This course offers an introduction to the main theoretical and methodological debates in the comparative study of politics. Its goal is to provide students with the basic tools to understand the nature of the research questions that political scientists ask, the theories that they produce to answer them, and the empirical evidence that they garner to substantiate their theoretical claims. By the end of the course, students should be able to understand the basic contours of varied political phenomena and their determinants, including, among others: state capacity, nationalism, political violence, democratization, parties, forms of government, and political economy. The historical and empirical material covered in the course draws from different regions of the world including Africa, South and North America, East and Southeast Asia, as well as Western Europe. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for POSC 153 and satisfy one half of the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents area of inquiry requirement.
Juan Fernando Ibarra Del Cueto is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Colgate University. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and his field of expertise is Comparative Politics, with a regional focus on Latin America. His most recent work seeks to explain long-term differences in the state-building trajectories of several Latin American countries.