The University of Mississippi
Spring 2008, Monday 13:30 - 16:00, 131 Deupree Hall
Instructor: Dr. Gang Guo * Office: 128 Deupree Hall * Telephone: (662) 915-5419 * e-mail: gg at olemiss dot edu
Office hours: by appointment
Course Overview Course Schedule Course Blog References Online Resources

Course Overview

This graduate seminar covers a wide variety of topics associated with political parties, party systems, and elections. It introduces students to a core selection of texts as well as some more recent developments on the comparative study of political parties and elections. While the classic literature in this subfield focuses mainly upon the advanced industrial democracies in Western Europe, we shall also broaden our scope to investigate these topics in many different types of settings. For example, with the transitions to democracy across the world numerous questions are beginning to be addressed for the first time in countries outside of Western Europe. How do these new cases affect the generalizations built upon the European parties and elections?

There are many different theoretical and methodological topics that we will discuss during this semester. In order to cover as many materials as possible, a division of labor is required. All students will read a certain amount of material in common as indicated on the syllabus. Besides, every week one student will prepare a 3-page annotated bibliography of additional readings on the topic for that week. The annotated bibliography and a short 10 minutes presentation of it during class account for 20% of your course grade.

In addition, every week a 3-page paper is required from each student, except the one who prepares that week's annotated bibliography. The paper should review and evaluate all (or almost all) of the week's readings, focusing on some of the key concepts, assumptions, major arguments, debates, methodology, measurement issues, substantive contributions, and/or empirical or theoretical implications. The papers will constitute 30% of your final grade. The paper and the annotated bibliography should be posted on the course blog by the Sunday afternoon before each class. Seminar participation for all students will constitute 20% of the course grade.

Finally, there is a research design that will account for 30% of grade. You should approach this research design as the "front half" of a journal article, including a literature review, theory, methodology, and discussion of data sources. Ideally, your research design would make a contribution to the current debate in one of the many research programs in the comparative study of parties and elections. On April 21, each student will present his or her research design in class so that comments, suggestions, or criticism can be given for the final revision. The final research design paper is due at noon on Monday, May 5.

The following books are used in their entirety (or almost so) in this course:

The rest of the readings are available either on this course website or at the University of Mississippi libraries website.

Course Schedule

MonthDateTopicRequired ReadingsBibliography byBP Award
January28IntroductionWare 1996:1-13; Caramani & Hug 1998; Daalder 2002:39-57; Montero & Gunther 2002:1-35; Webb 2002:1-15; Reiter 2006
February4PartiesOriginMair 1990:25-45; Aldrich 1995:28-64; Gunther & Diamond 2003AlysonGinger
11IdeologyWare 1996:17-62,124-133; Bohrer et al. 2000; Imbeau et al. 2001; Kim & Fording 2003BridgetAlyson
18MembersMair 1990:37-60; Ware 1996:63-92,134-138; Muller & Katz 1997; Mair & Biezen 2001; Seyd & Whiteley 2004GingerBridget
25OrganizationsWare 1996:93-123,139-143; Koole 1996; Katz & Mair 1996; Wolinetz 2002DanielChris
ClassificationMair 1990:285-349; Ware 1996:147-183; Bogaards 2004ChristopherAlyson
17DifferencesWare 1996:184-212; Coppedge 1998; Kriesi 1998AlysonBridget
24(In-)StabilityMair 1990:218-246; Ware 1996:213-244; Roberts & Wibbels 1999; Scotto et al. 2004GingerAlyson
31EmergenceMiller et al. 2000; Sitter 2002; Zielinski 2002; Mozaffar et al. 2003ChristopherAlyson
ClassificationLijphart 1994:10-56; Norris 2004:6-84BridgetChris
14ConsequencesLijphart 1994:57-138; Carey & Shugart 1995; Amorim Neto & Cox 1997DanielGinger
21presentation of student research design
28ChangesTaagepera & Shugart 1989:201-237; Lijphart 1994:139-152; Boix 1999; Benoit 2004


Online Resources