Teaching 2016-17‎ > ‎

DPI-415 Comparative Politics

 

Class time:                              Mondays and Wednesdays 1:15-2.30pm

Class place:                             Littauer 332

Shopping:                               Monday 29th August 2016

First class:                               Wednesday 7th September 2016

Last class:                                Wednesday 2nd December 2016

Lecturer:                                  Pippa Norris, McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics

Office:                                       Littauer 110, Kennedy School of Government

Office Hours:                      Tuesdays 2.00-4.00pm Signup: http://www.wejoinin.com/sheets/bobwp

Email:                                   Pippa_Norris@harvard.edu

Class website:                     www.pippanorris.com under ‘classes’

Faculty Assistant:               Patricia Timmons

Email:                                  patricia_timmons@HKS.harvard.Edu

Assessment:                           Course assignments, no exam

Course Synopsis:


Aims and objectives of DPI-415:

This course provides the analytical knowledge and practical skills to understand comparative politics worldwide.

It addresses 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?

The course covers these questions and many others 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.

Class Schedule 2016:

Class

Date

Topic

Due dates (i)

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1

W 7 Sept

Overview:  Roadmap of the class

 

2

M 12 Sept

What is comparative politics?

 

3

W 14 Sept

Comparative methods: case studies & large-N analysis

 

 

 

STATES AND REGIMES

 

4

M 19 Sept

The nation state

 

5

W 21 Sept

Regimes: Varieties of democracy

 

6

M 26 Sept

Regimes: Varieties of autocracy

 

7

W 28 Sept

Hands-on class workshop: Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)

 

 

 

INSTITUTIONS

 

8

M 3 Oct

Institutions: Constitutions

 

9

W 5 Oct

Institutions:  Electoral systems

 

10

W 12 Oct

Institutions:  Executives & bureaucracies

 

11

M 17 Oct

Institutions:  Legislatures

 

12

W 19 Oct

Institutions:  Federalism and decentralization

Report 1

13

M 24 Oct

Hands-on class workshop: Using the Comparative Constitutions Project and QoG

 

 

 

ACTORS

 

14

W 26 Oct

Political parties & party systems

 

15

M 31 Oct

Interest groups & social movements

 

16

W 2 Nov

Political culture

 

17

M 7 Nov

Political activism

 

18

W 9 Nov

Political communication

 

19

M 14 Nov

Hand-on class workshop: Using the World Values Survey

 

 

 

POLICIES

 

20

W 16 Nov

Policymaking processes

 

21

M 21 Nov

Governance performance: Economic growth & welfare states

 

22

M 28 Nov

Workgroup report presentations and discussion

 

23

W 30 Nov

Conclusion & wrap up

 Report 2


Note: Official Harvard University holidays are as follows: Labor day: 5 Sept; Columbus Day: Oct 10; Veteran's Day:  Nov 11 (Observed); Thanksgiving: Nov 23-25. End of semester, 2 Dec. Please note that there are no class on Friday 2nd Sept, due to prior speaking commitments in Philadelphia for APSA. Guest speakers may also be arranged on several topics. Assignments are due to be handed in at the start of the class on these dates. 


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