This course exposes students to ways in which power is exercised on ordinary people. It highlights rather unpleasant aspects of the state and reminds us that politics is often not simply a question of who gets what, but of control and domination. Ranging throughout the world, we will seek to recapture the human experience of politics, as described by scholars, novelists, and journalists and as seen through the eyes of people who have lived through extreme encounters with authority (e.g. state terror, apartheid, police interrogation, detention, conquest, attempted genocide). Many of the readings were selected to bring the student face-to-face with coercion in a way that middle-class Americans rarely confront. Some readings discuss altruism and "ways out" for people in difficult circumstances. Considerable attention will be paid to the complex relationships that link the powerful and powerless and to actions that are both more charged and less abstract than we usually discuss in political science courses.
Subfield: Comparative Politics