Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
Page Course Terms of Use
1.1: Social Science Basics URL Anol Bhattacherjee's "Social Science Research, Chapter 1: Science and Scientific Research"

As you read Chapter 1, be sure you understand what differentiates the study of natural science from that of social science. You should also be able to distinguish between exploratory, explanatory, and descriptive research. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the following terms: rationalism, positivism, antipositivism, post-positivism, and critical theory.

URL Anol Bhattacherjee's "Social Science Research, Chapter 2: Thinking Like a Researcher"

As you read Chapter 2, be sure you have a clear understanding of the following terms: theory, unt of analysis, variable, independent variable, dependent variable, intervening variable, deduction, and induction.

1.2: Comparative Methodology Page Alexander Stafford: "Comparative Analysis within Political Science"
Read this article by Alexander Stafford from Queen's University of Belfast. Consider the arguments he makes in favor of comparative analysis as a valuable component of political research.
Page Lynora Rogacs: "Mill's Methods: How We Determine the Causes of Events"

Watch this video by Lynora Rogacs from Pasadena City College, which includes an introduction to the political philosopher John Stuart Mill who was a pioneer in the field of comparative politics. The comparative method, also known as Mill’s methods, involves determining the causes of political phenomena (i.e. the occurrence of democracy).

Mill's comparative method includes: the Method of Agreement and the Method of Difference. Political scientists use these methods to collect observations of the world and use them to identify the causes of political events.

Page Garth Kemerling: "Causal Reasoning"

Read this article by Garth Kemerling. Be sure to click on the links in the article to explore additional terms and themes.

Page Luke Johns: "Evaluating Research Methods of Comparative Politics"

Read this article by Luke Johns, University of Kent, Canterbury. What argument does he make about the strengths and weaknesses of each research method?

2.1: The State Page Boundless: "State Formation"

Read this article. Click on the links for further information on specific terms.

Page Boundless: "Characteristics and Functions of the State"

Read these articles. What is the difference between a state and a nation? Compare and contrast the different political theories on the role of government in society.

Page Yale University: Steven Smith's "The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Leviathan, Part I"

Watch this lecture from 5:30 to 7:30. Make sure you are clear on the origins and date of the Treaty of Westphalia. Why is the Treaty of Westphalia considered the birth of nation-state system?

2.2: The Modern State System Page Yale University: Steven Smith's "The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Leviathan, Part II"

Make sure you are clear on how Hobbes' view of the human behavior is tied to the need for a strong, centralized power.

URL Boundless Sociology: "Chapter 15, Section 1: Politics, Power, and Authority: Authority and Legitimate Violence"

Read this short article. In his seminal essay "The Politics of Vocation," German sociologist Max Weber argues that the state is essentially a form of government in which, even when not at war, there is an implicit assumption that internal peace is maintained by the potential threat of violence by the police and government. Written in 1919, this essay informed Weber's opinions and reflected his experiences while living in war-torn Europe.

URL Yale University: Brad Rathe's "Politics as a Vocation"

Read this article, where the author delves into greater detail on Weber's classic work. Pay particular attention to Weber's characteristics of politicians and views on bureaucracy. What role does he see them serving within a nation-state?

URL Thomas McShane's "International Law and the New World Order: Redefining Sovereignty"

Read this article. International law is largely a creation of the modern state system. In recent years, however, the concept of sovereignty, a key component of nation-statehood, has been overshadowed by a variety of international actors and organizations on the world stage. How have states adapted (or not adapted) to this new state of affairs?

2.3: Non-Democratic State Forms URL Boundless Sociology: "Chapter 15, Section 1: Types of States: Dictatorship and Totalitarianism"

Read the short section on Dictatorship and Totalitarianism. Consider what makes a dictatorship different from a totalitarian government.

URL Wikipedia: "Authoritarianism"

Read this article. What are the key characteristics of authoritarian regimes? How is totalitarianism distinguishable from authoritarianism? Do any of the authoritarian countries listed surprise you? Why or why not?

URL Hanyang University: Sean Cannady and Paul Kubicek's "Nationalism and Legitimation For Authoritarianism: A Comparison of Nicholas I and Vladimir Putin"

Read this article, which examines the methods utilized by political leaders to create and cultivate authoritarian regimes. What are the similarities and differences between Nicholas' and Putin's efforts to legitimize the primacy of the state over the individual?

