Govt 130:  Comparative Politics
Fall 2019

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Schedule of Readings and Discussions

 Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
– Winston Churchill

We will discuss the written assignments and the paper well in advance. Readings are to be completed before the class meetings.  Additional required readings may be added to this syllabus. This is a tentative schedule, subject to revision at any time. The reading schedule below is suggestive and subject to revision; you will be given updates as appropriate.

(Bb) means on Blackboard

(Essential Readings) means O’Neil and Rogowski, Essential Readings in Comparative Politics, 4th ed.


Aug 26 – Welcome
  Aug 29 – individual meetings
Week 2 Sept 2 – University Closed – Labor Day
  Sept 5 – What is Comparative Politics?
  Essential Readings, chapter 1, Lichbach and Zuckerman
  Wiarda, preface and ch 1, ch 2 – on Bb
Week 3 Sept 9 – Comparative Politics in Action, Part I
  Can we still learn from September 11th?
A Whole-of-Comparative Politics Approach
  Thomas Friedman, “Walls,” New York Times, September 11, 2001. Bb
  Thomas Friedman, “9/11 Lesson Plan,” New York Times, September 4, 2002.  Bb
  Video: Searching for the Roots of…


  Sept 12 – Comparative Politics in Action, Part II
  Ayn Rand, Anthem – A Comparative Politics case study:
– any edition or free online (try ePub)
  Surprise Pop Quiz:  What is Comparative Politics?
Week 4 Democracy and Democratization – Introduction
  Sept 16-19
  O’Neil and Rogowski, Essential Readings in CP:
        Tocqueville, Democracy in America (selections, chapter 8)
        Schmitter and Karl, “What Democracy Is…and is not” (chapter 5)
  Wiarda, ch 3 – political development (summary: wiarda ch 3 – pol dev)
Wiarda, ch 5 – alternatives to political development (summary: wiarda ch 5 – alts to dev)
  Diamond’s summary of Lipset, “Some Social Requisites…”, on Bb
  Larry Diamond, What is Democracy? at Hilla University, Iraq, on Bb
  Fareed Zakaria, Rise of Illiberal Democracy, on Bb or at Foreign Affairs, 1997
Optional:  Zakaria on Illiberal Democracy, video, 2003
Optional:  Zakaria, Doubts about Democracy, Newsweek, 1997fareed
  Optional: Comparative Politics in Action, Part III: A Case Study
  Brownlee – Can America Nation-Build?  on Bb
  Dobbins – Beginner’s Guide to Nation-Building, pages xvii-xxxviii
  Quirk – Is it too late to learn lessons for Iraq?
Week 5 Political Economy
  Sept 23-26
  O’Neil, Essentials of CP – selections from chapter 4, “Political Economy” –
read the Adam Smith selection, skim the Rogowski selection
  Keynes and Hayek in Yergin, Commanding Heights

If you like this Keynes v Hayek, try 47 minutes (less than a Game of Thrones episode) here, episodes 1.1-1.8

  Acemoglu and Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Acemoglu and Robinson – Why Nations Fail – notes
  De Soto, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, read chapter 1 pdf and other formats
De Soto interview (7 min)desoto
  Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, selections, Bb
  Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures, selections, Bb
  Keynes, General Theory, selections, Bb
  Hayek, Road to Serfdom, selections, Bb
  M. Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, chapter 1, Bb
  Keohane and Nye, Power and Interdependence, selections, Bb
  Sept 26 – working on exam 1
Sept 27 EXAM 1 DUE on Blackboard by 5pm, Friday, Sept 27 – on weeks 2, 3, 4
Week 6 Political Culture
Sept 30 – October 3
  O’Neil and Rogowski, from ch 3: Hobsbawm on nationalism
  Notes on Shi and Lu, The Shadow of Confucianism, Jl of Democracy Oct 2010
  Anzuldua, Borderlands, selections, Bb
  Dalai Lama, Buddhism and Democracy, Bb
  Huntington, Clash of Civilizations, Bb
Week 7 Political Violence
  Oct 7 – Oct10
  Essential Readings, in ch 7: Skocpol on Revolutions;
  Essential Readings, in ch 3., Fearon/Laitin
Holbrooke, To End a War, chapter 5, Bb
  Discussion with Zinka J., Bosnian Muslim IDP
  Essential Readings in CP:
       Crenshaw, Causes of Terrorism (ch 7)
       Abrahms, What Terrorists Really Want (ch 7)
  Comparative Politics in Action, Part IV:  intra-state violence

Washington MLKjr Riots 1968


Milosevic 1987

“The Death of Yugoslavia” (BBC, 1995) selections, including on ethnic cleansing part 1of 5  of episode 5, A Safe Area and part 1of 5 of episode 6, Pax Americana

Blood Diamonds, doc, 1998

– note esp. the similarities to Bosnia from 38.00 ff and links to al Qaeda 1.06.00 ff

ISIS sweeps through Syria and Northern Iraq, “The 74th Command”  Who are the Yezidis, 00:43 to 8:00; ISIS men joking, 10:51 to 11:45; ethnic cleansing, 25:44-27:22.


