The list below includes courses that I have (a) taught at least once since 2002, and (b) probably will do again in a revised version. People also occasionally ask me for these resources about writing, which may be more useful than anything else you might learn below.
Comparative Constitutional Design | Syllabus. In this course we will examine the design and implementation of national constitutions. In particular, we will address the following questions. What are the basic elements of constitutions? How do these elements differ across time, across region, and across regime type? What is the process by which states draft and implement constitutions? What models, theories, and writings have influenced the framers of constitutions? We will begin by reviewing the historical roots of constitutions and investigate their provisions and formal characteristics. We will also discuss the circumstances surrounding the drafting of several exemplary or noteworthy constitutions. We will then examine the process of constitutional design in some depth, exploring both the sources and consequences of different design choices.
The Politics of Development | Syllabus. This course surveys important topics in the politics of developing countries. The course begins conceptually with a closer look at the idea of “development” and the classification of cases along such lines. We then examine the historical foundations of political systems in the developing world. We briefly explore the constraints of geography before turning to aspects of colonialism, the rise of nationalism, the movements for independence, and transitions to and from democratic rule. The second part of the course then investigates particular demographic challenges to (and policy solutions for) governance in the developing world, including the problem of population, urban migration, and agrarian reform. In the third part, we turn to sources of political change and upheaval in these societies, including globalization, ethnic violence, and the role of women in politics.
Comparative Political Behavior | Syllabus. This course explores traditional themes of political psychology from an international perspective. The goal is to understand the motivations behind political acts such as ethnic violence and vote choice as well as the sources of political attitudes and beliefs such as patriotism and political ideology. While much of the research in this area is traditionally set in the United States, the focus of this course is explicitly comparative with the United States as a point of reference. We review the classic works of political psychology as well as its contributions to the study of international politics. Students will also develop an understanding of basic research methods used in the study of political behavior, in particular public opinion and experimental research.
The Art and Science of Contracting. This course explores the challenges of writing collectively - whether the text is national law, international treaties, legal contracts, business plans, or analytic reports. Our particular concern is with Constitutional Design, which is arguably an especially important form. The course explores theoretical approaches to collective decision-making, negotiation, contracting, and workflow in organizations. Students will be active participants in the evaluation of experiences with, and methods of, collective writing.
Conceptualization and Measurement | Syllabus. This course introduces students to the challenges of developing meaningful social science concepts and of identifying and evaluating appropriate measures of these concepts. These are challenges that arise, explicitly or not, in nearly every social science inquiry. Topics include the following. What makes for a “good” concept? How do we determine the defining characteristics of concepts? How can we build measures of concepts and evaluate their reliability and validity? How can we measure concepts comparably across different contexts (both geographic and historical)? The objective of the course is highly pragmatic. Students will develop a familiarity with a varied set of methodological tools that are useful with both qualitative and quantitative data. As such, the course requirements will include applied exercises and analyses. The course will entail both “interpretive” and statistical components, although prior coursework in methodology of any sort is not required or expected.
Comparative Constitutional Design | Syllabus. The purpose of this course is to explore some of the problems and curiosities involved in designing a constitution. Our subject matter is limited to the “hard-wired” aspects of a constitution – that is, its institutional or structural components – not its interpretation per se. So, for example, we ask how and to what effect constitutional drafters design things like federalism, electoral rules, and the relationship between executives and legislatures, rather than puzzle over the nuances of the text of the American founders and its application. The background assumption is that drafters can improve upon their designs with a better understanding of the consequences of institutional choices. The course is intended for both law students and doctoral students in political science, who will be equally represented. Given our institutional approach, law students may well find a larger dose of social science than that to which they are accustomed and Government students will notice a stronger emphasis on the normative implications of particular institutional structures than they may be used to.
Comparative Political Behavior | Syllabus. This course explores traditional themes of political behavior from an international perspective. The goal is to understand the motivations behind political acts from voting to violent protest as well as the sources of political attitudes and beliefs such as ethnic and national identity and the values and skills associated with democratic societies. While much of the research in this area is traditionally set in the United States, the focus of this course is explicitly comparative with the United States as a point of reference.
Democracy and Democratization | Syllabus. This graduate seminar focuses on the concept of democracy, its measure, and its causes and consequences. We cover many of the classic works in this large literature, as well as several recent contributions. Along the way, we also read select methodological works that explore some of the challenges in the comparative analysis of democracy and democratization. The major requirement for the course is a seminar paper, the topic of which is to be arranged individually.
Law and Democracy | Syllabus. This course reviews current research on legal institutions and human rights and their effect on societal outcomes, with a special focus on the craft of writing. For one-half of the course, participants will read and discuss a selection of unpublished book manuscripts and papers authored by leading scholars in the field, who will visit class on the day their text is discussed. Another half of the course will be devoted to broader readings on methodological and theoretical approaches to “Law and Democracy.” and in particular, to the art of writing in law and political science. Participants will be expected to complete a set of short writing assignments and engage actively in class discussions. Note that a small set of UT faculty and graduate students will likely visit the course on occasion.
Writing and Publishing in Political Science | Syllabus. In this course we focus on the craft of writing in the social sciences. The course will cover general approaches to style and mechanics, processes of (and tools for) collaboration and review, as well as particular modes and forms of writing, such as proposals, articles, and opinion pieces. Much of the course runs like a highly coordinated writing group -- participants produce written work, of various genres, and read and comment on fellow-participants' work. The specific and pragmatic objective is to produce published writing, for which there will be a clear set of deadlines. If you are still reading at this point, you're probably interested in this.