Research in comparative politics seeks to understand patterns that underlie political activity in different nations and regions of the world. This search for patterns covers a wide variety of political activity, examining globalization, political institutions, democratization, political participation, and local politics, to name just a few.
The individual faculty profiles listed in the sidebar help to give a clearer sense of our specific teaching specialties and research interests. We have particular strengths in the areas of emerging democracies, political behavior, social movements, political Islam, and comparative political economy. We cover many world regions including Southeast Asia, Western Europe, Russia, Africa, and East Asia.
Many of our students also do coursework with professors in other fields within our department and work with them in designing and completing their Masters theses and Ph.D. dissertations.
Several faculty members and many of our graduate students focus their studies on the challenges of emerging democracies. Our most distinctive feature is that several faculty members who teach primarily in comparative politics have a geographical focus on Southeast Asia. This regional emphasis reflects a tradition stretching back nearly half a century and the strengths of Northern Illinois University’s multidisciplinary Center for Southeast Asian Studies.
The Center is a Title VI institution which means that U.S. graduate students working on Southeast Asia and studying a regional language typically receive Foreign Language and Area Studiesfunding for their graduate educations.
Many of our former M.A. and Ph.D. students continue to work on issues touching on the region in a variety of fields, including dozens of government officials and professors in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.