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Political Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Modernization and Mobilization in Eurasia

October 4, 2019 

Location: To Be Determined

This conference will focus on Professor Navid Hassanpour’s book project entitled Political Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Modernization and Mobilization in Eurasia.

During the past two centuries, the introduction of parliamentary and presidential institutions in traditional polities has often ended in mixed results: political modernization attempts were often interrupted by significant and long lasting institutional ruptures. Economic development and occupational transformations in traditional economies resulted in eras of transient electoral democracies and autocratic rule. Each of these episodes provide a fertile ground for testing hypotheses on the logic of political order: for example, why did Russia experience a revolution at the end of World War I, but similar attempts at initiating radical politics failed in Germany? Or why did autocratic stability in Iran failed to establish durable electoral authoritarianism prior to the 1979 revolution and after, while Turkish parliamentary politics increasingly shifted towards majoritarian rule after 2002? What are the elements of stability or dysfunction in the Chinese development trajectory?  In a comparative study of China, Iran and Russia in contrast to three shadow cases of Japan, Turkey and Germany, this project aims at elucidating a logic for the diverging paths of political organization in relation to institutional and historical legacies. Such a logic of democratic and autocratic breakdown has implications for ongoing political transformations of the popular rule in the Eastern and Western contexts.

Participation in the event is by invitation only