PS 601 Indian Politics in Comparative Perspective

Comparative politics seeks to explain variation in socio-economic and political outcomes across the world. In this course, we will seek to understand how India’s experiences comport with, and inform, major theories of comparative politics that explain the outcomes (also known as dependent variables) of regime type, economic development and conflict. We will spend four weeks on each of these outcomes. In the first of these weeks, we will review extant explanations for variation in the outcome, considering why political scientists argue that some countries are democracies, while others are dictatorships; why some countries are poor, while others are rich; and why some countries experience high levels of violence, while others are peaceful. In the next class, we will consider whether
and why India comports with standard theories that explain the outcome considered. We will also discuss how standard theories might be revised in light of the Indian case. In the third class, we will map subnational variation—across regions, and over time—in the outcome being considered, and try to explain it. In the fourth class, we will assess reforms being considered by the Indian state to further democratic and economic development, and to reduce conflict. Students will learn
about India’s politics in a structured manner, and will gain an appreciation of the power and limitations of the political science method.