POL 2: Introduction to Comparative Politics
Syllabus | Description

This course is designed to provide undergraduate students with an introduction to important concepts and methods in comparative politics. The second half of the course is focused on the causes and consequences of democratic erosion as part of a cross-university collaboration. By the end of the course, students should be able to:

1. Apply the logic and tools of comparative political analysis.
2. Show introductory knowledge on a broad range of topics in comparative politics, particularly theories of democratic accountability, democratization, and democratic decline.

POL 146A: Contemporary African Politics
Syllabus | Description

This course is designed to provide advanced undergraduate students with an overview to important research topics in the politics and political economy of development in modern Africa. Topics include the legacies of colonial rule, state formation, state failure and conflict, democratization and democratic erosion, corruption and political accountability, and the role of foreign aid. Readings draw from comparative politics, political economy, history, geography, and development economics. The course puts an emphasis on research design and evaluating causal claims.

POL 179: Experiments in Social Change
Syllabus | Description

How can we change the world for the better? We may want to save water, reduce police abuse, reduce transmission of infectious disease, or enable small businesses to grow. In this course, we learn about a set of important social problems, and ideas from political science on how to address them. We do not only focus on these ideas, but how we would know if they work. We explore how randomized control trials, also known as A/B tests and randomized experiments, can be used to test these ideas. Students come away able to read a paper reporting on a randomized trial and evaluate the quality of its evidence. By the end of the course, students should be able to: 1) Describe what a randomized trial is and what we can learn with the tool; 2) Read and critically evaluate evidence related to causal relationships; 3) Use R to analyze data from a randomized trial; and 4) Conduct a small-scale randomized trial.


POL 290F: Political Behavior in the Developing World
Syllabus | Description

This course is designed to prepare advanced graduate students to do research on political behavior in the developing world. The primary goal of the course is to provide an overview of the literature on a handful of areas of active research on violence, protest, clientelism, identity and cooperation, and political participation. Class discussions are organized around questions such as, Why do individuals participate in violence? When do citizens mobilize to demand public services from politicians? and How do historical events shape current behavior? For each research area, we will read a mix of foundational texts and recent research that demonstrates how innovative research design can shed new light on foundational questions in comparative politics.

In addition to providing an overview of some substantive topics, this course aims to provide insights on how to launch new empirical research projects in comparative political behavior. To this end, we will 1) have guest speaker(s) who will discuss how they designed and implemented research projects as graduate students on 1-2 of the topics covered, 2) replicate and extend the analysis of a research paper, and 3) write and workshop a short research proposal. The goal of these exercises and one focus of the class discussions will be to go “behind the scenes” of research on the topics covered.

I co-run the Contentious Politics Lab (CP Lab), a group of doctoral students working on dissertations related to protest, political violence, regime transitions, and anti-system politics with Juan Tellez at UC Davis. CP Lab participants meet every two weeks to workshop research in-progress.