Teaching 2016-17


DPI-415 Comparative Politics - Fall 2016: Mon/Wed 1.15-2.30pm Littauer 332

The course covers a wide range of policy-relevant issues:What are the key features of democracies and autocracies, and how can regimes best be classified, such as those in South Africa, Nigeria and Iran? What is the appropriate balance of powers between the president and the legislature in states such as Venezuela and Mexico? What are the prospects for building stable and peaceful multi-ethnic states and democratic governance in countries such as Myanmar, Mali, and Afghanistan? How could human rights be strengthened through reforms in autocracies like Russia and Belarus? Is populism on the rise in Western democracies such as the U.S., UK, France and Austria? How does governance shape the delivery of economic and welfare policies in developing societies such as India and China?

It addresses these questions by utilizing the methods and techniques of comparative politics. You will learn about polities worldwide – as well as deepening your understanding of your own society. The orientation is problem and reform focused. DPI-415 analyzes (i) the nature of comparative politics (ii) processes of state formation and the classification of regimes types, (iii) the structure of political institutions, (iv) the role of political actors, and (v) processes of governance performance. DPI-415 reviews the leading research literature to understand the theoretical concepts and empirical literature on each topic. Some hands-on class workshops will develop practical skills and familiarity with some essential online resources. Assessment involves classroom participation and two written reports.

The course will provide invaluable skills and knowledge for anyone seeking to develop familiarity with the major issues in comparative politics and the practical skills in analyzing countries around the globe. In the age of globalization, cross-national insights into politics are invaluable for a wide range of potential careers, whether working for international agencies, multilateral organizations, non-profit NGOs, international corporations, or national governments.

DPI-416 Public Opinion - Spring 2017: Mon/Wed 1.15-2.30pm  Littauer 382

This course provides the core conceptual tools, theoretical insights, and practical skills for analyzing public opinion. It is designed for careers in policy analysis, the use of public opinion polling and survey research, campaign management, social media, broadcasting, and journalism, big data mining and statistics.

Each week is divided into two sessions. Monday classes provide the theoretical framework for understanding public opinion including the nature of mass beliefs, policy attitudes, political participation, value change, elections and parties, voting behavior, social cleavages and partisan orientations, knowledge and beliefs, the media and campaigns, and the nature of public opinion. It covers these issues by comparing the United States with other major comparable postindustrial societies as well as across a broader range of developing societies around the world.

Wednesday classes provide analytical and statistical research skills to understand these topics and deepen applied skills, working hands-on with your laptops from web-based applications and online datasets, for example, the American National Election Survey, the U.S. General Social Survey, the Eurobarometer, the European Social Survey, the Afro-barometer, the World Values Survey, the International Social Survey Program, or equivalent. Students acquire the applied skills to use these resources for projects. The applied classes cover issues of valid and reliable research design, theory construction, model building, and hypothesis-testing; survey data sources; the appropriate statistical techniques for analyzing categorical and continuous survey data; and the professional presentation of results. 

There are no prerequisites for taking the class but basic familiarity with statistics and programs, such as Stata and SPSS, would be advantageous.


    DPI-413 Democratization - Spring 2017:  Mon/Wed 10.15-11.30 Belfer L1 (Weil Town Hall) 

    This class, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government,  covers the basic principles, theories, conceptual tools, and comparative methods useful for understanding the challenges of democracy and democratization in all parts of the world. 

    Sections provide the conceptual foundations, discuss the contextual drivers of democratization, analyze the institutional components of constitution-building, consider the role of civic society, and conclude by examining the effects of democratic governance. 

    Assessment is through a research paper (35%), briefing memo (15%) and consultancy report (40%). 

    The class is designed primarily for post-graduates, including MPA/ID, MPP and MPA students.  All are welcome to attend and there are no prerequisites for taking this class.