3.1: Defining Democracy and the Characteristics of Democracy URL The Independence Hall Association: "What is a Democracy?"

Read this series of articles about democracy. Why did the Founding Fathers believe that direct democracy could not work in America? You should also be able to explain the differences between direct, minimalist, deliberative, and radical democracy.

URL Boundless Political Science: "Chapter 1, Section 1: Forms of Government: Democratic Governments"

Read the section of this article on Democratic Governments.

URL Boundless Sociology: "Chapter 15, Section 4: Democracy: Theories of Democracy"

Read the short section of this article on Theories of Democracy.

URL The Independence Hall Association: "Democratic Values—Liberty, Equality, Justice"

Read this article. All democratic political systems represent a basic set of values and principles. In the United States, these values are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and other significant documents, speeches, and writing throughout history.

Page Yale University: Ian Shapiro's "Democracy and Majority Rule (I)"

Watch this lecture, in which Shapiro takes an in-depth look at democracy and its institutions. According to him, democracy is the most successful at delivering on the mature Enlightenment's twin promises to recognize individual rights as the ultimate political good and to base politics on some kind of commitment to objective knowledge. And interestingly, democracy as a tradition was not made famous by its champions, but rather by its critics. Professor Shapiro guides the class through the writings of Plato, Tocqueville, Madison, and Dahl. He zeroes in specifically on American democracy and such concepts as tyranny of the majority, factionalism, and checks and balances.

3.2: Democratization URL Wikipedia: "Democratization"

Read this article. Democratization (i.e., a transition to democracy) is a process of changing from an authoritarian or totalitarian system of government to a democratic government that is widely regarded by the population and the global community as legitimate and permanent. A democratic transition involves the negotiation and acceptance of democratic rules and procedures; the building or restructuring of political, social, and economic institutions; and the channeling of political competition along democratic lines. An essential component of this transition is deciding on a new constitution that reflects political, religious, cultural, and economic realities within the society and its regional environment.

URL International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: "Democracy and Development: The Role of the UN"

Read this report, which presents research findings on the linkages between democratic governance and sustained development in addition to the role of the U.N. in facilitating both. While reading the report, reflect on how democracy building serves to advance development in specific instances.

URL Jiang Shixue's "Latin American Politics after the "Third Wave" of Democratization and Its Future Prospects"

Read this article on the political development of democracy in Latin America. In 1991 political scientist Samuel Huntington defined three "waves" of democratization that have taken place throughout history. The first wave brought democracy to Western Europe and Northern America in the 19th century. It was followed by a rise of dictatorships during the years between World War II and World War II. The second wave began after World War II, but lost steam between 1962 and the mid-1970s. The latest wave began in 1974 and included the historic democratic transitions in Latin America in the 1980s, in addition to Asian Pacific countries and Eastern European after the fall of the Soviet Union.

URL Bryant Edward Harden's "Conceptualising and Assessing the State of Democracy in the World Today"

Read this article. The author attempts to assess the state of democracy worldwide through an examination of four concepts of democracy.

Page Center for Strategic and International Studies: "The Arab Spring: Prospects for Democracy"

Watch this discussion of the Arab Spring and prospects for democracy in the Middle East. What do you believe are the long-term prospects for sustained democracy in this region?

4.1: Comparing Constitutions and Government Systems URL International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: "Constitution Building: A Global Review (2013)"

Read pages 1-56 of this report. It provides an overview of 22 constitution-building processes from around the globe. What purpose does a constitution serve? What are its essential elements? What factors contributed to the need for these countries to create a constitution in the first place?

URL American Government and Politics in the Information Age: "Chapter 2: The Constitution and the Structure of Government Power"

Read this chapter, which provides a solid background on the events leading up to the first American political system and the principles embedded in the Constitution.

URL The White House: "The Executive Branch"

Read this article. In presidential systems like the United States, the Executive Branch is a central point of political power. As you read through the White House's description of the Executive Branch, make sure you are clear on the specific roles and responsibilities of the Executive Branch.

URL The White House: "The Judicial Branch"

Read this article. As you read through the White House's description of the Judicial Branch, make sure you are clear on the specific roles and responsibilities of the Judicial Branch.

