POL S 204 A: Introduction to Comparative Politics

Meeting Time: 
MW 11:30am - 12:50pm
PCAR 192
James D. Long

Syllabus Description:


Course Description:

The study of global democracy shapes the two most importance investigations into the study of modern political science: 1) who governs? and 2) what are the consequences of who governs for the governed? Democracies now form the most common regime type around the world, but not without having faced significant problems of transitions to, and performance of, representative forms of government. As a result, the state of democracy in the world is far from healthy or perfect, and many threats remain or continue to arise to threaten the growth and consolidation of democratic regimes in many countries. To understand the opportunities and challenges posed by democratic forms of government, in the first eight weeks this course will cover topics in the comparative study of contemporary politics as it relates to the development of the state, the growth and consolidation of democratic regimes, the persistence of non-democratic and hybrid regimes, economic growth, ethnicity, and political violence. In the last two weeks of the course, we will pay particular attention to how these themes relate to contemporary democratic politics in South Africa and Afghanistan.


Required Readings:

Textbook (available at UW bookstore and online):

  • Patrick H. O’Neil, Essentials of Comparative Politics, 6th edition, Norton, 2017.

All other readings will be provided by Professor Long and available on Canvas. To remain good students, engaged citizens, and for success in this class, students should consume a regular diet of global news from reputable sources such as The New York Times, Washington Post, PBS/NPR, BBC, and The Guardian, among others.


Course Evaluation:

Quiz Section: 30%

Midterm: 30%

Final Exam: 40%

** The midterm and final exams will cover material discussed in lectures, readings, material on Canvas, and Quiz Section. **


Catalog Description: 
Political systems in a comparative framework. Traditional and contemporary approaches to the study of governments and societies in different countries. Offered: AWSpS.
Department Requirements: 
Introductory Courses
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:08pm