Revised: August 24, 2004
Comparative politics at the Graduate School explores the similarities and differences among political systems within and across major geographic regions. Seminars range from two core courses on Basic Theories and Concepts in Comparative Politics and Comparative Political Institutions to advanced seminars on issues of contemporary significance - such as Globalization and Its Discontents, Civil Wars, Environmental Politics, and State and Society. Particularly rich in faculty expertise on Africa, Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the European Union, Post-Socialist regimes, Israel, and North Africa, the program offers each of six such area-focused seminars every two years.
Students are also prepared for empirical research in their dissertations by a Graduate Center faculty of distinguished reputation and wide-ranging and interdisciplinary interests - in addition to comparative politics, in international relations, political theory, American politics, urban studies, American and comparative public policy, anthropology, sociology, economics, women's studies, literature and film. Seminars are as a rule very small and faculty easily accessible. The subfield graduate faculty adheres to no one theoretical or methodological perspective, which makes for an unusually supportive environment for student research. Moreover, students can also draw on a faculty of enormous breadth from all 19 colleges of the CUNY system and graduate seminars in their specialization through a consortium with Columbia, New York University, and the New School University.
The department is simultaneously the home of the academic journal, Comparative Politics, and of faculty who are regularly engaged in policy-related work and political action. We recognize the importance of dialogue between the worlds of academic research and public policy and benefit from a student community that is unusually varied in its career interests, work experience, and national backgrounds. The wide scope of students' research interests and dissertation topics in comparative politics reflects in part the large international component of the student community and their variety of career goals, from academic research and teaching, in the US or in their home country, to employment in public-service or international organizations (such as our neighbor, the United Nations, and the numerous non-governmental organizations and research institutes in New York because of the UN).
As with other political science subfields at the Graduate Center, the program in comparative politics encourages students to identify and pursue the topic of their dissertation early and systematically, through seminar papers and individual advising. As soon as the written qualifying examinations in comparative politics and one minor subfield have been passed, students prepare a dissertation proposal and submit to an oral examination of five professors covering all subfields of political science and specialized knowledge related to the dissertation. This encourages both the most efficient path to the dissertation and the Ph.D. and the highest standards of empirical scholarship.
This subfield features studies in these areas:
- Theories and concepts
- Industrial democracies
- Post-communist political systems
- Developing nations
- Comparative public policy
- Cross-systems analysis.
- Christa Altenstetter, comparative public policy, health policy, policy-making in the European Union
- Sherrie Baver, Latin America, Caribbean politics, environmental policy, immigration
- John Bowman, political economy of advanced industrial economies, labor, business organization
- Forrest Colburn, Latin America, developing nations
- Kenneth Erickson, comparative politics, Latin America, energy policy
- Joyce Gelb, gender, public policy, citizenship, representation (elective and party politics)
- John Gerassi, Europe
- James F. Guyot, Southeast Asia, public administration
- John Harbeson, African politics, international relations
- Roger Karapin, Western Europe, U.S., environmental policy, immigration policy, social/political movements
- Irving Leonard Markovitz, theories of modernization and political change
- Peter Roman, Latin America, political economy
- Ronald Schneider, political systems in Latin America, Brazil
- Carolyn Somerville, international relations, Africa
- Yan Sun, East Asia; NIC development; post-communist transitional politics; political corruption
- Susan Woodward, post-socialist transitions, the Balkans, civil war, international relations, the former Yugoslavia