Divide and Rule
Grodzins Prize Lectureship, Spring 2015

This course explores one of the oldest and most widely-recognized tools of political control: divide-and-rule strategies. From ancient tyrants to colonial powers to modern authoritarianism, a wide array of rulers have sown divisions between different political factions, ethnic groups, or social classes to neutralize potential opposition. What tactics do rulers use to create division? How and why do citizens resist or comply? And how integral are divide-and-rule tactics to regime survival? This course explores these questions through a wide-ranging survey of writings in comparative politics and political theory, complemented by historical and first-person accounts of divide-and-rule politics.

The course will serve as an introduction to the political science literature on regimes and regime transitions, and will touch on a number of central issues in the study of politics: the role of institutions, the tension between structure and agency, ethnic conflict, state-society relations, and the methodological challenges inherent in both prediction and post-hoc analysis.

University of Chicago, Spring 2015

Download syllabus here.