries (4)

This course discuses the following major topics in three East Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines) from a comparative perspective: (1) economic and political development; (b) political institutions; and (c) policies.

133G. Postwar U.S.-Japan Relations (4)

The relationship between the U.S. and Japan has been described as "the most important in the world, bar none." This course will examine U.S.-Japan security and economic relations in the postwar period from the Occupation and Cold War alliance through the severe bilateral trade friction of the 1980s and 1990s to the present relationship and how it is being transformed by the forces of globalization, regionalization, and multilateralism.

133J. Korean Politics (4)

This course is primarily about the politics and political economy of South Korea, but will also briefly look at politics and political economy of North Korea as well as foreign and unification policies of the two Koreas.

134. Political Parties/Development (4)

Political parties are fundamental to almost every democratic regime, and many authoritarian ones too. This class examines their role in developing countries. Where do parties come from? What part do they play in nationalist liberation struggles? How do they win support? Do extremist parties stoke ethnic violence? Can stable party systems boost economic growth? The class canvasses key political science theories, and draws on both quantitative and case-study evidence from across the Global South.

134AA. Comparative Politics of Latin America (4)

Comparative analysis of contemporary political systems and developmental profiles of selected Latin American countries, with special reference to the ways in which revolutionary and counter-revolutionary movements have affected the political, economic, and social structures observable in these countries today. Analyzes the performance of "revolutionary" governments in dealing with problems of domestic political management, reducing external economic dependency, redistributing wealth, creating employment, and extending social services. Introduction to general theoretical works on Latin American politics and development.

134B. Politics in Mexico (4)

General survey of the Mexican political system as it operates today. Emphasis on factors promoting the breakdown of Mexico's authoritarian regime and the transition to a more democratic political system. Changing relationship between the state and various segments of Mexico society (economic elites, peasants, urban labor, and the Church). New patterns of civil-military relations.

134D. Selected Topics in Latin American Politics (4)

A comparative analysis of contemporary political issues in Latin America. Material to be drawn from two or three countries. Among the topics: development, nationalism, political change.

134I. Politics in the Southern Cone of Latin America (4)

This course is a comparative analysis of twentieth-century political developments and issues in the Southern Cone of Latin America: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. The course will also examine the social and economic content and results of contrasting political experiments.

134J. Cuba: Revolution and Reform (4)

Students will study the origins and direction of the Cuban revolution and the actions and personality of Castro. Additional topics will include the Cuban economy today, Cuban political organizations and public opinion, important social issues including health care and public education, and Cuban foreign policy and relations between the U.S. and Cuba. The class will instruct students on Cuban contemporary social media and conclude with an examination of alternative scenarios for Cuba's future.

135. Comparative LGBT Politics (4)

This course is designed to expose students to the study of LGBT politics, focusing specifically on the formation of LGBT movements, the presence (or absence) of political opportunities to advance their desired goals, as well as their political success (or lack thereof). Although the course will initially examine the US LGBT movement, the course will also examine the formation (and political success/failure) of LGBT movements in other democratic political systems.

135D. Comparative Politics of Race and Ethnicity (4)

This class will consider social science theories of identity politics. We will ask: How do racial and ethnic identities differ from other identities like gender, class, and nation? When do racial and ethnic identities become politicized? What are the effects of their politicization on elections and civil conflict? What are political solutions for managing politicized identities? We will consider cases from around the world, with a particular focus on Africa.

136. Religion and Politics (4)

The political impact of major religious traditions-including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Confucianism-around the world.

136A. Nationalism and Politics (4)

An examination of nationalist politics as practiced by opposition movements and governments in power. Appropriate case studies from around the world will be selected.

136C. Comparative Bureaucracy (4)

This course examines the politics of the administrative state in the world's democracies. In particular, the course will focus on how political institutions influence governance across different types of democratic institutional environments.

137. A Sports Analytics Approach to the Social Sciences (4)

Sports analytics is a fast-growing field. It uses data and statistical methods to measure performance in competitive sports. The approach's popularity has generated a wealth of data that can be used to shed light on social science questions in interesting ways. We will focus on topics such as violent behavior, discrimination, cultural/ethnic diversity, corruption and cognitive biases using examples from baseball, basketball, figure skating, football, hockey, soccer and sumo wrestling.

137A. Comparative Political Parties and Interest Groups (4)

This course serves as an introduction to the comparative study of political parties and interest groups. The course has three parts: 1) an analytical introduction to parties, interest groups, and their role in democratic representation; 2) parties and interest groups in Great Britain; and 3) parties and interest groups in Italy. Prerequisite: PS 11 or consent of instructor.

138D. Special Topics in Comparative Politics (4)

An undergraduate course designed to cover various aspects of comparative politics. May be repeated for credit two times, provided each course is a separate topic, for a maximum of twelve units.

139. Development in Brazil (4)

This course explores political, economic and social development in contemporary Brazil. Various challenges are investigated, including poverty, inequality, health, education, corruption, violence and environmental issues. The roles of Brazil's president, Congress, and judiciary in policy responses are examined.

More Courses:

This course introduces students to the comparative study of ethnic politics. It examines the relationships between ethnicity on one hand, and mobilization, political contestation, violence, trust, and pork on the other. It draws from analysis from a variety of contexts and regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, North America, South Asia and Western Europe.