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PSCI 103: Introduction to Comparative Politics

Joe Rollins

(Submission #23)

Course Description

Comparative Politics (CP) is the study of nations in cross-cultural contexts). The focus of inquiry is on how, where and why political systems are different across nations. At its most general, the subfield introduces students to these concepts through comparative analysis whereby their own “orientalism” is destabilized by looking at the differences among political systems in historical, cultural and political contexts; hence, the term “comparative.” Traditional approaches to the area emphasize the influence of players from three levels of analysis: historical (economic modernization and political development), cultural (political cultures and socialization), and structural (party systems, government institutions). Faculty trained in CP specialize in particular geographic areas (e.g., the Middle East, Latin America, Asia) and thus all courses are, by definition, comparative and concerned with world cultures. The attached sample syllabus emphasizes the theoretical elements of CP and apply these to the study of countries across three worlds: early developers, late developers and developing countries (the Global North, Global East and Global South). Other faculty in the Political Science Department rely on the same theories and concepts, but may apply them to different regions of the globe. The methods favored by the subfield of CP are two:

qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative analytic strategies inform students about the historical evolution of political forms, sources of political change and behavior, and structures and functions of institutional features. The quantitative aspect of CP relies primarily on economic modeling and game theory in order to provide students with a more comprehensive, linear, set of analytic tools for exploring change and development in their world.


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Analyzing Social Structures (SS)
Context of Experience: World Cultures (WC)
Extended Requirement: Abstract or Quantitative Reasoning (QR)

Additional Course information

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Existing Course: Existing
Existing Course Number: PS 103
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Semester
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: 1
Number of Seats: 55


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (DOC)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOC)]  

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