Political Science | Comparative Politics: Approaches & Issues
Y557 | 14683 | Bielasiak

The course serves as the introductory survey in the field of
comparative politics: the study of concepts and methods that are
applicable to more than one country in order to test theories about
politics.  The seminar's purpose is to provide an overview of how
such comparison is achieved, through an examination of the principal
theories, approaches, and issues affecting comparative inquiry.  The
goal is broad familiarity across the field, rather than in-depth
knowledge of particular issues or modes of analysis.  The first part
of the course deals with contending paradigms and comparative
methods used to analyze and explain comparative politics.  The
larger part of the course will be devoted to the study of various
approaches in comparative politics, i.e. decisions about the most
significant units of analysis in the study of politics, e.g. groups,
individuals, institutions, cultures, or states.  The final part of
the course will involve assessment on the state of the comparative
politics field.
Requirements include participation in class discussion, three short
papers on weekly readings focusing on a methods issue, a “defense,”
and a “critique” of an approach examined in the course, and a final
examination based on the prelim format.