POL 532: Comparative Ethnic Politics (graduate seminar)

This course examines the political implications of ethnic diversity across contexts. We will discuss questions such as: How and when do ethnic identities shape political behavior and macro-political cleavages?  What explains ethnic conflict? How are ethnic minorities incorporated into politics? What are the consequences of minority political inclusion? Readings will cover advanced democracies as well as economically and politically developing countries.

SPI 594a: Policymaking in Diverse Societies (graduate seminar)

This course investigates how ethnic diversity influences policymaking and how state institutions structure ethnic politics.  We will address why and how ethnic diversity shapes individuals’ and groups’ beliefs, preferences, and behaviors in ways that influence the formulation of policy.  The course will also examine sources of inter-group conflict and how policies can help ameliorate or exacerbate such conflict, focusing on immigration policy, multiculturalism, and state institutions that raise or lower the salience of ethnic identity. Additionally, we will examine how diversity itself can influence policy outcomes by studying its effect on welfare policies and redistribution.  Topics and readings will cover advanced democracies as well as economically and politically developing countries.

SPI 590: Politics of Inequality and Redistribution (with Tom Romer) (graduate seminar)

This six-week segment of the Social Policy seminar will focus on the politics and political economy of inequality and the welfare state. Particular attention will be paid to the institutions and policies of the advanced industrial economies. Following a brief overview, we will begin by presenting some simple models of policy choice by self-interested voters (e.g. concerned with their own incomes and economic risks) in a purely majoritarian setting. We then extend these frameworks in two ways. First, we explore the role of different economic and political institutions such as firms, unions, parties, and electoral systems. We then consider more complex models of voter motivations including altruism, religion, and racial attitudes.

POL 356: Comparative Ethnic Conflict (undergraduate lecture)

This course examines ethnic conflict in Europe, the United States, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The course begins by first addressing why, how and when ethnicity matters in structuring the social and political behavior of individuals and groups. We will then investigate different types of ethnic conflict, ranging from ethnic violence in civil war, to riots and hate crime. In addition to studying the causes and consequences of these conflicts, we will also examine incidents of inter-ethnic peace, as well as solutions to ethnic conflict, such as electoral systems, partition, and peace tribunals.

SPI 333: Claims and Evidence in Policy Research (undergraduate lecture)

This course introduces students to the foundations of research design. The main objective is for students to learn how to use empirical evidence to substantiate theoretically grounded claims. Students will learn how to formulate researchable questions from broad concepts, develop testable hypotheses, construct valid measurements of their concepts and indicators and design research proposals. The course will cover a wide range of research approaches employing both qualitative and quantitative methods. These include survey research, experimental design, historical process tracing, and comparative case studies. We will also go over several practical aspects of research, including ethics and regulations concerning human subjects, the conduct of interviews, the use of library and reference search tools, and resources for acquiring and presenting of data.