Page Types of Democracy

Read this article. Make sure you can distinguish the major differences between presidential, semi-presidential and parliamentary systems. For example, what are the basic operating principles of parliamentary, presidential, and semi-presidential systems? Are political parties more powerful in parliamentary or presidential systems? Also, be able to give an example of a country with a parliamentary, presidential, and semi-presidential system. Evaluate what you see as the strengths and weaknesses of each system. Is anyone of these three systems better than the other? Why or why not?

URL American Government and Politics in the Information Age: "Section 12.2: A Bicameral Legislative Branch"

Read this section on the features of bicameralism in the U.S. Congress. From its creation in 1788, Congress remains the model for the greatest deliberative governmental institution in the world. With that in mind, why is Congress held in such low esteem by most Americans? What key institutional features have made it most prone to criticism? Does bicameralism factor into this criticism?

URL Wikipedia: "Unicameralism"

Read this article. What characterizes and differentiates bicameral and unicameral legislatures? What are the pros and cons of each system?

URL Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs: Paul Chambers' "Superfluous, Mischievous or Emancipating? Thailand's Evolving Senate Today"

Read this case study on Thailand's experience under both bicameral and unicameral legislatures. What have been the results of this "constitutional re-engineering"? Has it served to ultimately strengthen or weaken its representative government?

URL The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: "Section 2.2: Activists and Strict Constructionists"

Read this section. Almost immediately following the creation of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers split into two opposing camps over the question of how loosely or strictly to interpret the Constitution. This is a debate which has continued up to the present day, particularly around contemporary hot-button issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, health care, and presidential power.

4.2: How to Design Multi-level Government Page "Public Opinion"

Watch this lecture. Diversity is a major component of the American political system. Politics touches the lives of all Americans regardless of color, gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, or religion. As such, there are a variety of factors that predispose citizens to differ from one another in terms of their political perceptions, values, and attitudes. How do institutions measure and respond to these differences in a way that ensures an effective and responsive governance?

URL Fox Valley Technical College: Nancy McFadden's "Sources of Governmental Power"

Watch this presentation on the differences between federal, confederate, and unitary governments around the world. Note which countries fall into each category. What additional information might you be able to glean from a country based on their system of government?

URL The Independence Hall Association: "Federalism"

Read this article. Be sure to note the advantages and disadvantages of unitary and confederal governments.

URL The Electoral Knowledge Network: "Direct Democracy Options"

Read this article on direct democracy.

4.3: Bureaucracy URL Max Weber's "Essays in Sociology: Bureaucracy"

Read this section, which begins on page 196. Modern society is defined in part by the presence of bureaucracy. Weber defines the characteristics of bureaucracies and explains why they are part of modern social systems. As you read his essay, think about how bureaucracy impacts governance.

URL American Government and Politics in the Information Age: "Chapter 14: The Bureaucracy"

Read this chapter, which provides a comprehensive overview of the modern day bureaucracy. What are some of the specific ways in which the bureaucracy has increased its power over the past several decades?

4.4: Trends in Governance: Public Sector and Privatization URL Moeketsi Letseka, Bongani Bantwini, and Ethel King-McKenzie's "Public-Union Sector Politics and the Crisis of Education in South Africa"

Read this report on public-sector unions in South Africa. Why do the authors believe that teacher's unions have contributed to the country's ailing education system? What solutions do they offer in terms of reform and/or redesign?

URL United Nations University: John Vidal's "Water Privatisation: A Worldwide Failure?"

Read this article on the global trend of water privatization. What structural and economic obstacles do developing countries face by the prospect of contributing financially for access to clean and safe water?

5.1: Political Behavior and Political Culture URL American Government and Politics in the Information Age: "Chapter 6: Political Culture and Socialization"

Read this chapter. How do we define political culture? How is it related to the process of political socialization? What is the significance of political subcultures?

File European Scientific Journal: Uche Bright Odoemelam and Ebiuwa Aisien's "Political Socialization and Nation Building: The Case of Nigeria"

Read this report. Nigeria is an illustrative case in which a rising political consciousness among its citizens was unable to topple an entrenched political class. What do you think the Nigerians could have done differently to institute wholesale social and political change?

