Comparative Government and Politics [CRN 81218]

Discipline: Political Science
Instructor: Bunck
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 0800
End: 0920
Field Work: Day 1 | September 15, 2018 | Spain
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course will introduce students to the basic concepts and theories of comparative politics, focusing exclusively on countries we will visit during our Semester at Sea. We will identify, compare, and analyze the core cultures, the central political actors and institutions, the forms of political participation, the structures and functions of different states, and the chief political processes of a collection of European, African, and Asian countries. Among the questions we will examine are the following. What are the principal characteristics of politics and political parties in each of the countries studied? What historical, cultural, economic, and structural factors have shaped and influenced political development and contemporary politics? Which political actors, including the military, political parties, religious organizations, labor unions, NGOs, businesses, the bureaucracy, and peasant groups, have helped to shape – in positive and negative ways – the political development within each of these countries? What is the relationship between the type of regime and the level of political and/or economic development?

Field Work

Country: Spain
Day: 1
Date: September 15, 2018

Although Barcelona boasts more than 50 museums, not a single one commemorates either the triumphs or the sufferings of the Spanish Civil War.  The best way to gain a better understanding of this momentous event is to join Englishman Nick Lloyd on a three-to-four hour Barcelona walking tour of all the major civil-war sites.  The tour comes very highly recommended on virtually every major tourism site.  The tour is in English and covers a variety of sites, including the Barrio Gotico, Placa Catalunya, La Rambla, La Iglesia de Santa Maria del Pi, and the Bar Libertaria. Nick is a renowned historian and genuinely offers a deeply educational and lively experience.

Learning objectives:

  1. I hope the class gains a much better understanding of the Spanish Civil War/
  2. I hope this experience broadens our understanding of civil war more generally. What lessons have we learned from the Spanish experience?  And how did the war transform Spain?  What issues have yet to be resolved?
  3. The students will develop an understanding of the short-term and long-term effects of civil war that we can revisit and re-evaluate as we travel to other societies with a history of civil war, including South Africa, Vietnam, and China.