This is an introductory level course in comparative politics, a subfield of political science that compares political systems across countries. Comparison of political systems helps us to understand the imperatives that political systems have in common, as well as the ways in which they vary. Such comparison enhances our understanding of our own political system and the diverse world in which we live. The course exposes students to basic concepts, major theories, and fundamental research methods used in analyzing political systems. Discussion topics include the state, national identity, political culture and ideology, political economy, democracy, democratization, non-democratic regimes, and political violence. By semester’s end, it is hoped that students will have a general understanding of comparative politics, as well as the ability to conduct basic research in the field.
Field WorkCountry: Myanmar (Burma)
Date: February 21, 2017
Myanmar is undergoing unprecedented political transformations, as embodied in the most recent presidential election. The field trip aims to help students understand the political and social forces that brought about such transformations. Through site visits and interactions with local residents, the field trip is expected to foster students' understanding of contemporary Myanmar society and appreciation of the country's historical-cultural roots.
1. Expose students to contemporary Myanmar’s socioeconomic conditions, as well as the country’s historical-cultural heritage.
2. Learn about Myanmar’s political transformations from the perspectives of local residents
3. Use the case of Myanmar to critically engage classroom readings about democratization and non-democratic regimes