Summer 2011
Fully Enrolled

Democracy and Dictatorship: Politics in the Contemporary World - Foundational Course Option


08/15/2011 - 08/19/2011
Note: Special Schedule 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 421

Foundational course option: Students taking the course with this option will receive more extensive and detailed feedback on their work through more frequent writing assignments and individual meetings with the instructor. Foundational courses are intended to provide an additional level of guidance, support, and feedback to ensure that students cultivate the tools and skills necessary for graduate level research and writing. All GLSP students working toward a degree are strongly encouraged to take a foundational course during their first few courses in the program. To choose the Foundational course option, please register for SOCS 647W.

This course is an introduction to debates about the state of political life around the world in the post-cold war era. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, capitalism and democracy seem to have triumphed over their main rival, communism. Yet doubts about the viability of democracy remain in many countries that have made the transition to democracy but are torn by ethnic conflict or fettered by desperate poverty. Doubts also remain about the quality of political life in the world's most advanced democracies.

The course will introduce the three main paradigms for explaining political behavior, and will review the historical evolution of the world's main political systems. It will also engage with current debates in political science about democracy, development, and corruption. Students will examine recent political events in Great Britain, France, Russia, China, India, Mexico, Iran and South Africa.

The course will take a problem-oriented approach, looking at how these different political systems respond to pressures such as ethnic tensions, economic liberalization, and scandal in an era when political parties are weakening, ideologies becoming more diffuse, and democratic leaders more bland.

Readings include Jeffrey Kopstein and Mark Lichback, eds., Comparative Politics, and Robert Dahl, On Democracy. We will make extensive use of videos, Web sites, and newspaper articles in addition to books and academic journals.

Students will complete three short papers (2-3 pages each) on each country studied and a final research paper (10-15 pages).

Enrollment is limited to 4 students.

This course is not open to auditors.

The deadline to withdraw and receive a tuition refund for this course is Wednesday, July 6 at 5:00 pm. Please visit our website for a complete list of registration and withdrawal dates for this session.

A syllabus for this course is available at:

Peter Rutland (B.A. Oxford University; D. Phil. York University) is professor of government and author and editor of numerous books, including Business and State in Contemporary Russia (Westview, 2001); The Politics of Economic Stagnation in the Soviet Union: The Role of Local Party Organs in Economic Management (Cambridge University Press, 1993); and The Myth of the Plan: Lessons from Soviet Planning Experience (Open Court, 1985). Click here for more information about Peter Rutland.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 3

Texts to purchase for this course:
Dahl, Robert Allen, Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition, Yale University Press

Kopstein, Jeffrey, Comparative Politics: Interests, Identities, and Institutions in a Changing Global Order (Third Edition), Cambridge University Press

Llosa, Mario Vargas, The Feast of the Goat, Picador

Marx, Karl, The Communist Manifesto, Tribeca Books

Orwell, George, Nineteen Eighty Four (Centennial Edition/Trade Edition), Plume

Reading Materials are available at BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 Broad Street, Middletown, 860-685-7323 Order your books online

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