Political Science | Political Democratization
Y396 | 3951 | Bielasiak


Over the past two decades, we have seen a flowering of democracy
around the world.   Many countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia and
Africa have turned away from dictatorships to embrace new democratic
practices.   What are the causes of these regime changes and what are
their consequences?

We start with the fundamental question: what is democracy and
democratization?  We turn to the issue of “preconditions” – are
wealth, culture, and foreign influences necessary to start
democracy?  Or can democracy be crafted in inhospitable situations,
such as economic backwardness or cultural impediments?  What kinds of
constitutions, elections, parties, and civil associations are best
suited to assure democratic continuity?  How do we know when
democracies have become consolidated and will not turn back to
authoritarian politics?  The course examines these issues in a global
perspective, drawing on cases form all regions of the world, to
arrive at a better understanding of regime change and democratic
theory.

Course requirements include participation in seminar discussions, a
critical review, a short research paper on democratization, and a
final exam.