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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2007

GOV 390L • Democratization in Comparative Perspective

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39095 W
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
BAT 5.102

Course Description

Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary. Graduate standing required. Consent of the Graduate Advisor must be obtained. Under what conditions do individuals and societies redistribute power and exercise democracy? We will seek answers to this question through a variety of social science approaches. Our explanatory focus will be on four core variables in the comparative study of democratization: human agency, political institutions, socio-economic structure, and identity. Our empirical coverage will be broad, spanning the globe and analyzing the spectrum of regime change processes, from persistent dictatorships to durable democracies. This seminar is designed for Ph.D. students in Government who are planning to take comprehensive exams, write dissertations, and reflect long afterwards about the causes and significance of democratization. The course will be reading- and thought-intensive. Each student will be expected to prepare approximately 200 pages of reading weekly for a lively and informed class discussion.

Grading Policy

50% of the grade will be based on active student participation, including distributing several short analysis papers and leading that week's class discussion. The other half of the grade will come from writing assignments aimed at preparing for comprehensive exams and dissertation research.


Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (1966, 1993). John Higley and Michael Gunther, Elite Foundations of Liberal Democracy (2006). Michael Bratton and Nicolas van de Walle, Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective (1997). Jeff Goodwin, No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements (2001). Deborah Yashar, Demanding Democracy: Reform and Reaction in Guatemala and Costa Rica, 1870s-1950s (1997). Adam Przeworksi, Michael E. Alvarez, Jose Antonio Cheibub, and Fernando Limongi, Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950-1990 (2000). Mary Ann Tetreault, Stories of Democracy: Politics and Society in Contemporary Kuwait (2000). Howard Winant, The World is a Ghetto: Race and Democracy Since World War II (2002). Other readings will be made available either on-line or in a course packet.


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