Prerequisites: V 1501 or equivalent One of the key contemporary challenges for democracy and development across both the developing and developed worlds is urban violence. From urban gangs to paramilitaries to vigilantes to citizen defense committees, the city is increasing a key setting for a range of armed actors that engage in equally diverse forms of criminality and the exercise of coercive force. Major cities throughout the world thus lead two lives: as control and command centers in a globalized (and urbanized) economy, and as the stages where the monopoly over the legitimate use of violence that Max Weber identified as a defining attribute of the state is contested on a daily basis. This course has two overarching objectives. The first objective is to examine and critically assess existing theories of the drivers, functions, and consequences of urban crime and violence. The second objective is to situate existing research within a broader range of classic and emerging political science research on state building, institutions, democracy, development, and conflict. The methodological emphasis of the course is comparative analysis, and therefore empirical material will largely draw on analyses of crime and violence in Latin America and Africa, and the United States. This course will introduce students to the key theories, debates, and empirical studies of urban crime and violence. Students who successfully complete the class will: 1. Acquire a broad knowledge of the theories and concepts used to analyze urban crime and violence. 2. Develop a theoretically informed and empirically grounded understanding of both historical and contemporary trends in crime and violence in major cities across Latin America, Africa, and the United States. 3. Draw linkages between news coverage of urban crime and violence and political science theories on a range of broader issues regarding state building, institutions, democracy, and development. 4. Use existing theories to analyze, assess, and present empirical data, both written and verbal. 5. Produce a major, original research paper that advances existing knowledge of the origins, dynamics, and/or consequences of urban crime and violence.