POL 2300 -- Intro to comparative politics


“Without comparisons to make, the mind does not know how to proceed.”

Alexis de Tocqueville


Standing on the cusp of the 21st century, some commentators contended that grand forces of political transformation were driving the global homogenization of political institutions.  The world, they argued, was about to become universally similar: democratic, liberal, vanilla plain.  Political diversity would be a thing of the past.  Events of recent years, however, have demonstrated that the world around us is neither orderly nor benign.  Global politics remains tempestuous, and such turbulence affects every actor in the international system as never before.  As such, careful analysis of the political systems around us remains a prudent strategy.


POL 2300 surveys the broad field of comparative politics, providing the student with a theoretical toolkit that enables independent evaluation of the relative merits and detractions of disparate political bodies.  The course will also examine the key political, social, and economic institutions that underpin the modern state.  In addition, a diverse set of developed countries will be examined as case studies in order to provide a practical understanding to these abstract theoretical concepts.  Ultimately, the student will better comprehend the dynamics behind political coherence, economic success, and social stability.  Understanding what processes lead to the formation of affluent, stable societies, and what obstacles prevent their development—or perhaps even foster their collapse—will be critical in a new century that promises considerable tumult.



Course Documents


0. Course Introduction Pol 2300.ppt


1. Intro to Comp Pol.ppt


2. The state.ppt


3. Nations & Society.ppt


4. Methods & Assignments.ppt


5. Political Economy.ppt


6. Democratic Regimes.ppt


7. Nondemocratic Regimes.ppt


8. Post-Industrial Democracy.ppt


9. Communism & Postcommunism.ppt


10. LDCs & NICs.ppt


11. Political Violence.ppt


12. Globalization.ppt


13. Assignments & Writing.ppt