Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students



Is it possible for the U.S. to create consolidated democracies? Should we just give up? Consolidated democracies have only been around for about 150 years. They have existed in a limited number of places in the world, mostly in North America, Western Europe, and East Asia. Human beings have been on earth for at least 100,000 years. 

There are three candidate theories that explain how we get consolidated democracies--modernization theory; institutional capacity; and rational choice institutionalism. Which is best? Which provides the best guidance for policy? What can we learn from Germany, Japan, Afghanistan and others? The United States has been very successful in some cases but failed miserably in others. Should we aim for consolidated democracy or just settle for good enough governance? Should we try to eliminate corruption entirely or settle for some kinds of corruption?

Meet the Instructor(s)

Stephen Krasner

Stephen D. Krasner is the Graham H. Stuart Professor of International Relations at Stanford, and a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute, the Hoover Institution, and at SIEPR. From February 2005 to April 2007 he was Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State. In 2002 he served as Director for Governance and Development at the National Security Council. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace, and was a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Board of the Department of State from 2012 to 2014. He received his B.A. from Cornell in 1963, M.A. from Columbia in 1967, and Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972. He served in the Peace Corps from 1963 until 1965 in northern Nigeria. Before coming to Stanford in 1981 he taught at Harvard and UCLA. He was the Chair of the Political Science Department from 1984 until 1991, Senior Associate Dean for the Social Sciences from 2010-2013, and Deputy Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute from 2007 to 2013. He edited International Organization from 1986 to 1992. His writings have dealt primarily with the political determinants of international economic relations, American foreign policy, sovereignty, and development. He is the author or editor of 11 books and more than one hundred articles. His most recent book How to Make Love to a Despot appeared in 2020. He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Science in 1987-88 and at the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin in 2000-2001. He has been a Mercator Fellow at the Free University Berlin. Professor Krasner is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.