URL American Government and Politics in the Information Age: "Chapter 8: Participation, Voting, and Social Movements"

Read this chapter. Who participates in politics depends on a variety of factors, including socioeconomic status, age, gender, race and ethnicity. Mobilization efforts by political parties and interest groups also motivate people to become engaged in the political process. Social movements have been a way for groups of people work collectively for changes in government. Be sure to compare and contrast the strategies and tactics used by the various social movements discussed in the reading.

Page New America Foundation: Anne-Marie Slaughter's "Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground"

Watch the above video which discusses how social media is effectively challenging governments around the globe. How have authoritarian regimes in particular responded to online citizen advocacy? How do you think the Internet has transformed the relationship between citizens and their government?

URL Review of European Studies: Ali Rahigh-Aghsan's "Turkey's EU Quest and Political Cleavages under AKP"

Read this report. In political terms, cleavages are the divisions of voters into voting blocs which place them on separate sides of an issue. Cleavages can occur along national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious lines, making it difficult to reach consensus on a topic of national importance. The cleavages that were created by the rise of political Islam in Turkey and its impact on foreign policy are indicative of their role in structuring political conflict. After reading the article, you should be able to articulate the position of each side on the issue of Turkey's accession to the EU.

5.2: Civil Society Page Marc Bacani's "Civil Society Is"

Watch this video. Civil society refers to all that goes on in public life, outside of institutions. Civil society includes interest groups, associations, nonprofit groups, and the media. While extra-institutional, these groups are integral to the political process.

Page Coalition for One Nation: Teesta Setalvad's "Civil Society and Current Challenges to a United India"

Watch this video in which Indian civil rights activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad discusses the obstacles to creating a culture of nonviolence in India. 

Page The South African Civil Society Information Service: "The State of Civil Society in South Africa"

Watch this video. Since the late 1990s, civil society groups have mobilized in South Africa to protest government corruption. In recent years, anti-corruption efforts have spread across the continent against political and corporate elites.

URL Common Dreams: Rae Abileah's "Grassroots Strategies for Creative Social Change"

Read this article, which discusses the challenges of contemporary social movements.

URL Democracy Now: "Naomi Klein on the People's Climate March & the Global Grassroots Movement Fighting Fossil Fuels"

Watch this video where author Naomi Klein posits the notion that a new generation of global activists is challenging the older, established environmental groups that have dominated advocacy efforts in the green movements over the past several decades.

URL American Government and Politics in the Information Age: "Chapter 9: Interest Groups"

Read this chapter. Interest groups are an essential component of a properly functioning government. However, many believe that interest groups are bad for democracy for their ability to wield outsized influence on public policy. Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not?

File International NGO Journal: Ali Akbar Bromideh's "The Widespread Challenges of NGOs in Developing Countries: Case Studies From Iran"

Read this article. NGOs are a critical component of any civil society and are a growing worldwide phenomenon. However, they face many challenges including lack of funds, poor management, limited capacity, and political interference. What suggestions does Bromideh put forth to address these obstacles?

5.3: The Media Page Documania: "Noam Chomsky - Manufacturing Consent"

Watch this documentary on Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent." While Chomsky is a controversial pacifist figure in American politics, his scholarly work on media ownership and the information environment is widely respected. As you watch both parts of the video, focus your attention on Chomsky's arguments regarding the relationship between the press and the government in the United States.

File Shanthi Kalathil's "Developing Independent Media as An Institution of Accountable Governance: A How-To Guide"

Read this report about media development, which plays an important role in a democracy by facilitating the open exchange of free, public discourse and information. What are the conditions needed to build, sustain, and support an independent media? How is media development related to governance reform?

URL Boundless: Political Science: "Chapter 10, Section 2: Regulation of the Media"

Read this full section on media regulation. Why types of media are subject to government regulation? How have regulations changed with the emergence of the Internet?

File Journal of e-Democracy & Open Government: Julie Freeman and Sharna Quirke's "Understanding E-Democracy Government-Led Initiatives for Democratic Reform"

Read this full report. E-Democracy is a process in which which citizens can participate in the development of its country's laws, thereby facilitating active civic participation and government reform. Why have advancements in e-Democracy come so slowly? What is the role of governments in enabling citizen input to inform decision-making?

