Jun 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

POL 359 - Topics in Comparative Politics

Upper level course in comparative politics.  Topics change from year to year.

Fall 2019: Democracy and its Discontents


The Freedom House organization recently suggested that there has been a 13-year decline in the level of democracy globally. Countries that were seemingly on a more democratic trajectory, such as Benin and Zambia, have experienced a deliberate move toward authoritarianism. In Myanmar, the hope for a new democratic dispensation is now greatly diminished. Finally, among countries in the West, democratic values and practices are being questioned by so-called populist leaders and associated parties. This course examines the foundations of democracy and explores the challenges to democratic rule with an emphasis on developing countries, such as countries at a political crossroads and new democracies. The course will also consider the rise of “populism” among countries in the West. Finally, the course will consider the global, national, and local factors that shape discontent with democracy, as well as interrogate whether discontent necessarily leads to a resurgence of authoritarianism.