Comparative politics By: Kaleigh McGinn

When going through this presentation, I will be showing you all of the things that I have learned over the course of the semester. This class has done a lot more than just inform me about history and current politics, but it has helped to shape my political views. This class in particular has taught me to be especially skeptical of politics, history, and overall where and or who am I getting my information from.


  • What is comparative politics
  • Democracy and democratization
  • Elections and Representation: Proportionate vs Majoration role
  • Terrorism
  • War
  • Human Rights

Comparative politics

Comparative politics is interesting because instead of looking more at singular issues, comparative politics looks at how there are many places in the world, that have experienced the issue or currently experiencing the issue. It looks at what the country did to overcome this issue, and how their historical background may have gotten them there. When comparing countries it allows one to see the no country is the same. This then leads me to the point that, "what might work for one country many not work for the other." Historical background Information is helpful to better understand the issues to create a full formed option. One of the examples we used is class often referred to a lot is "how colonized countries flourish compared to countries that weren't colonized." Many of our topics would come to this topic. As this video talks about how many places where colonized it explains the injustices that happened and as a result, there are countries that are still suffering from the effects.

A good understanding of colonization is important because for many countries like the ones explained in the video, it has a large attribution to the issues they face in their country. Prior to this class I did not know much about colonization, but as I learned it changed my opinion about why some people just can't get along. This is what comparative politics has does for me, it made me think outside the box and maybe think of countries that are the exception, or why they are different. So when we did look at countries that flourished do to having a democracy, we took into consideration the factores that made them successful. This brings me to the point that there are many factors that can affect a country; because like I said earlier " What may work for one countries may not work for the other." This is how comparative politics is used is a discussion and how it used understand countries and the situations they face.

I have never realized how much comparative politics has already been part of my life. I began to notice this when I was one facebook. I follow many human rights groups, one of the issue I follow closely that they talk about, is universal health care in America. Of course, the other side of the argument is that "many European countries have universal health care for their people." I was reading through the comments and this was the common thread that I was seeing. I think the comparative perspective of the politics is important because it allows people to know what there are other way of doing; whether its effective or not, that's another story.

Democracy and Democratization

Initial Thoughts

Prior to this topic, I didn't understand the effects of democracy. Not only did I not know the effects of democracy but I did not understand all of necessary factors that are needed in order to help create a successful democracy (whatever that means). In class we talked about democracy possibly being the ultimate form of government. At the time I didn't necessarily understand the relevance of the question let alone why is was important. But as the course of the semester had gone on it became evident to me that in many parts of the world there are people who are fighting for a democratic future.

Class Discussion

On the top of democracy, we held a debate about the "Arab Fall or Arab Winter" By Howard K Wierda. During the "debate" one half of the class took a stance in support of the article while the other side (the boys) were to refute it. I liked this article a lot because with each category we thought if an example were we have seen this happen in history.

I not only liked this activity a lot, but I learned about from it. It is evident that in order for a democracy to be functioning there are some important key factors that will need to take place. I

After Thoughts

I have have a better idea of how governments make the rules and we are simply playing by their rules. Unfortunately we don't get to chose what kind of government we are born into. I think there could be a better form of government, but we haven't gotten there yet. I like the idea of democracy, the idea that people have the power. The only issue I have with this is that; if the people hold the portion of the power, why do fights for basic human rights take as along as they do (human rights being my example). In my eyes democracy is a great idea except that is inconvenient. I suppose it would be hard to make it perfect and that would be some sort of utopian world, but I do not think people under a democracy should have to advocate for certain issues for years. In other words, if there have been well established democracies that have rained for a long time. Then a system that would be more effective to make change more accessible. This is an issue for me because there are influences that skew the interest of the government. I believe a government should look out for its people, and if democracy is the best way of doing that then it is failing miserably in my eyes. Though I do believe a liberal democracy is the best is the best form of government.

Elections and Representation: Proportional Vs Majoritarian Role

Initial Thoughts

I did not really know to much about elections and representation. Through other schooling, I had learned that there were are many ways that politicians skew votes. Ones of the ways they did this was through gerrymandering.

After Thoughts

There are apparently multiple ways that votes can be expressed. proportional representation has its advantages similar to how mix representation can have its advantages. Through watching the mixed representation in the voting kingdom video multiple times, and class discussion I can under more about voting throughout the world. It was interesting to learn that there are other countries that use different ways of representing their votes. From the presentations were I was able to get a bigger picture of how different places such a India, have found ways to be efficient in their voting system.


Initial Thoughts

I will be honest, what I am about to say. I am not necessarily proud. When I thought of terrorism I directly thought about ISIS (this is a point I will get to later in my bio.) I suppose that was slightly naive of me because there is terrorism throughout the world. My generation has witnessed the horrible tragedy of September 11th and see how the country has go to war in counter. For me, this has been my only encounter with terrorism. With my history knowledge of latin america, I have learned how Latin America experienced a high terrorism stiken time. Groups like the Colombian drug cartels, FARC, and the shining path.

