Teaching

Gov 94zd: Dilemmas of Democracy (Fall 2020): Democracies appear embattled around the world. Covid-19 has exposed many democracies as dysfunctional. But even before Covid-19, from Hungary, Venezuela and Turkey to western Europe and the United Sates, there was already a growing perception that democracy itself was suffering from a set of pre-existing chronic ailments. In the last decade, demagogues have been on the rise. Once in power, elected leaders with authoritarian inclinations have often entrenched themselves in power. Voters seem increasingly susceptible to misinformation. Economic inequality had made democracy vulnerable to “capture” by powerful economic interests. And intense party polarization has left voters blind to abuses of elected autocrats. This course explores the concept of democracy—its institutions and norms-- and some chronic dilemmas in the practice of democracy to understand what makes democracies work, what are challenges facing them today.  We explore significant historical and contemporary cases of democratic death from Weimar Germany to contemporary Hungary and Turkey. We will draw on these lessons to analyze the state of American democracy with a focus on what can be done to revive and renew American democracy.  In the last part of the course we will read four recent books that seek to diagnose what’s gone wrong in American democracy.

 

Government 1190: Government 1190: This course will explore European politics from a developmental perspective. We trace the evolution of European political systems from their predemocratic origins to the present crises. We begin with an overview of Europe’s distinctive political legacies of feudalism, state-building, absolutism
and revolution that provide key background to contemporary Europe. We then trace the difficult rise of democracy in the 19th century and fascism in the 1930s. Next we explore the post-war “rescue” of Europe through the creation of the European Union and postwar European welfare states. We examine the postcommunist experience in eastern Europe. And, finally, we turn to study why populist, anti-immigrant, and Euroskeptic movements and parties have surged across Europe exploring what this means for European democracy today. Throughout we trace the evolution of democracy and its populist authoritarianism critics. We will study a range of countries, including Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the low countries, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe

Government 2170: State-Building (Fall 2016 and Fall 2017)

This is doctoral seminar, is taught jointly with Evan Lieberman at MIT. We will investigate the politics of state-building in comparative perspective. The course is intended primarily for Ph.D. students in political science/government, particularly for those with research interests in comparative politics. Throughout the semester, we will try to tackle the following questions: How should we conceptualize the state? What are the best empirical strategies for measuring state “strength” or power? What is the range of theoretical explanations that account for variation in state power, and what is the quality of the evidence in support of such propositions? Can we improve upon the existing state of theory and/or the quality of empirical research?     *Please note that, unfortunately, we will not be accepting auditors

 

Government 2105: Comparative Politics: PhD Field Seminar (with Steven Levitsky)

 

Government 2126: Political Corruption

 

Government 2136: Political Regimes and Regime Change

Government 94dz: Is Democracy Possible Everywhere? 

Is democracy an obtainable ideal in all societies? This course introduces students to political science and sociological theories of democratization and offers the opportunity to apply these theories to diverse contexts, including the contemporary Middle East, Africa, and East Asia, and the history of Latin America, the U.S., and Europe. The quality of democracy in today?s rich capitalist societies such as the United States is also examined.

Social Studies 98ox. Fascism and the Far Right in Europe and Beyond

What is fascism? How did fascists come to power in some states in interwar Europe? What are the legacies of fascism? Who are Europe's radical right parties today, and what explains the appeals of a new wave of radical right politics that appears to be sweeping advanced democracies?  These are the core questions we will address in this course.

Societies of the World 50: Political Corruption (New Undergraduate lecture course)

Political corruption exists everywhere, but which countries are most corrupt? Do highly corrupt countries share common characteristics? How much corruption is there? The social costs of political corruption, from the stealing of public funds to bribes paid to avoid basic safety and health regulations, are often extremely high. Why are so few recent attempts to fight corruption successful? The course is comparative, draws historical connections, and as far as possible requires no background knowledge.

Spring 2012: Democracy and Dictatorship in Interwar Europe (junior seminar)

This course explores the contemporary lessons to be learned from crisis-ridden Europe between 1918 and 1940. We explore regime breakthroughs, breakdowns and democratic survival in Germany , Italy, France, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in Europe during this dark period in European history.  The purpose of the course is to gain a mastery of the European historical experience in this important period and to use this period to develop a grasp that can help us think about the conditions under which economic crisis causes democracy to collapse or to survive.

Spring 2011: Government 1170: Nation-Building, Democracy, and the Development of Europe (Undergraduate course)

Graduate Courses

Government 3006: Comparative Politics Workshop 

Government 2105: Comparative Politics: Field Seminar

Government 2126: Political Corruption

Government 2136: Political Regimes and Regime Change

Primary Historical Materials: An Urgent Call for Unity(1932)