5.4: Voting System Factors File International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: "Electoral System Design: The New International IDEA Handbook"

Read the IDEA Handbook. What are the criteria for effective electoral system design? What are the pros and cons of various countries' systems?

URL The Brennan Center for Justice: Jennifer Rosenberg and Margaret Chen's "Expanding Democracy: Voter Registration Around the World"

Read this report, which is a multi-nation examination of the details of voter registration systems. It examines the way sixteen other countries create and keep voter lists.

URL Boundless Political Science: "Chapter 8, Section 5: How Voters Decide"

Read this full section. What are the central features that make up party identification? How prominently do issues affect voter choices? How important are a political candidate's personal traits?

URL Rio+20 Dialogues: "Vote for the Future You Want"

Go to this website and click on each of topic links at the top of the page to view how participants at the 2012 Rio+20 Conference voted on various proposed actions concerning sustainable development. The conference brought together thousands of world leaders, government officials, private sector entities, and non-governmental organizations to discuss poverty reduction, social equity, and environmental protection. The results presented here are not intended as a complete representation of the world's opinion, but rather as a set of insights into the nature and distribution of public support for these issues.

URL Luca Ferrini's "Why is Turnout at Elections Declining Across the Democratic World?"

Read this article, which examines declines in voter turnout among the world's representative democracies. What does the author offer as explanations for this trend?

URL The Independence Hall Association: "Voting: A Forgotten Privilege"

Read this article about some of the barriers to voting in the United States.

File American Journal of Computational Mathematics: Mizan Rahman's "Computational Modeling of Government Policy to Attain Long-Term Higher Voter Turnout for Sustainable Democracy"

Read this article, which examines ways to enhance voter turnout in the U.S.

URL Stein Ringen's "Democracy in America, Part 1: What's Wrong with Gerrymandering?"

Read this article about the practice of gerrymandering. While it is often criticized, some argue that it provides an important method for underrepresented groups to be represented and elected to office. Do you agree with this position? Why or why not?

URL Wikipedia: "Proportional Representation"

Read this article. In parliamentary systems, the number of seats given to a particular party is proportional to the number of votes that party receives. A minimum number of votes (a threshold) are required to secure any seats at all.

URL Dark Politricks: "Are Protest Votes Wasted Votes?"

Read this article. Do you feel that protest votes are wasted in either a parliamentary or presidential system?

6.1: Contemporary Mainstream Political Ideologies URL Wikipedia: "Conservatism"

Read this article on the political ideology of conservatism. As the article describes, there is no single set of policies that are universally regarded as conservative, because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Hence, conservatism takes different forms in different countries at different times. On what issues might an American conservative disagree with a European one?

URL University of Oxford: Theda Skocpol's "The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism"

Listen to this lecture, in which Skocpol explains the dynamics behind the Tea Party movement and its impact on the Republican Party establishment. What factors led to the emergence of the Tea Party as a political force? How has it transformed conservative ideology both within the party and on the national stage?

URL Wikipedia: "Liberalism"

Read this article on the political ideology of liberalism. Like conservatism, there exist many variations throughout the world. You should be able to define the major components of the liberal tradition in addition to tracing its historical evolution.

Page University of Oxford: Ronald Dworkin's "How Universal is Liberalism?"

Watch this lecture. Dworkin was a world renowned legal scholar whose liberal philosophy was grounded in his belief that law must take its authority from what ordinary people would recognize as moral virtue. What case does he make for the universality of liberalism?

Page University of Oxford: "International Women's Day 2015"

Watch this panel discussion on feminism and the state of women's rights. Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies which seek to achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women. According to the panelists, what have been the successes and failures of global feminism?

File African Journal of Political Science and International Relations: Luke Amadi and Cajetan Amadi's "Toward Institutionalizing Gender Equality in Africa: How Effective are the Global Gender Summits and Convention? A Critique"

Read this article, which critiques efforts to enlarge the participation of women in governance and decision-making. What evidence do the authors present that suggest women are still marginalized in global discourse? What recommendations do they make to address the issue?

URL Wikipedia: "Social Democracy"

Read this article about on the development and philosophy of social democracy.

File Peter Kellner's "The Crisis of Social Democracy: A Sustainable Philosophy for the Left"

Read this article. Kellner calls on the British Labour Party to develop programs that underscore the principles of social democracy for the 21st century. What arguments does Kellner put forth about the demise of social democracy in Great Britain? Who is at fault and how can the trend be reversed? 

