This class serves two purposes. Substantively, it deals with questions related to a particular kind of regime change: democratic collapse. We will ask what makes a democracy, under what circumstances democratic systems can collapse, and consider how theories of democratic collapse have evolved over the 20th and 21st centuries in response to political events. We move chronologically through social scientific responses to authoritarian resurgence in interwar Europe, Latin America, Russia, India, Turkey, Egypt, and Europe and - perhaps - the United States.
This is also a “thesis prep” seminar for the Political Science major. As such, it is designed to help senior majors prepare to write their theses in the spring. As such, we will spend a significant proportion of our time focusing on social science writing and the process of constructing a social science paper. While this structure is designed to help seniors write strong theses, it should also benefit anyone interested in improving their analytical writing skills.