POLSCI 489 - Advanced Topics in Contemporary Political Science
Winter 2019, Section 001 - Political Terror: State Repression of Human Rights
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Political Science (POLSCI)
Department: LSA Political Science
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Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Seniors only.
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


This course explores the postwar transition of governments to democratic institutions throughout the 20th and the 21st century. Numerous peacekeeping operations and military interventions have sought to create institutions that will afford citizens the opportunity to participate in government. The reasoning behind this is straightforward: scholars and policymakers agree that democratic institutions should be solution to prevent recurring violence. The outcome of these efforts, however, has been a difficult lesson: an effective transition is much more complicated than just holding an election or rotating leadership. A number of factors - such as socio-economic development, historical experience, and trust - can influence the process against democratization. The first part of this course will address these debates and reflect on how they contribute to our understanding of whether democratic institutions can take root. The second part of the course will address the institutional changes that become necessary in an effort to build a democracy. In transitioning a government, the actors involved will have to:

  1. design power-sharing arrangements among factions,
  2. engage in constitutional negotiations,
  3. tackle rampant corruption,
  4. address the demands of an emerging civil society, and
  5. establish the rule of law.

Examples discussed will include Haiti, the Weimar Republic, Japan, Mozambique, Angola, and Afghanistan. In this course, students will critically assess theories of democratic transitions, the various ensuing institutional changes, and historical case studies to arrive at a deeper understanding of the theoretical and policy implications for liberalizing the state after a major conflict. Essentially, students taking this course will become experts in one transition through three assignments: first, students will produce an annotated bibliography to establish their knowledge; second, give a research presentation to explain their case to peers; and third, offer policy recommendations on how to learn from or fix the situation.

Course Requirements:

Students will produce an annotated bibliography, give a research presentation, and offer policy recommendations.

Intended Audience:

International Studies Majors and Minors

Class Format:

Class focuses on lectures and in class discussions.


POLSCI 489 - Advanced Topics in Contemporary Political Science
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
Th 9:00AM - 12:00PM
002 (REC)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
004 (REC)
 In Person
W 9:00AM - 12:00PM
005 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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