PL SC 414
Dictators and Their Demise (3) Dictators and Their Demise examines the political economy of authoritarian rule.
PL SC 414 Dictators and Their Demise (3)
Dictators and Their Demise provides a broad exploration about how non-democratic governments throughout the world rule. We examine: the conditions that give rise to authoritarianism; the variety of authoritarian regimes; the strategies authoritarian leaders use to stay in power; the consequences of different types of authoritarianism for outcomes such as economic growth and human development; and the domestic and international sources of authoritarian demise. The course covers cases of authoritarian rule in: Chile, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Malaysia, Mexico, and the former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC).
The course builds knowledge about the governments under which most people in the Global South lived during the 20th century. Even today, roughly half of the world’s population lives under some form of non-democratic government. Yet almost all courses currently in the curriculum, particularly in the field of comparative politics, focus exclusively on democratic forms of government. This course therefore examines a new topic not currently offered in the curriculum.
In additional to learning about different types of authoritarian rule, students form an understanding of how common foreign policy tools, such as economic sanctions, foreign aid, and human rights shaming, are likely to affect domestic politics in these countries. This knowledge helps students critically evaluate foreign policy relationships between democracies, such and the United States, and dictatorships.
Course materials cover theoretical approaches to the study of authoritarian rule, in-depth case studies (including novels, biographies, and documentary), and empirical research. This course requires student presentations, weekly reading assignments, descriptive analysis of quantitative data in graphs, multiple written assignments, and a final take-home essay exam. Students develop analytic skills through the weekly written homework assignments in which they apply the broad theoretical concepts to analyze counter factual situations from specific cases of authoritarian rule. Oral presentations develop inter-personal skills and require students to research specific cases of authoritarian rule currently in the news. This helps students critically evaluate current events.
Finally, the written assignments require students to develop skills working with real data. Students collect and graphically present basic descriptive data about economic and human development in non-democratic countries: economic data, infant mortality, literacy, and indicators of women’s well-being. Using real world data to make international comparisons helps students develop skills to form and articulate complex arguments, and teaches them the basics of research design.
General Education: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Summer 2011
Prerequisite: PL SC 003
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.