Comparative politics is sometimes seen as an amorphous area of study within political science. American politics, as the adjective "American" clearly indicates, answers questions about political science in the American context. In contrast, deciphering what, for political scientists, the adjective "comparative" means is a less straightforward task. Saying that comparative politics scholars compare things may be the painfully obvious answer but it still leaves unanswered just what is meant when we say "comparative politics." This course is designed as an introduction to the key topics and debates within comparative politics.