Syllabus: Topics in Comparative Politics: Ireland and Spain (POLS 4504)

Segovia, Spain


This course offers the unique opportunity to compare two countries with surprisingly similar historical and political trajectories. Such a comparison offers a great deal of insight into the contemporary political challenges facing both countries. In addition to their shared political and historical experience, they even share a connection in respect to Celtic ancestry. While the influence of the Celts in Ireland is well known and celebrated, it is not typically known that the Celts also settled for a period in the northwest region of Spain known as Galicia. Unlike much of the rest of Spain, Galicia is lush, verdant and experiences a high annual rainfall. Similarities in traditional music in Galicia as well as Spain evoke Galicia's Celtic influences.

The objectives of this course include the following:

--acquaint students with the history of both Ireland and Spain, especially those dimensions of their history that are critical to understanding contemporary Irish and Spanish politics, culture, and public policy.

--enable students to compare and contrast Ireland and Spain along the many points of comparison that are common to the two countries. These include problems of national unity and integrity, struggles with the development of democracy, civil war, issues of immigration policy and assimilation, terrorism policy, the political tensions of language, membership in the European Union, unemployment difficulties, drug policy, and the mixed experience of a shared currency.

--introduce students to the rich and varied culture of each country, including music, art, and architecture

Students will be assessed orally, in writing and the the contribution they make to the success of the program. See "Grading" on this web page.


The New Spaniards
John Hooper

Homage to Catalonia
George Orwell

The Battle For Spain
Antony Beever

Ireland: The Politics of Enmity 1789-2000
Paul Bew

W.B. Yeats (pdf of selections supplied)

John Deane (pdf of selections supplied)

Gerard Manley Hopkins (pdf of selections supplied)

Spain: The Root and the Flower: An Interpretation of Spain and the Spanish People (selections supplied)

Don Quixote by Cervantes (selections supplied)


"Michael Collins" (1996)

"In The Name of the Father" (1993)

"Hunger" (2008) (please note: this movie, although authentic and important for its historical and political insight, is also somewhat dark and violent. For that reason, it is optional viewing)

"Man of La Mancha" (1972)

"The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca" (1997)

"Sunday Bloody Sunday" (2002)

"The Wind That Shakes The Barley" (2006)