Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics:

Boston University has particular strengths in the study of Comparative Politics within both the developing and advanced industrial worlds.  Professor John Gerring writes widely on democratization and governance; he received a National Science Foundation grant to collect data related to his study of colonialism and long-term development, and spent a year at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study.

Our European contingent enjoys close ties with scholars across the pond.  Professor Cathie Jo Martin is absorbed by economic equality, and considers how the organization of employers may influence political coalitions for social solidarity.  She currently chairs the Council for European Studies and has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, the Russell Sage Foundation and the German Marshall Fund, among others.  Professor Vivien Schmidt studies the role of discourse in shaping national innovations in policy-making.  The past head of the European Union Studies Association, she was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford University and a visiting professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne.  Professor Sofia Perez studies immigration and the impact of European monetary integration on labor markets, particularly focusing on Spain and Italy.  She has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund, and the Wissenschaftszentrum-Berlin für Sozialforschung, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Spanish Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA).  Our resident Russian expert, Professor Walter Connor, has written widely on the post-Soviet transition and on public attitudes toward successive waves of Russian reforms.  He received fellowships from the Guggenheim and the American Council of Learned Societies, among others.  Professor Graham Wilson (whose work is described below) teaches in both the comparative and American fields.

Boston University has a vibrant group of scholars who are interested in our Latin American neighbors to the south.  Professor David Scott Palmer has written widely on guerrilla movements in Latin America and has spent multiple years in Peru, for example, as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer at the University of Huamanga in Ayacucho.  Professor Strom Thacker specializes on questions of political economy, governance and development (most importantly in Mexico) and spent a year at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.  Professor Kevin Gallagher has been funded by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations for his work on globalization, free trade, and environmental protection in Latin America.  He has also testified in Congress about the lessons provided by NAFTA on trade policy and development.  Professor Taylor Boas is deeply engaged in a study of political corruption in Brazil, for example, investigating the control of communication media and the exchange of corporate campaign donations for future government contracts.  He spent 2009-2010 as a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.  While a sociologist, Professor Susan Eckstein is a friend of the department who writes widely on immigration and urbanization in Cuba, Mexico, and Bolivia.  A former president of the Latin American Studies Association, Professor Eckstein has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute, the MacArthur Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies, among others.

Boston University political scientists are linked to an exciting network of Asian scholars across the university.  Professor William Grimes is our resident expert on Japanese and East Asian political economy. He has focused much of his research on Japanese macroeconomic policy and East Asian financial regionalism, and has worked in the Japanese Ministry of Finance, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and Bank of Japan. He lived in Japan as an adolescent and has returned there often, including twice as a Fulbright fellow.  He loves studying East Asian political economy because “it is changing so quickly.”  Professor Joseph Fewsmith studies the politics of reform, elite politics, and local politics in China.  He is a fellow of Boston University’s Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future, serves as an Associate of the John King Fairbank Center at Harvard University, and was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.  Professor Thomas Berger writes widely on international relations and Japanese and German politics, paying particular attention to issues surrounding militarism.  He received funding for his research projects from the Fulbright Program, Japan Foundation, and Sanwa Bank Foundation.  Professor Min Ye studies foreign direct investment policies and regional integration in East Asia.  She received a Visiting Fellowship from the Chinese Academy of Social Science and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Harvard University Fairbank Center.  Edward Cunningham, joining Boston University in the Fall of 2011, works on comparative political economy with a special focus on China, energy policy and sustainable development.

Our political scientists specializing in Africa and the Middle East enjoy a special relationship with the Boston University African Studies Center.  Professor Timothy Longman studies state -society relations in Africa, looking particularly at human rights, transitional justice, democratization, civil society, the politics of race and ethnicity, religion and politics, and women and politics. He has also served as an expert witness in several genocide trials.  Professor Eduoard Bustin has written widely on the politics of ethnicity and has lived in twelve African countries over the course of his career.  In addition to his many academic works, he produced reports on higher education and on democratization in Zaire for the Rockefeller Foundation and for USAID.  Professor Irene Gendzier has devoted her life to writing about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and problems of development.  She has spent time as a fellow at the Radcliffe Bunting Institute and at the Oxford University Center for Lebanese Studies.