Comparative Government

POLS 3501

M, W 2-315
Office Hours: Mon: 12-2, Tue: 12-5, Wed: 12-2

A course such as this is ambitious: it is a study of the world; more specifically, a study of the political character, institutions and practices of the nations that make up the world in which we live. This necessarily involves a great deal of comparison and contrast between nations, and an attempt to identify categories that help us make some organizational sense of the globe. A course such as this necessarily involves a great deal of information, information that is, in some measure, a "moving target" as political systems and nation-states change, evolve, and decline.

An important theme in this course is the comparision and contrast of counrties based on whether or not those countries enjoy democracy practices, institutions and freedoms. Indeed, this is the way the primary textbook (McCormick) is organized. This semester however, we ask the important question of whether all countries and all peoples are suited for democracy, or even capable of democracy. To that end, we will attempt to define democracy and ask whether it still--or always--promotes classical liberalism and the rule of law. Stated differently, is democracy always a good thing? Is it always compatible with freedom?

The objectives of this course in include acquiring competence in the geography, political instituttions and processes, and politics of the countries of the world. 

© Hank Edmondson 2012