Integrating Knowledge, Skills, Experience
- Our Approach
- In the Lab
- In the Class
- In the Field
Teaching is an integral part of the Poverty, Violence and Governance Lab. From analyzing large crime and victimization databases to conducting survey experiments or Randomized Controlled Evaluations, our team uses the most advanced tools in social science to answer policy-relevant questions. The lab environment fosters interdependence between the faculty, who teach and challenge students, and the students, who question and challenge faculty. Students learn to apply their technical skills and knowledge to solve real-world problems.
In the Lab
The Poverty, Violence and Governance Lab offers our students the opportunity to become immersed in the process of discovery through observation, exploration, and problem solving, while working cooperatively and interdependently as a team.
The informal, unstructured atmosphere of the Lab tends to promote curiosity and discourse, motivating the team toward discovery and the chance to practice science the way that professionals do. Our student researchers are also able to gain mastery through hands-on use of disciplinary tools and techniques, such as analytical software applications like R, STATA, geographical information systems and web-scrubbing tools.
The Lab familiarizes students with the world of science and the rigors of investigation. Our Lab can be among the richest experiences students will have at Stanford, developing practical skills, substantive knowledge and scientific understanding.
In the Class
Courses taught by the faculty of the Poverty, Violence and Governance Lab are designed to introduce students to governance challenges in developing countries and to deepen students’ understanding of the political dynamics driving failures in political institutions, the rule of law, law enforcement, and the provision of basic public services, with an emphasis on Latin America. Courses include:.
POLISCI 247G: Governance and Poverty. Poverty relief requires active government involvement in the provision of public services such as drinking water, healthcare, sanitation, education, roads, electricity and public safety. Failure to deliver public services is a major impediment to the alleviation of poverty in the developing world. This course will use an interdisciplinary approach to examining these issues, bringing together readings from across the disciplines of political science, economics, law, medicine and education to increase understanding of the complex causal linkages between political institutions, the quality of governance, and the capacity of developing societies to meet basic human needs. Conceived in a broadly comparative international perspective, the course will examine cross-national and field-based research projects.
POLISCI 248S: Latin American Politics. An advanced advanced seminar on the political economy of Latin America during the 20th century, the course is divided into three thematic parts. The first part will examines the histrorical sources of poverty and the quality of institutions. The course also discusses the various development strategies pursued in the region until the present. The second set of themes focuses on the causes of dictatorship, democracy, democratic instability, and political violence. The last part of the course focuses on contemporary issues, including the functioning and quality of democracy, elections and distributive politics, formal and informal institutions, the surge of criminal violence.
PoliSci 144T: Democracies and Dictatorships. Social scientific findings and debates; cross-sectional approach. What accounts for the emergence of democracy; under what conditions are democracies stable; why are so many developing countries ruled by dictators; why do rulers who destroy their own societies survive for so long; and what accounts for the variation, performance and breakdown of autocratic regimes?
PoliSci 440A: Theories in Comparative Politics. Required of Political Science Ph.D. students with comparative politics as first or second concentration; others by consent of instructor. Theories addressing major concerns in the comparative field including nationalism, the state, revolution, political regimens, ethnic politics, political violence, and quality of government.
PoliSci 440D: Workshop in Comparative Politics. Faculty, guest speakers, and graduate students conducting research in comparative politics present work-in-progress. Graduate students may enroll for up to 5 total units apportioned by quarter. Auditors welcome. Graduate students whose major or minor field is comparative politics must make at least one presentation to the seminar.
In the Field
Student trainees are expected to have a demonstrable interest in global problems, familiarity with social science research, and a strong grasp of statistical analysis and quantitative methods. In the field they are trained to conduct qualitative work and are also exposed to experimental research, and they learn about cost-effective fieldwork, managing and securing data, working on a team, and considering common ethical issues.