Fall/Winter Timetable

POL2392H1S L0101

Undergraduate Course Code: POL492H1S L0101

Topics in Comparative Politics IV

The Rule of Law in Developing Countries

Course Description

Selected issues in comparative politics. Varies from year to year.


This advanced seminar is devoted to the exploration of patterns of social ordering in the developing world. We will start with the analysis of the concept of the rule of law. We will discuss what is law, why people obey the law, and how do societies govern themselves in the absence of strong state legal institutions. We then proceed with discussion of how to measure law and order. We will discuss the relationship between law and colonialism, co-existence of state law with customary and religious legal orders, the functioning of law under the authoritarian governments, and the patterns of social ordering during armed conflict and its aftermath.


Arjona, Ana. Rebelocracy. Cambridge University Press, 2016; Ginsburg, Tom, and Tamir Moustafa. Rule by law: the politics of courts in authoritarian regimes, 2008; Hendley, Kathryn. Everyday Law in Russia. Cornell University Press, 2017; Hussin, Iza R. The Politics of Islamic Law: Local Elites, Colonial Authority, and the Making of the Muslim State. University of Chicago Press, 2016; Popova, Maria. Politicized justice in emerging democracies: a study of courts in Russia and Ukraine. Cambridge University Press, 2012; Massoud, Mark Fathi. Law’s Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan. Cambridge University Press, 2013; Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick. Informal order and the state in Afghanistan. Cambridge University Press, 2016; Tamanaha, Brian Z. On the rule of law: History, politics, theory. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Format and Requirements

One two-hour seminar per week; active, informed participation in discussion (25%); book review (25%);a term paper or a grant proposal, about 15-20 pages, due at the end of term (50%)