INTL 5580: Politics of Development
This course will introduce students to the politics of those disparate – and often desperate - developing state-societies known as the "developing world." Rather than concentrating on particular geographical areas or state-societies, the course follows the contours of a truly interdisciplinary approach to the socioeconomic, political, and cultural issues shaping people's lives in the more than 140 state-societies that constitute the "developing world."
In the Millennium, it is critical to define issues in the Developing World from the perspective of Globalization- characterized by the whole world's increasing interconnectedness, particularly in regard to communications, economics, politics and cultures. The course will present the dynamics of the politics of the developing world by examining the histories, societies, politics and economics of country case studies; this course especially explores the contemporary developing world in the context of current global trends. Such trends include the political histories of the non-West, the north-south development dialogue, democracy and national governance, the environment, terrorism, human rights and human security and global governance.
The "developing world" encompasses a diverse set of 140 countries. Once referred to as the Third World, this group of countries was at one time a catchall category for countries that did not make up the wealthy, industrialized capitalist states (the "First World") or did not belong to the "Second World" made up of the Soviet Union and its satellites. As a result, the countries of the developing world encompass a variety of political systems, ranging from democracies to authoritarian regimes. They also include countries with vastly different levels of wealth and measures of human welfare. South Korea, for example, has an annual Gross Domestic Product per capita of $19,250 (U.S. GDP per capita is $30,600), while countries like Sierra Leone or Ethiopia have a per capita GDP of less than $700. Life expectancy ranges from the low to mid fifties in Nigeria and Ghana to over 70 in Mexico. Despite these dramatic differences, the developing world does share some important common features. Most were at one time colonies of one of the European powers. Most face conditions, such as extreme poverty, high rates of population growth, political instability and economic dependence on the industrialized countries of the northern hemisphere. They face enormous challenges in closing the economic gap between themselves and the countries of the First World, creating effective and legitimate governments, and in striking a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.
Why should we be interested in problems and prospects of the developing world? Most of the world is the developing world. Two-thirds of the world's countries and nearly 80% of its population live in the developing world. Furthermore, we live in an increasingly interdependent world, where events in one part of the globe have repercussions far removed geographically. The terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001 originated from a group based in the developing world. The Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, for example, sent economic shock waves around the globe. Solving international environmental concerns, such as global warming or maintaining bio diversity require cooperation of countries in both the "developed" and "developing" worlds. Most armed conflicts in recent years have taken place in the developing world resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees. For these and other reasons, it is important to understand the challenges facing countries in the developing world and their prospects for the future.
At the conclusion of this course students should have an appreciation of the diverse range of states that make up the developing world. Students should also be familiar with the major economic, political, and social challenges facing the developing world and the way these countries and the international community have addressed them.
The course explores various aspects of political, economic, social development and underdevelopment in the broad array of countries that make up the Developing World. It identifies the major challenges faced by developing countries and the strategies adopted to address them. In this course, the student will:
- Take an historical overview of the evolution of the Developing World countries in the context of world politics and the current trends of globalization.
- Have an in-depth understanding of the key fundamental theoretical frameworks used by scholars to understand development and underdevelopment.
- Explore some of the dominant issues faced by developing countries in both the current era and in historical perspective.
- Develop a solid comparative perspective on the political and economic systems of the Developing World and a good understanding of some of the main issues these societies confront today.
- Learn to think critically and analytically about politics of development and underdevelopment.
- Focus on the policy prescription and solutions before developing countries to achieve economic and political development and finally.
- Get an understanding of problems and policies of sustainable development and environmental issues.
Six basic issues will serve as the focus of attention for the course:
- Understanding the diversity of the developing world.
- Theories of development and underdevelopment.
- Political economy of the developing world.
- Issues of ethnicity, nationalism and conflict.
- Political development - issues of instability, corruption and change and social issues-gender, health, disease, environmental, population, rural change and urbanization.
Listed below are the long-term objectives you should be striving towards as a participant AND contributor in this course.
At the end of this course the students will:
- Explain and assess the process of colonialism and its impact on the developing world.
- Learn how countries around the world are classified on the basis of their economic and political development and underdevelopment.
- Understand causes and consequences of conflicts in the developing world.
- Be able to investigate social and environmental conditions in the developing world.
- Understand the key concepts of development and underdevelopment and use them to analyze and evaluate issues faced by the developing world.
- Explain and assess theories of economic development as they apply to the developing world, including modernization theory, Marxist-based theories, liberal economic theories and developmental state theory.
- Understand the issues and strategies developing countries use to successfully embark on economic, political and social development.
- Apply theories of democratic transitions to the developing world.
- Have the ability to analyze and evaluate current and historical events and issues in the developing world.
- Explain the causes and consequences of military intervention in politics.
- Describe and explain the problem of ethnic conflict in the developing world.
- Explain and assess the role of religion in Third World societies.
- Explain and assess the role of women in Third World societies.
- Be able to analyze and evaluate the role of international governmental organization, NGOs and other actors who play a key role in the development of the developing world
- Describe health, population and environmental concerns in the developing world and analyze the relationship between economic growth and sustainable development.
- Apply the knowledge they acquire from this class to an actual simulation using a comparative country case study.
- Conduct basic research using Webster's Passports and the Internet for the assigned country for the Simulation.
- Have a bachelor's degree and be willing to work independently at the graduate level.
- Students should have a general understanding of key historical events in world politics and the developing world.
- Students should be able to carefully articulate his or her position and provide sound analytical reasoning that will convince others to support their recommendations.
- Demonstrate graduate level composition and grammatical skills.
- Read current events in world politics on a daily basis using newspapers, magazines, Internet, TV or radio.
- You are expected to have some knowledge of world geography. To check your proficiency and to learn about the world go to Geography Challenge.
Please go to MBS Direct to find the appropriate textbooks for this course.
Please be aware when purchasing your textbooks that the International versions of the text may differ from the Domestic (North American) version required for your course.Click here for more information about textbooks for online courses..
The course will be conducted entirely online. Students are expected to participate in all course activities as assigned by the instructor. Course activities may include extensive reading, papers, presentations, discussions, quizzes, and/or group projects.
Webster University strives to be a center of academic excellence. As part of our Statement of Ethics, the University strives to preserve academic honor and integrity by repudiating all forms of academic and intellectual dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism and all other forms of academic dishonesty. Students at Webster University are expected to practice academic honesty.
Academic Dishonesty is unacceptable and is subject to disciplinary response. The university reserves the right to utilize electronic databases, such as Turnitin.com, to assist faculty and students with their academic work. Students in this class are governed by the university rules pertaining to academic misconduct/dishonesty.
You are responsible for participating and completing all requirements of this class - weekly assignments, discussion, simulation presentations and research papers in accordance with academic integrity and standards of ethics. The burden of proof in demonstrating academic integrity rests on you.
You have committed plagiarism if:
- You intentionally submitted any written or oral work done by someone else and represented that work as your own.
- Any portion of your work does not have proper citation.
- You asked someone else to write your paper.
Citation and Paraphrasing:
- You should not copy whole portions of text from another source as a major component of your papers or projects.
- When you quote an author you need to put it in quotation marks and provide full citation (name of author, name of book or article, place of publication, publisher, and year of publication, page number, and webpage address).
- You can paraphrase someone else's ideas and writings but you still need to cite the original source. You need to use footnotes or endnotes, and a full bibliographic reference. See style manual for proper citation.
Learn about Citation Styles at:
Penalty for plagiarism is assigning a "fail" grade and dismissal from the program and from the university. For further information about the consequences of academic dishonesty please consult the Webster University Student Handbook.
Accessibility & Accommodations Policy:
If you have a disability that may have some impact on your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations contact the Director of the Academic Resource Center.
This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.