URL Wikipedia: "Green Party"

Read this article on the Green Party. Why has "green politics" had such greater electoral success in Europe than the United States?

6.2: The Public Policy Cycle URL The Independence Hall Association: "Policy Making: Political Interactions"

Read this article on the key stages of the policymaking process.

URL American Government and Politics in the Information Age: "Section 16.2: "Making Public Policy" and "Section 16.4: Policy Making and Domestic Policies in the Information Age"

Read sections 16.2 and 16.4 on policymaking in the United States.

File John's Hopkins University: William Brieger's "Policy Making and Advocacy"

Read this presentation on policymaking and advocacy as it relates to global public health initiatives.

URL The London School of Economics and Political Science: Kathryn Oliver, Simon Innvaer, Theo Lorenc, Jenny Woodman, and James Thomas' "Negative Stereotypes About the Policymaking Process Hinder Productive Action Toward Evidence-Based Policy"

Read this article on the challenges of assimilating evidence-based research into the policymaking process. What factors have contributed to lack of rigorously established objective evidence informing public policy?

URL Wikipedia: "Iron Triangle"

Read this article. Iron triangles are often criticized for creating beneficial public policies in favor of corporations and other special interest groups. What types of governmental reforms would help to break the dynamics of this relationship between Congress, special interest groups, and bureaucratic agencies?

URL American Government and Politics in the Information Age: "Section 9.3: Interest Groups and the Political System"

Read this section on the role of interest groups in government. What are the levels of influence that interest groups can possess in their relations with policymakers?

URL Wikipedia: "Military-Industrial Complex"

Read this article, which discusses the background and current issues related to the military-industrial complex. After President Dwight Eisenhower used the phrase in his 1961 farewell address, it entered the political lexicon to signify the notion that an oligarchy of corporate interests encompassing the Pentagon and its military producers was on the verge of controlling the U.S. government. How true do you think Eisenhower's warning ring today? Can you cite specific examples of the military-industrial complex's role in U.S. national defense policies and practices?

6.3: Politics beyond the Policy Process URL Boundless Sociology: "Chapter 16, Section 1: Economic Systems: Informal Economy"

Read the short section of this article on Informal Economy. Informal economies make up a significant portion of the economies in developing countries and are often associated with poverty and unemployment. Consider the ways in informal economies can be integrated into the formal sector. What are the challenges? Be sure to watch the video at the end of the article.

URL Centre for International Governance Innovation: Elizabeth Fraser, Malambo Moonga, and Johanna Wilkes' "The Role of the Informal Economy in Addressing Urban Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa"

Read this report. What recommendations do the authors put forth to ensure a sustained investment and support in Africa's informal food economy?

URL University of Oxford: Chandrashekhar Krishnan's "Global Corruption Status Report"

Listen to this lecture. According to Krishnan, in what ways to countries engage in corruption? Is global corruption getting better or worse? What does he suggest are the keys to preventing it?

7.1: Africa Page Al Jazeera: "Africa: States of Independence - The Scramble for Africa"

Watch this video which describes the historical underpinnings of the political power struggles and ethnic violence that took place in so many countries in Africa after they gained independence from their past colonial rulers after WWII.

Part I: In 1885, European leaders had carved up the geographical areas of the "Dark Continent" that would be come their subjects in the Act of Berlin following the end of the Franco Prussian War.Intensive exploitation of Africa's natural resources and various levels of ethnic subjugation followed. [1:00–23:24] 

Part II: In 1957, the rise of nationalism among African citizens led to calls for self-sovereignty. and independence from colonial rule. A sense of celebration and hopes for a future pan-African state took hold. Unfortunately, global geopolitics and a struggle for control over natural resources again "proved a disastrous mix." Ethnic differences and hostilities that colonial imperial rule had suppressed exploded upon independence. [23:25–33:42]

Part III: The 1960's were a violent period when the new leaders faced the challenges of state-building, struggles for political power, ethnic and regional division, and competition among corporate multinationals for financial dominance. The video ends with examples of hope for the future among the new professional classes. [33:43–44:54]

Barrington Moore, an American political scientist, argues there is no one path to modernization, economic development, and political stability. What factors determine which route each country took in Africa? Most argue that the solutions must come from within the communities that will be affected by political change.