Shining Path in Peru

This unit, tied with war had the most impact on me. The stimulating discussions made me think about about the current state of war and terrorism. I was surprised to learn how terrorism takes shape all over the world. Defining terrorism and how extremist groups take part. Learning that a group may seem more extreme through media was shocking and helped to confirm that what way we receive information is very skewed.

Because of the discussions I realized that I only have a single image of what the Middle East looked like (the girl in class inspired me) this was due to selective media that had skewed my views of the actual situation, my mind began to believe that those countries are no more then their wars, that there could be anything more going on in those countries. These was of course naive of me think. These topics allowed me to look and realize there is a lot for to that region then just war and terrorism.

I was kind of surprised when we talk about the KKK in the perspective of terrorism. Prior I knew the KKK had endorsed Donald Trump. That was the fist I have heard of the KKk being relevant today. I don't think I would have ever put the two in the same context. But later throughout the discussion we started to define what terrorism is and its characteristics. By making that connection it slightly changed my perspective about terrorism. I now view terrorism more then just Al Qaeda or ISIS

The two topics terrorism and war were the two that impacted me the most. They were the two subjects that put into perspective of how small my world was. This was the first semester where I wasn't in any Spanish classes. This semester consisted solely of political classes. This is a change and it challege me to think globally. When talking about these topics and listening to one of the girls talkabout how she has been impacted. Listenin to the emotion in her voice when she talked it inspired me to look into these topics. Some of the things she had said throughout the class that got them thing:

"War is what it is, until it starts to affect the lives of the elderly, women, and the education of children"
"Who are the ones that are funding the terrorist and allowing them to operate?

I started to educate myself a lot about Islam, ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. This really change my political views globally. Learning about these issues allowed me to come back to reality and remember that those people are more than those conflicts.

These were some of my notes about terrorism and war.


Initial Thoughts

Much of my knowledge about wars, were wars that have happened in South America. So many were independence and the separation of church and state related. But as I follow the news. I read a lot about refugees that are fleeing war during the time I was in Europe. Hungary, Austria, and Serbia, were closing there borders to syrian refugees. Following Germany was saying "sure we"ll take you, but only so many along with France. When I thought of war I thought about the innocent lives that have no part of the issues that are taking place.

After Thoughts

I have come to the conclusion that war is inevitable. While this seems rather negative. It would not be ridiculous to say that because of our capitalistic society, there is money to be made with war. As a result this allows to create a system that is never ending. In class we talked about how there is profit in war. Recently I followed Germany has been under scrutiny because they are one of the largest arms makers in the world. The gun companies recently with the conflict in the Middle East decided to change their trading deals. I feel more connect to the perspective that war can create a large displacement of people.

Being apart of this class allowed me to be able to have more knowledge to create more of an opinion about what has taken place. With war I wish they could be more done for the people that have to change their lives because of this. With war it is hard not to talk about refugees, we talked about the issues of people who found themselves spending months to years on end in refugee camps. This is just one the aspects that has stuck with me.

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights"

Human Rights

Human rights is an issues that I follow and have felt close to. I have felt close to advocating to human right issues in South America. My studies have really influenced me to be apart of the issue and stand up to progressive change. I thinew that throughout the world there are still many place that still do not see the fair rights that they deserve.

After Thoughts

It was really eye opening to compare how other parts of the world are experiencing human rights issues. I think one theme that we could find throughout this topic, is that there are many historical factors that take effect when talking about human rights. I worry and follow the issues with in the LGBT community in America. Many states still discriminate against the LGBT community. Seeing first hand how having rights taken away can affect someone I feel strongly that and people/ government in no way should infringe on others happiness or wellbeing.

Focusing on how time after time, there have been hundred of groups that have repressed minority groups throughout time.

Auto Biography

This was my first semester at UW Parkside. I transferred from the Community College of Lake County. I am a double majoring in International Studies and Spanish. I have been pursuing Spanish for the last five years had have grown to love the culture. In realist I became very interested in human rights issues with in South America. More importantly my old professor had thought about how people do not receive proper access to health care. My Professor worked in Mexico providing simple care to people who are not receiving proper care. Her work has influenced me to be involved and make a change the war my professor had. Ihis semester I removed from the Latin American world. I was forced to expand my political thoughts and apply them more globally.

As I talked about how I was really influenced by the terrorism and war sections I took it upon myself to learn more about the history and issues. In result I realised how I was viewing the world and people. I've been a swim teacher for the last 4 years. Through my job I am constantly in interaction with people of different ethnicities. Though my work parents are always nice and happy to explain some of their different tradition and customs. I now feel like I know more now, about the history about where people come from. during this semester the realization came to me that I had only been seeing certain issues from one side of the story. Like the women in the TED I realized that I was like her. This is kind of funny because I've seen this video 3 times. With this concept in my head I made the connection of the topics of war and terrorism that I was only seeing the Middles East as just a war stricken area. This proved to me how powerful media is. It brings to light that it is important to questions the information an realize the way it is being presented.

This is Misty & I. When I am not working or focusing on school I usually at the dog park :)


Created with images by diongillard - "Flags of the World"

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