I taught the following (advanced) undergraduate and graduate classes.

To get an impression of my teaching find video on a guest lecture (in German) here. Presentation during the Lecture on “The German Political System” at the University of Konstanz.

Advanced Readings in Comparative Politics

This seminar is designed to survey major topics and contributions in the field of comparative politics by focusing on the “original” writings. Moreover, we will contrast the classic approaches with newer research in the field. Thus, we will be able to outline the evolution of the discipline and develop a comprehensive map of comparative politics. Therefore, we will address questions such as: How does state and nation building happen? How can we classify political regimes? What characterizes the political culture of a nation? Why do some parties rely on patronage while other parties run on policy programs? In answering these and other questions we will summarize theoretical and empirical corner stones of comparative politics. We will begin with a broad overview of the field. Afterwards we will move our analyses to the macro-level by focusing on the state and nation building. This section will be followed by a meso-perspective on political mobilization and political culture. Finally we will adopt a micro-level view on the process of policy making. Each section will be coupled with an assessment of methodologies used in the respective research area. The seminar has four major learning objectives: First, students will internalize the theoretical diversity in comparative politics by explaining theories to each other and evaluating them together. Second, students will develop an understanding for the methods used in various areas of comparative politics and will be asked to apply these methods in their own work. Third, students will learn to contrast classic theoretical approaches with recent empirical findings, allowing them to better understand the complexity of comparative politics. Finally, students will be able to familiarize themselves with the English academic language.

The Comparative Analysis of Public Policy

Why do policies on education, immigration, or the environment vary greatly across countries, despite similar global challenges? Why are some governments more successful than others in solving particular policy problems? This course offers an advanced introduction to the comparative analysis of public policy to address these questions. Understanding public policy involves comprehending what governments choose to do or not do (description & explanation), examining the motivation behind their actions (analyzing causes), and assessing the resulting impact (understanding consequences). To achieve this, we will first familiarize ourselves with major theoretical approaches used to understand policy processes. Next, we learn how to apply comparative designs to engage in public policy analysis. Lastly, we will examine empirical examples from various policy areas and countries, including real-life policy concerns that you will bring to the class.

Comparative Legislative Research

Legislatures are the lawmaking branches of government composed of appointed, indirectly or directly elected representatives. Thus, analyzing legislative politics is decisive to understand developments in modern democracies. Throughout this seminar we familiarize ourself with the design, functions and working of the legislature, applying sophisticated theoretical approaches to gain practical insights into legislative politics. To understand the diversity in legislative research we draw on comparative examples across the European Union, the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament. First, we analyze the inner-workings of legislative bodies considering political implications of different institutional design of the legislature. Second, we consider legislative behavior and major functions of the legislature; such as, lawmaking, the budgetary role, confirming executive appointments, investigating the executive branch, and impeaching members of the executive or judiciary. Third, we put a major focus on the assessment of the relations between the legislature and other branches of government as well as society at large. The seminar concludes discussing future developments in comparative legislative research.

Judicial Politics in Comparative Perspective

This seminar provides an overview of research on courts as political institutions and judges as political actors. While Judicial Politics is an established subfield in U.S. political science, this area has only recently received increasing attention in European Comparative Politics. This seminar will look at legal institutions from a perspective of political science. You will learn different approaches to explain judicial action, and we will discuss judicial influence on the political system by means of different theories. Our considerations will always be applied to specific countries, cases and institutions. The aim of this seminar is to learn how to apply scientific methods and how to efficiently use comparative methods. You will also practice the use of English as scientific language. Furthermore, you will be able to systematically characterize different legal systems and to describe how the political system of a country and the action of the judiciary influence one another. After an overview, we first turn to an institutional comparison between the Anglo-American Supreme Court model and the model of European constitutional review. We then consider the (political) motivations of judges, discuss intra-judicial processes and the political limits of judicial influence. Finally, we discuss the possible influence of the judiciary on political processes and institutions. Furthermore, we take a look at possible future developments in judicial politics.

Moderne Demokratien im Vergleich

[Modern Democracies in Comparison]

Was ist eine Demokratie? Wie können wir demokratische Regime klassifizieren? Welche Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten gibt es zwischen demokratischen Ländern? Um diese Fragen zu beantworten, beschäftigen wir uns in diesem Proseminar mit der Entwicklung der modernen Demokratie im internationalen Vergleich. Dazu werfen wir erst einen Blick auf moderne Demokratietheorien; von der Elitendemokratie über die pluralistische Demokratie, bis hin zur Postdemokratie. Anschließend beschäftigen wir uns mit der Ausgestaltung unterschiedlicher Institutionen die Bürger:innenbeteiligung ermöglichen und demokratisches Regieren absichern. Schließlich vergleichen wir die Ausgestaltung der Demokratie in verschiedenen Ländern. Ziel dieser Veranstaltung ist es, dass Sie Grundlagenwissen über Demokratietheorien und demokratische Institutionen erlangen. Gleichzeitig werden wir wesentliche Methoden der vergleichenden Politikwissenschaft kennenlernen und anwenden. Schließlich werden wir, mit Blick auf die Techniken des wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens, das Verfassen wissenschaftlicher Texte üben.
Positive Politische Theorie zur Analyse politischer Prozesse

[Positive Political Theory in Analyzing Political Processes]

Dieses Seminar bietet eine Einführung in die Methoden der positiven politischen Theorie. Dem theoretischen Ansatz, der vor allem auf William H. Riker und die Rochester School zurückgeht, liegen zwei Aspekte zugrunde: Zum einen soll sich die Politikwissenschaft an stringenten und systematischen Methoden orientieren, wie sie etwa in der Physik oder der Ökonomie genutzt werden. Zum anderen liegt der Fokus der positiven politischen Theorie auf dem rational handelnden Individuum, dessen Motivation die Maximierung des eigenen Interesses ist. Der „Rational Choice Ansatz“ wird so Kernbestand der Theorie. Ziel politischer Positivisten ist es schließlich „gesetzesähnliche“ Vorhersagen über komplexe politische Prozesse zu treffen. In diesem Seminar lernen wir zunächst die Basisannahmen der Theorie kennen und beschäftigen uns mit (politischen) Handlungsproblemen. Anschließend entwickeln wir ein Grundverständnis für einige Methoden dieser theoretischen Richtung und wenden uns im Hauptteil ausführlicheren Anwendung zu, etwa dem erklären parlamentarischer und parteipolitischer Prozesse. Nach einer kritischen Auseinandersetzung und dem aufzeigen alternativer Theorien, schließt das Seminar mit neueren Überlegungen der positiven politischen Theorie. Ziele der Veranstaltung ist es bestehende Forschungsfragen der vergleichenden Regierungslehre vor dem Hintergrund der positiven politischen Theorie zu bewerten. Hierfür lernen Studierende vor allem die Grundlagen, aber auch Vorteile und Grenzen dieser Theorie kennen. Dadurch ist es ihnen möglich den positiven Ansatz anderen Theorien gegenüberzustellen. Die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse werden auf die Entwicklung eigener Forschungsvorhaben übertragen und gezielt in Referaten und Ausarbeitungen angewendet. Durch die Analyse bestehender Forschung werden die Studierenden darüber hinaus für die Methoden der vergleichenden Regierungslehre sensibilisiert.