File Stephen Van Riper's "Tackling Africa's First Narco-State: Guinea-Bissau in West Africa"

Read this report. The section "Guinea-Bissau’s Issues," on pages 9–16 examines some of the political barriers that have prevented politicians in Guinea-Bissau from creating stable institutions that otherwise might have been able to combat the drug trade that took over the country. What cultural, geographic, and political factors have led to the growth and institutionalization of the illegal drug trade in Guinea-Bissau?

URL University of Oxford: Kathryn Nwajiaku's "The Politics of Oil and Identity in Nigeria: A Political Economy of Ethnic Nationalism"

Listen to this podcast [beginning at time stamp 7:11] where Kathryn Nwajiaku asks whether oil created the Ijaw, Nigeria's fourth largest ethnic group, by giving them a sense of identity and political purpose or whether this ethnic group would have formed without these natural riches.

Petroleum is the largest industry in Nigeria, and has been a primary generator of economic growth in Africa's most populous country. However, ownership claims of the country's rich oil reserves between the Nigerian state and ethnic minorities has been a source of civil and often violent conflict. While listening to the podcast, consider the claims made by each side. Can you identify any ways to resolve this conflict?

URL Selina Nwulu's "Oil Exploitation in the Niger Delta and the Legacy of Ken Saro-Wiwa"

Read this article. What have been the repercussions of oil production on the Nigerian environment and how have activists responded?

7.2: Latin America URL U.S. Department of State: "History of Latin American Countries"

Read this article. Guillermo O'Donnell, an Argentinean political scientist, has compared the rise of bureaucratic-authoritarianism in Brazil and Argentina during the 1960s. Drawing on dependency theory (which assumes resources will flow from poorer peripheral nations to wealthier core nations), O'Donnell argues that dependent development in Latin America led to heightened class division within Latin American countries. Modernization efforts in Latin America has resulted in increasingly repressive governments, as state-led industrialization promoted dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s and the growth of a technocratic elite. The recent rising popularity of socialist and revolutionary military movements has signaled a backlash against this technocratic elite.

Page United Nations University: Armando Barrientos's "Inequality in Latin America - The Role of Conditional Cash Transfer"

Watch this video. The goal of conditional cash transfer programs is to alleviate poverty by making social welfare programs contingent on the actions of the recipient, generally related to children's health care and education. Why have these programs seen such a proliferation in Latin American countries? Are they effective?

File Pablo Acosta, Phillipe Leite and Jamele Rigolini's "Should Cash Transfers Be Confined to the Poor? Implications for Poverty and Inequality in Latin America"

Read this report. What are some of the criticisms of cash transfer programs? Why do the authors argue that "poverty targeted" programs are more effective than categorical ones?

URL Institute for International Law and Justice: Kevin Davis' "Financing Development: Microfinance Background"

Read this article. What are some of the debates and challenges of microfinancing in developing countries? Do you consider microfinance a valuable development tool?

URL Center for Economic and Policy Research: Milford Bateman's "Latin America's Tragic Engagement With Microcredit" 

Read this article. Why does Milford Bateman believe microcredit has been so destructive in Latin America? What evidence does he offer to support his argument? 

URL Center for Economic and Policy Research: Mark Weisbrot, Stephan Lefebvre, and Joseph Sammut's "Did NAFTA Help Mexico? An Assessment After 20 Years"

Read this report. When NAFTA was first proposed in 1993, a vigorous debate ensued among its supporters and opponents, regarding trade and investment policy between the United States and Mexico. More than 20 years after Congress enacted NAFTA, economists, journalists, and policymakers have conducted full-scale assessments of its impact. Do you think the authors of this report believe NAFTA has been a success, failure, or a combination of both?

URL Small Wars Journal: Philip Abbott's "The Intractable Conflict: Why Colombia's War Against the FARC Eludes Resolution"

Read this article. Colombia has suffered from decades of civil conflict and violence among various left- and right-wing paramilitary groups, exacerbated in large part by the drug trade. During the past several years, Columbia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People's Army (FARC) has tentatively engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government. In the reading, Philip Abbott analyzes the conflict from a socio-psychological perspective to "gain a more equitable perception of reality." What policies and strategies does he suggest can accurately address these realities?

