I work in the subfield of Comparative Politics, in which we explain relationships between social, economic and political variables while focusing on politics within countries. It is different from International Relations, which focuses, instead, on politics between countries. We use cross-national comparisons to understand why political systems are free or not free, violent or peaceful, stagnant or productive, and so on. Some of my research, for example, explains why media freedom has declined recently in several Latin American democracies, but not in others.
Politics in New Democracies is one of my favorite classes that I offer at Waseda. I build upon my expertise in Latin America to help students understand politics in the new democracies that interest them, including countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. And with students from different countries contributing to class discussions, each one of us deepens our understanding of politics around the world. I place tremendous value on this intangible aspect of university education, that cannot be found in books or online, which is created through diversity in the classroom.