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Center for Democracy & Election Management


  • Center for Democracy & Election Management
    (202) 885-1527
    Fax: (202) 885-1366

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Courses & Seminars

Courses in areas related to democracy and election management are offered at American University at the graduate level. Focus areas include:

International Election Administration (online course)

Tihana Bartulac-Blanc | GOVT 696.004/496.004

The course is about how elections are managed internationally. The class discusses issues including systems of representation, election management bodies, and election operations, special voting populations, campaign finance, and election technologies. The course draws on examples and compares elections around the world focusing on topical elections to prepare students for international election careers.

U.S. Election Administration

Doug Chapin | GOVT-396

This course offers a basic review of the American system of election administration. Using legal, political, and media sources, the class discusses numerous current topics including voter ID, electronic voting, registration rules, and recounts.

Electoral Process

Louis Massicotte | GOVT 396.004/969.004

This seminar focuses on the legal framework of elections in a comparative way, covering electoral systems; redistricting; the right to vote and to be a candidate; voter registration; election officials; voting procedures; election adjudication; election observation; and referendums, initiatives, and recalls.

Democratization during and after the Third Wave

Susan Glover | GOVT-396

The Third Wave of Democracy (circa 1974-1994) brought about a sea change in the way scholars think about democratic transition and consolidation. This course looks at the history and aftermath of that period of political liberalization. The course gives students a solid base of knowledge about (post)modern democratization and the tools to analyze current trends and shifts in democracy in the less-developed world, including areas such as the former Soviet Bloc and the Middle East.

Comparative Federalism

Louis Massicotte | GOVT 396.006/969.006

This course examines federations contrasted with other kinds of governments, including a panorama of existing federations; why federations emerge and how they disappear; designing central institutions of governance; amending federal constitutions; financial aspects of federal unions; federalism and ideologies; and political parties in federations.

Governance, Democracy, and Development

Miguel Carter | SIS-647

Reviews classical and contemporary perspectives on democratic transition, consolidation, and the development of good governance, with special attention to the role of foreign aid. Analyses the role of civil society and social capital, considers the design of institutions such as constitutions, electoral systems, parties, and agencies of restraint, and also examines accountability, rule of law, and corruption.

Global Democracy and its Promotion

Daniel Calingaert | GOVT 396/696.005

This course explores the spread of democracy around the world over the past two decades and assesses the progress and challenges of U.S. and international efforts to promote democracy. These efforts range from global movements, such as the Community of Democracies, to U.S. government policy initiatives and to programs of civil society organizations to assist democratic transitions and consolidation. The course will draw on the literature and case studies of democratic transitions and on the rich experience of leading practitioners of democracy promotion from government and civil society.

Democracy and Elections: Twenty-first Century Challenges

Robert Pastor, Daniel Calingaert | SIS 051.N57

This two-week noncredit intensive course explores the comparative challenges of election management in the United States and throughout the world. Lectures by scholars and professionals, case studies, and team exercises focus on key aspects of electoral systems and on the influence of elections on democratic development.

Related Courses

Theories of Comparative and International Studies, Every term

Hector Schamis | SIS-672

Unlike the dominant tradition which divides comparative and international politics into separate areas of inquiry, this course bridges these two fields. Includes the rise of the modern state and its relation to historical capitalism and the nation; interactions between the state and the market; democratization and civil society; social movements; and global culture. Usually offered every term.

Peace Processes in Latin America

Chuck Call | SIS-696

Drawing on theory, case studies, and simulations this course explores peacemaking and peacebuilding in Latin America and Haiti to address questions such as why some armed conflicts in Latin America have been successfully negotiated while others have not; has warfare or its causes changed in the region; how sustainable recent negotiated settlements are, and how peace has related to justice and democratization.

Social and Political Movements, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Course offered alternate Springs

Todd Eisenstadt | GOVT-635

This course examines a range of social and political movements from a comparative perspective. It explores both theoretically and empirically the issues of political change, social movements, the religionization of politics, ethnicity and politics, nationalism, revolution, gender and political change, informal politics, non-state actors, transnational networks and movements and civil society.


The purpose of CDEM's Faculty Seminar is to provide a venue for AU faculty and visiting fellows to share information about their current research, to promote collaborations across disciplines and schools, and to develop ideas for possible courses on democracy and elections that could be taught at AU.

The Faculty Seminars also bring members of the Washington area NGO community, government officials and scholars from other institutions and think thanks to also join the discussion and share their insight on topics of current and mutual interest.

CDEM Faculty Seminar Meeting Agendas and Summaries: