The European countries that lie at the Southern flanks of the continent share common political, economic, and cultural aspects that set them apart from their Western neighbors. For instance, they consolidated their democracies later and, with the exception of Italy, joined the European Community around thirty years after its creation. This course will study the politics, society, and economy of Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece from a comparative perspective. First, the state structure, party politics, and electoral systems of the Southern European countries will be introduced. Second, the causes, policies, and the collapse of the interwar authoritarian regimes of Salazar, Franco, Mussolini, and Metaxas will be examined. In this context, special emphasis will be given to how democracy consolidated in Southern Europe. Continuing political problems, such as Basque nationalism in Spain, the Sicilian mafia in Italy, and the Muslim minority in Greece will also be discussed. Finally, the course will conclude with the entrance of the Southern European countries to the European Community, their policies and roles within the Union, and the effects of the EU on Southern Europe..