Course Description:

The overwhelming majority of governments throughout history have been undemocratic. Despite the “third wave” of democracy after the Cold War, many authoritarian regimes have remained surprisingly resilient. A third of the world’s countries and about half of the world’s population still live under autocratic rule today. The study of politics is thus incomplete without careful consideration of what leads to the formation of authoritarian systems, as well as their durability within an increasingly globalized international context. The goal of the class is to help students develop a greater understanding of authoritarian regimes by starting with basic concepts, such as differentiating authoritarian regime types and their power foundations. We will then build upon these concepts to tackle more complex questions about authoritarian regimes’ ruling institutions and strategies, and the roles of media, patronage, and coercion in supporting – or challenging – authoritarian rule. At last, we will discuss a variety of issue areas under authoritarian rule, including economy, collective action, and governance