Here is a sample of courses I have taught or plan to teach in the future:
Politics of Authoritarianism (CPO 4053)
This course is designed to help students understand the causes and consequences of authoritarian regimes, particularly in the post-Cold War (1989-present) period. Throughout the semester, students explore three broad questions: (1) What are authoritarian regimes and how have they evolved over time? (2) Why does authoritarianism develop and persist in some parts of the world? (3) What are the effects of authoritarianism on various aspects of global politics? Students also spend a significant amount of time discussing and thinking about the most effective ways to analyze politics under authoritarianism, from in-depth case studies to comparisons of a few regimes to cross-national trends using large statistical datasets.
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of general trends in contemporary African politics. Africa is a diverse continent made up of 54 countries and over 1.2 billion people. It is home to all types of political systems – including democracies, monarchies, military governments, and one-party states. This makes it an exciting place to study political science. This course will focus on three big questions – What are the most pressing problems facing African countries since independence? Is there something exceptional about Africa? How can the continent inform our broader understanding of comparative politics? To answer these questions, the course incorporates both written scholarship and documentary accounts across several thematic areas.
Introduction to Political Data Analysis
This seminar is designed to train undergraduate students on the basic principles of data analysis. The goal is to introduce a set of tools that students can draw upon throughout their careers – whether that be in public service or the private sector. With this in mind, the course takes a pragmatic approach to statistics, encouraging students to develop knowledge on how to apply descriptive and causal inference to substantive problems. Students will find that understanding and critically assessing the validity of data-driven arguments does not require them to solve complex mathematical equations. Rather, this necessitates attention to broader questions about concepts, measurement, and the assumptions embedded within our statistical models. These skills will help students to intelligently approach data in their future careers and to interrogate data driven arguments in a thoughtful manner.
Seminar on Fieldwork Methods
This course is designed to provide graduate students with tools necessary to successfully conduct fieldwork in political science. The first part of the course covers a variety of fieldwork methods that students may draw upon to collect data for their particular research puzzle. These skills include ethnography, archival data collection, interviews, focus groups, and survey methods. The second part of the course focuses on the practicalities of fieldwork. This includes developing a research plan for the field, applying for research funding, and adhering to research ethics and integrity. The latter will provide the building blocks for students to effectively navigate the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process and to tackle difficult circumstances that may arise during fieldwork. After completing this course, students will be prepared to engage in fieldwork as part of their dissertation research in ways that produce quality data while respecting their data sources.