The comparative politics program at the University of Pittsburgh uses theoretically and empirically informed analyses to address critical issues from around the globe.
While some of our courses (and research foci) cover countries and regions (including Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia), we emphasize building and testing theories to empirically answer substantive questions about domestic politics. Broadly we frame our work around institutions, behavior, and their intersection in order to address themes such as:
- the stability of democracy and authoritarianism
- the causes of political and economic development
- the roots of ethnic conflict
- the effects of aid
- the politics of identity
- political representation
- and the attitudes and behaviors (including, but not limited to voting) of citizens.
As a faculty, we value diverse approaches in terms of substance, methodology, and theory in order to provide students with a broad array of opportunities for learning and shaping their own views of comparative political analysis.
The Department benefits from the presence of five strong area studies programs at the University Center for International Studies: the Center for African Studies, Center for Asian Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, the European Studies Center, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, and the European Union Center of Excellence and the Global Studies Center.
All of these Centers are funded by the Department of Education and provide Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for foreign language learning. Other centers, and schools (including the School for Computing and Information and the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), as well as other Dietrich School Departments (such as History and Economics), support students’ methodological and thematic interests.
Finally, those who study Comparative Politics at the University of Pittsburgh will find opportunities based on the working relationships that the Department and University have with universities around the world that facilitate comparative research. Faculty members are also engaged in research on behalf of national governments and international organizations that help to enrich the content of teaching and open research opportunities for students.