GOVT 6053 Comparative Methods in International and Comparative Politics (graduate seminar co-taught with Gustavo Flores-Macias): Last taught Spring 2021
This seminar is designed to introduce doctoral students to the study of politics through the procedures of science. It will familiarize students with methodological challenges encountered in research, such as concept formation, theory development and testing, case selection, variable operationalization and measurement, and descriptive and causal inference. Students will learn to assess research designs and causal claims as both consumers and producers of research. The material covered in this course (along with material from Government 6353) prepares students to take the comparative politics A exam. Another goal of the course is to prepare students to conduct original research for their A paper and dissertation. Students, therefore, will apply concepts and techniques to their own research questions as the semester progresses.
GOVT 2283 Political Institutions Under Autocrats (undergraduate lecture): Last taught Fall 2020
Why do so many autocracies today have electoral systems, political parties, legislatures, and courts that mimic the institutions of a democracy? How do institutions help autocrats to maintain political order and what risks do they pose? This course will examine various models and modes of authoritarian rule, emphasizing the wide variation within the category of nondemocratic regimes. In particular, we will explore why some authoritarian regimes are more institutionalized than others and consider how legislatures, ruling parties, and other authoritarian institutions affect regime longevity, economic development, and the likelihood of violent conflict. We will conclude by studying cases of de-democratization and consider how democratic institutions can be used to undermine democracy.
GOVT 4000 Russian Politics (undergraduate seminar): Last taught Spring 2020
This senior seminar examines the politics of Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union after communism's collapse. How do the legacies of communism impact Russian politics today? Why have the states that emerged from the Soviet Union followed such different political trajectories? What makes Putin popular? And how stable is Russia's current political regime? The course is designed for Government majors who wish to gain insight into Russia 'behind the headlines,' learn independent research skills, and gain (additional) exposure to such topics in comparative politics as democratic transition and authoritarian reversals, regime type, electoral and party politics, state-society relations, and the politics of economic reform.
GOVT 6594 Comparative Political Behavior (graduate seminar): Last taught Spring 2020
This seminar examines public opinion and political behavior from a comparative perspective using primarily the tools of quantitative social science. We will focus on the intellectual evolution of the field, its core theoretical arguments and controversies, as well as emerging research questions. The course proceeds thematically. Topics will include political culture and value change, information processing and opinion formation, both conventional and unconventional forms of political participation, representation, and voter decision-making. Important methodological issues in the study of public opinion and political behavior are addressed in the context of these substantive questions.
Comparative Politics (graduate seminar): Last taught Spring 2019 (USC)
This course surveys the major topics in comparative politics and serves as an introduction to the field for Ph.D. students in USC’s Political Science and International Relations (POIR) graduate program. Its purpose is to expose students to key concepts and major theoretical contributions in the sub-field. We will focus on the intellectual evolution of the field, the dominant theoretical debates and controversies, and the variety of approaches to research within comparative politics. The course proceeds thematically. Important methodological issues in the study of comparative politics are also addressed.