Learn Comparative Politics

The title: Learn Political Science via Poetry, Comparative Politics.

Rationale and scope: The poetry book is a creative compilation of the canons, or best works, of political science literature with respect to comparative politics. I wrote these poems as a learning device while attending the Ph.D. program at Wayne State University and preparing for comprehensive exams. Thus, graduate students enrolled in “Seminar on Comparative Politics” would be introduced via my short poetry book [links below]to dozens of influential works–and their main arguments–in a fun and poetic way (as Week 2 Reading).

I have already received emails from professors requesting that they share poems with their class, so I assume that the same works will be useful to different professors teaching the same material. Beware; the poetry is full of provacative surprises, hypothesis,and symbolism! Often, the poem takes place in a classroom—where the professor engages the students and vice-versa. Indeed, my Gadfly comments too! The conversations are rhythmic, witty, educational and thick. Imagination truly meets profound academic literature in an exciting and “new” way.    

Relates to other books on the topic that have been published recently: My poetry book(s) can be seen as a short meta-analysis of a sub-field (comparative politics), even though I admit that I focus on the canons and do not survey all the relevant literature. Further, by placing all the major arguments under one umbrella per topic (e.g., comparative politics), the reader may better notice future research needs.

Table of contents [poem titles with links] with descriptions [the academic works I creatively analyze]:

Our Divides Shape Our Destiny: This begins an analysis of Deegan-Krause. 2006. New Dimensions of Political Cleavage. Oxford Handbook of Political Science, eds. R. Dalton and H. D. Klingemann. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  I also integrate Posner. 2004. The Political Salience of Cultural Difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas Are Allies in Zambia and Adversaries in Malawi. The American Political Science Review, V. 98, N. 4, pp. 529-545.

Rational Choice and A Critical Voice: Bates, Robert. 1981. Markets and States in Tropical Africa. The Political Basis of Agricultural Policies. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. I transition to a detailed account of Green and Shapiro. 1994. Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory: A Critique of Applications in Political Science. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Interest Groups, Nested Games, and Common Pool Resources: I begin with Olson. 1965, 1971. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Harvard University Press. I move on to  Tsebelis. 1990. Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press. I finish with Ostrom. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Query Rational Choice Theory: Levi. 1997. “A Model, a Method, and a Map: Rational Choice in Comparative and Historical Analysis” in Comparative Politics, Rationality, Culture, and Structure. Lichbach and Zuckerman. Cambridge University Press. And then I transition to her updated version, Levi. 2009. “A Model, a Method, and a Map: Rational Choice in Comparative and Historical Analysis” in Comparative Politics, Rationality, Culture, and Structure. Lichbach and Zuckerman. Cambridge University Press.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Democracy: I start with Iversen. 2006. “Capitalism and Democracy.” In The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy, eds. Weingast and Wittman. Oxford: Oxford University Press. I transition to Lipset. 1959. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy,” American Political Science Review, 53: 69-105.

Without Repression, Without Riots: This begins an analysis of: Moore. 1966. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. Cambridge: Beacon Press.

Without Labor Clout, Democracy is Constantly Drowned: Rueschemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens. 1992. Capitalist Development and Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Does Economic Development Cause Democracy? Przeworski and Limongi. 1997. “Modernization: Theories and Facts;” World Politics. Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 155-183. I transition to Moore. 1993. Social origins of dictatorship and democracy : lord and peasant in the making of the modern world. Boston: Beacon Press. I transition to Lipset, “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy,” American Political Science Review (1959); and, Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981. World Politics (1997), 155-83.

Next Stop: Structure’s Impasse: begin with Lichbach and Zuckerman. 2009. Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture and Structure. Cambridge University Press. I transition to an analysis of Migdal. 2009. “Researching the State,” Chapter 7 in; Lichbach and Zuckerman. 2009. Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture and Structure. Cambridge University Press. I move on to: Skocpol. 1979. States and social revolutions: a comparative analysis of France, Russia, and China. Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press. Page 291.  I include Przerworski, Alvarez, Cheibub, and Limongi. 2000. Democracy and development : political institutions and well-being in the world, 1950-1990. Cambridge U.K. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Big Normative Questions and Rational Choice Analysis: This begins an analysis of Shepsle and Weingast. 1994. Positive Theories of Congressional Institutions. Legislative Studies Quarterly. V. 19, N. 2, pp. 149-179. I also integrate: Aldrich. 2011. Why Parties?: A Second Look. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. page 57.

Cultural Modernization According to Sequence: This poem is really an analysis of: Inglehart and Welzel. 2005. Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Buying Bread in the Midst of a Culture Shift: This poem is an analysis of: Inglehart. 1990. Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society. Princeton University Press.

A Sculpture of Culture:This is a creative analysis of: Ross. 2009. Chapter 6, Culture in Comparative Political Analysis. Found in: Lichbach and Zuckerman. 2009. Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press.

This table of contents covers the main areas of Structure, Rational Choice and Culture in Comparative Politics—in deep detail—which creates a poetry book for professors and graduate students to enjoy. I am working on a few more poems to round out this book (e.g., The Comparative Method, The Top 10 Things Every Comparative Comparativist Knows, Social Capital, and Civil Society). Importantly, the above mentioned poems are available on my blog for your review, as the titles are links to the actual poems.

My poems highlight the main points of the “canons” of political science within a certain sub-field. My political science poems have been well received by the academic community, as many emails from the authors of the original work that I turn into poetry have responded with much approbation. My poetry is specifically designed to be an excellent resource for graduate political science students (to quickly learn about the field)  and academics (to have fun teaching)–or to keep in touch with a different subfield than their practicing choice (i.e. American would read the Comparative Poetry as light reading).

A description of the intended readership: Political science professors and graduate political science students at research institutions across the world. There might be additional interest from teaching universities, community college professors, and political aficionados too.

Details of the proposed length of the book and its intended completion date. The book will be about 200 pages, especially if the authors of the academic works choose to comment on the poem (on the page before the poem begins—as an introduction to the poem). This book could be ready 1-3 months from time of agreement with a Press.

Brief credentials of the author: PhD political science candidate at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. Master of Arts in Teaching, Wayne State University, 2005. Bachelor of Arts, Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy, James Madison College at Michigan State University, 1999. Graduate Teaching Assistant, Wayne State (2010-present). Adjunct Professor, Montcalm Community College (2006-2009).

[DEAR REVIEWERs], thank you for considering my proposal and I look forward to your response! Email john.girdwood @ wayne.edu

***The target audience of this post is professors of Comparative Seminar I or II, Comparativists in general, and, [scholarly book] Presses (looking for that new, creative, and useful project).
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2 thoughts on “Learn Comparative Politics

  1. Pingback: Voting is a Public Opinion Survey for Political Scientists | Political Pipeline

  2. Pingback: Asunder: see “Field of Political Science.” | Political Pipeline

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