David Waldner heashot

David A. Waldner

Associate Professor
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Politics
Office location and address
S263 Gibson Hall
Washington, District of Columbia 20001
Ph.D. Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

My teaching and research begin with investigation into the causes of different forms of state formation and the consequences of variations in state-building trajectories for economic development and democratization. Although I began my professional career as a specialist in Middle East politics, my current work includes material from Latin America, Africa, and Asia, as well. My empirical work raises questions about theory and method, questions that I explore in courses and papers about theories of comparative politics, qualitative methods, and the philosophy of science. My first book is State Building and Late Development. My two current book projects are Democracy and Dictatorship in the Post-Colonial World and The Philosophy of Social Science Methods. Recent papers include “Anti Anti-Determinism,” “On the Non-Institutional Origins of the Institutional Origins of Capitalism,” and “Inferences and Explanations at the K/T Boundary… and Beyond.” I regularly teach three graduate seminars: Qualitative Methods, Political Development, and Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship. For undergraduates, I teach Introduction to Comparative Politicss, Theories of Democracy and Dictatorship, and the Distinguished Majors Seminar.

AS-POLI Unwelcome Change: Understanding, Evaluating and Extending Theories of Democratic Backsliding
Source: Yale University
May 01, 2014 – April 30, 2015
PLCP 1010: Introduction to Comparative Politics
Credits: 3
Provides a basis for understanding and explaining similarities and differences in the character of political life as observed in different settings. Issues include the political role of parties and interest groups, management of political conflict, establishment of legitimate political authority, and the consequences of federal and unitary systems of government.
PLCP 4140: Democracy and Dictatorship
Credits: 3
Surveys and critically evaluates theories of origins of democratic and authoritarian governments, and the causes of subsequent transitions to, and away from, democratic regimes. Prerequisite: One course in PLCP or instructor permission.
PLCP 4410: Nation Building in Iraq
Credits: 3
Intensive study of America's role in the political and economic reconstruction of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Analysis of the nation-building project in historical (earlier efforts at Iraqi nation-building) and comparative (earlier American efforts at occupation-based nation-building) perspective.
PLCP 4500: Special Topics in Comparative Politics
Credits: 3
Intensive analysis of selected issues and concepts in comparative government. Prerequisite: One course in PLCP or instructor permission.
PLCP 5993: Selected Problems in Comparative Politics
Credits: 1–3
Independent study, under faculty supervision, for intensive research on a specific topic. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
PLAD 7090: Research Methods and Design in Political Science
Credits: 3
Studies the theoretical formulation of questions for political science research and examination of the design and execution of empirical research. Includes consideration of developing hypotheses for research, strategies for data collection (survey research, observational methods, content analysis), managing research projects, and ethical considerations related to the conduct of research.
PLAD 8120: Qualitative Methods
Credits: 3
Examines strategies for establishing correlation and causation when a small number of cases precludes use of statistical methods. Procedures for employing case studies to develop and test theories. Surveys the major procedures for analyzing small numbers of cases and explores how different research designs can be used to produce valid conclusions.
PLCP 8140: Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship
Credits: 3
Analyzes the major theories explaining transitions to democratic regimes and their consolidation or reversion to authoritarian regimes. Case material is drawn from the 19th and 20th centuries from all regions of the world.