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Comparative Historical Analysis

Member rate £492.50
Non-Member rate £985.00

Save £45 Loyalty discount applied automatically*
Save 5% on each additional course booked

*If you attended our Methods School in July/August 2023 or February 2024.

Course Dates and Times

Date: Monday 22 – Friday 26 July 2024
Time: 09:00 – 12:00 CEST

Daniel Ritter

Stockholm University

This course will introduce you to Comparative Historical Analysis (CHA) through a combination of lectures and discussions. Teaching will be interactive and centre on a mix of theoretical foundations, practical solutions, and dissection of key works in the tradition. The course cap is set to 16 students in order to foster a suitable environment for discussions and to ensure that attention can be given to each individual student.

Purpose of the course

By the end of this course, you will have a firm grip on what Comparative Historical Analysis is, how one goes about “doing” comparative history, and detailed knowledge of several key works in the tradition.

Upon completing the course, you will be able to design a comparative historical study in terms of posing relevant research questions or puzzles, identifying suitable sources of evidence, and weaving history and theory together into coherent and plausible explanations.

ECTS Credits

3 ECTS credits awarded for engaging fully in class activities.
1 additional ECTS credit awarded for completing a post-course assignment.

Instructor Bio

Daniel Ritter is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Stockholm University, specialising in revolutions and social movements. He received his doctoral training at the University of Texas at Austin and has held postdoctoral positions at the European University Institute in Florence and at Stockholm University. Prior to returning to Stockholm University in 2016, he was Assistant Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham.

He is the author of The Iron Cage of Liberalism: International Politics and Unarmed Revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa (Oxford University Press, 2015), Social Movement and Civil War: When Protests for Democratization Fail together with Donatella della Porta, Teije Hidde Donker, Bogumila Hall, and Emin Poljarevic (Routledge, 2018), and On Revolutions: Unruly Politics in the Contemporary World, co-authored with Colin Beck, Mlada Bukovansky, Erica Chenoweth, George Lawson, and Sharon Nepstad (Oxford University Press, 2022). In 2017, he was the recipient of Stockholm University's "Award for Good Teaching."

Key topics covered


Introduction to Comparative Historical Analysis: Origins, logics, and exemplars.


Key aspects of Comparative Historical analysis: Process tracing, path dependency, and theory building.


The comparative historical research process: A practical guide.


First book seminar.


Second book seminar.

How the course will work online

At the risk of sounding cliché (or, even worse, flaky), Comparative Historical Analysis is in many ways more than a method – it is an approach to understanding and analysing the social world. Furthermore, it is a craft. Unlike many other methods, there is thus no set of skills and techniques that, once mastered, will allow a researcher to do comparative historical analysis. Rather, each practitioner of the method must learn from the great “exemplars” that constitute the method’s canon.

Consequently, the course will combine interactive lectures that emphasise theoretical and practical components of the method with book seminars that dissect key contributions in the tradition. These will be delivered through Zoom. The instructor will also conduct live Q&A sessions and offer designated office hours for one-to-one consultations.

Prerequisite Knowledge

No particular previous knowledge is required, although students should come to the course having already read the course material and ready to fully engage with it. It will be assumed that students who have registered for the course have an interest in historical processes and theory building, both of which are central to the logic of Comparative Historical Analysis.

Learning commitment

As a participant in this course, you will engage in a variety of learning activities designed to deepen your understanding and mastery of the subject matter. While the cornerstone of your learning experience will be the daily live teaching sessions, which total three hours each day across the five days of the course, your learning commitment extends beyond these sessions.

Upon payment and registration for the course, you will gain access to our Learning Management System (LMS) approximately two weeks before the course start date. Here, you will have access to course materials such as pre-course readings. The time commitment required to familiarise yourself with the content and complete any pre-course tasks is estimated to be approximately 20 hours per week leading up to the start date.

During the course week, you are expected to dedicate approximately two-three hours per day to prepare and work on assignments.

Each course offers the opportunity to be awarded three ECTS credits. Should you wish to earn a 4th credit, you will need to complete a post-course assignment, which will involve approximately 25 hours of work.

This comprehensive approach ensures that you not only attend the live sessions but also engage deeply with the course material, participate actively, and complete assessments to solidify your learning.


This course description may be subject to subsequent adaptations (e.g. taking into account new developments in the field, participant demands, group size, etc.). Registered participants will be informed at the time of change.

By registering for this course, you confirm that you possess the knowledge required to follow it. The instructor will not teach these prerequisite items. If in doubt, please contact us before registering.