Foundations of comparative politics provides you with the key analytical tools to analyze and compare political systems and the development and functioning of democracies in particular. This is done using the research tools of ‘mainstream’ political science: theory driven qualitative and quantitative empirical research that seeks to describe and/or explain political phenomena. The course provides an overview and analysis of the core structures and institutions of political systems by examining the position of the state and studying its internal structures and functioning and its interaction with society. We examine these issues through the lens of populism as a worldwide phenomenon that helps us understand many of these developments. You are invited to write a small paper that further explores populism or any of its related phenomena. The course will devote explicit attention to foster your skills in doing research, in order to prepare you better for the Senior Projects later in your studies at UCR.