Beginning of attempted Liberation of Mosul 2016

Week 8 Oct 14 – Beginning your Papers – individual meetings
  48-Hours Crisis Response Project
  Oct 15-17
  In teams of four students each, you will be assigned to handle a series of international crises over 48 hours.  You will receive the assignment incrementally,  A one-page interim report will be due midway.   The assignment, including written and oral presentations, will be due in class, Thursday, Oct 17.  We will discuss the assignment in class in advance.  But I’m asking you here, with plenty of notice, to address any work, internship, or other obligations you might have for Wednesday night, Oct 16, to be available to meet your group to prepare your presentation for Thursday Oct 17
Week 9 Comparative Autocracy: The End of the End of History, Part I
  Oct 21-24

These are also on Bb

What characterizes the behavior of Putin and Xi?  What motivates them? What are their short term and long term goals? What are their methods?  What challenges do they face? And what might be some effective methods for their adversaries to confront them?

Glasser, Putin the Great: Russia’s Imperial Imposter, Foreign Affairs, Sept-Oct 2019

McGregor, Party Man: Xi Jinping’s Quest to Dominate China, Foreign Affairs, Sept-Oct 2019

Clarke and Knake, The Internet Freedom League: How to Push Back Against the Authoritarian Assault on the Web, Foreign Affairs, Sept-Oct 2019

Mounk, The Dictators’ Last Stand, Foreign Affairs, Sept-Oct 2019

Week 10 Comparative Populism:  The End of the End of History, Part II
  Oct 28-31

Marine Le Pan, France’s Next Revolution, Foreign Affairs Oct-Nov 2016

Fareed Zakaria, “Populism on the March: Why the West is in Trouble,” Foreign Affairs Oct-Nov 2016,

Jan-Werner Muller, “False Flags: The Myth of the Nationalist Resurgence,” Foreign Affairs, Mar-Apr 2019

EXAM 2 EXAM 2 DUE on Blackboard by – tbd
Week 11 Democracy, Economics, and Culture: Putting the Pieces Together
  Nov 4-7
  Przeworski, What makes democracies endure? Jl of Democracy Apr 1996
in Persian or Portuguese or English (on Bb)
  Ross, Does oil hinder democracy? World Politics Apr 2001
Ross, Oil, Women, and Islam, APSR Feb 2008, and subsequent debate
  Shirky, The Political Power of Social Media, Foreign Affairs, Jan-Feb 2011 (or on Bb) – many speeches on YouTube, including this one

Alec Ross, Industries of the Future – the C-SPAN interview and the TED talk

  Essential Readings, Easterly (ch 10)
  Essential Readings, Collier and Gunning (ch 10)
  Comparative Politics in Action, Part V

The five-country documentary A Whisper to a Roar offers on-the-ground and behind-the-scenes access to activists in Egypt, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, and Ukraine.  You can watch the preview here and the whole thing on YouTube and elsewhere for a couple of dollars.


Rory Stewart, former deputy governor of southern Iraqi provinces Maysan and Dhi Qar.  (C-SPAN, 2006, 3 minutes) –  on elections that result in very undemocratic cultural effects for women and others:



Week 12 PAPERS DUE.    ORAL PRESENTATIONS DUE, Nov 11 and Nov 14
  We will discuss.
Week 13  Comparative Politics in Action, Part VI

Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Training Diplomats and Developing Leaders


  Nov 21 –

Please Vote for Me (director Weijun Chen, 2007) – more on this award-winning film and its lessons about culture, institutions, and human nature, from and AFI





Thanksgiving Week Interlude





Optional – Monday, Nov 25

The West Wing, Season 2: Episode 16, Somebody’s Going to Emergency, Somebody’s Going to Jail.  A big block of cheese episode with comparative politics issues from the Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality and chants of “Global Justice Now!”


 Week 14 Looking Back, Looking Ahead
  Dec 2 –

Making Connections in Political Science: 
From Comparative Politics to International Relations

An intro to “levels of analysis” and “four models of IR” and how they connect to Comparative Politics. See our notes on Bb

Dec 5 –

Comparative Politics: In Review and What’s Next?


Week 15 – FINAL Section 130-005 – Monday, Dec 9, 8:10am
Section 130-003 – Thursday, Dec 12, 11:20am
We will discuss in class