7.3: Asia Page The Center for Strategic & International Studies: Ng Eng Hen's "The Rise of Asia: Reaping Promises, Avoiding Perils"

Watch this video. Asia is considered a model of rapid political and economic development. Many scholars argue that a decades-long trend of liberalization, after a long history of political consolidation, has been a key factor in its economic prosperity. However, debates about human rights and political freedom continue to be points of contention between Asia and the West.

URL Universidad Francisco Marroquín: Christopher Lingle's "Secrets of Success and Failure of Asian Economies: China, India and Japan"

Watch this video. Competition for economic dominance has forced many countries to compete against each other, particularly those which share the same geographic regions. What factors have led to these countries' current positions as global players? What are the political, economic, and social strengths and weaknesses of each country? What solutions does Lingle provide to address their respective problems?

Page New America Foundation: "Asia's Unsung Female Leaders: Facing Down Oppression and Hardship in the Quest for Human Dignity"

Watch this video. Across Asia, a new generation of women has emerged to challenge the international community on human rights and political reform. What tools are these young activists using to empower individuals and advocate for change?

Page Center for Strategic & International Studies: "China Reality Check Series: China's Human Rights Diplomacy"

Watch this presentation by human rights activist John Kamm. China has long been a target of non-governmental organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other world governments for systematic human rights abuses. Issues involving freedom of the press, the one-child policy, capital punishment, and repression of minority groups have gotten world attention at the same time that China is becoming an economic and political superpower. How have China's leaders worked to reframe their human rights diplomacy in the face of these realities?

URL Global Journal of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: Abdul Ghafoor Awan, Waqas Ahmad's "Role of Policies in Economic Growth: A Case Study of China's Economic Growth"

Read this report. China currently has the world's second largest economy behind the United States. Its unprecedented economic growth puts it on track to becoming a potential world superpower within the next twenty years. What policies has China put in place to spur this phenomenal growth? What lessons can the United States take from China's experience?

URL Journal of Soil Science and Environmental Management: Ha Thuc Vien's "The Linkage Between Land Reform and Land Use Changes: A Case of Vietnam"

Read this report. Land reform is one of the policy areas in Vietnam that has gone through a radical transformation from its origins as a collectivist enterprise. How has this change impacted families, agriculture, and the overall economy in Vietnam?

7.4: The Middle East and the Islamic World Page Khan Academy: "The Breakup of the Ottoman Empire"

Watch these videos. World War I was important in shaping the development of the modern Middle East. Once encompassing the Ottoman Empire, the war's end precipitated a peace settlement that divided the Arab lands into European protectorates, stripping them of most of their independence. While watching the videos, consider how the current conflicts in the Middle East can be traced back to this initial event.

URL Wikipedia: "History of Israel"

Read this article. The state of Israel is central to many of the historic and contemporary upheavals in the Middle East. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world's longest standing conflicts, and many believe that resolving this conflict is the key to resolving the various conflicts throughout the region.

URL Wikipedia: "Israel"

Read this article.

URL Asian Social Science: Etim Okon's "Jihad: Warfare and Territorial Expansion in Islam"

Read this article on the role of jihad in political Islam. The term "political Islam" is often used to identify the adoption of Islam into secular politics.

Page The Doha Debates: "Tackling Extremism" 

Watch this video, which features a panel discussion on the issue of how to combat extremism and improve relations between the West and the Muslim world. 

URL Brett Bowden: "Politics in a World of Civilizations: Long-term Perspectives on Relations between Peoples"

Read this analysis of the main arguments Samuel Huntington, an American political scientist, presented in his provocative thesis, "Clash of Civilizations," in 1993. Be sure to read and think about Bowden's analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of Huntington's thoughts regarding contemporary international conflict.

Study Guides Page Unit 1 Study Guide: Social Science and Comparative Politics
Page Unit 2 Study Guide: The Nation-State
Page Unit 3 Study Guide: Democratic States and Democratization
Page Unit 4 Study Guide: Comparing Political Structures and Institutions
Page Unit 5 Study Guide: Political Behavior
Page Unit 6 Study Guide: Comparing Ideology, Policy, and Decision Making
Page Unit 7 Study Guide: Comparative Case Studies
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