Department of Political Science


POLS 362 Prof. D. King

Fall 2004 ZH 405; 753‑7054

T,Th 9:30 DU 459 []

Office hours: Tue. 11:00‑12:00 Fri. 1:30‑3:00

 Teaching Assistant: Sunny Tanuwidjaja []


This course provides you with the opportunity to become familiar with issues and problems pertaining to that group of countries that contains three‑quarters of the world's population‑‑the rather imprecisely defined Third World or Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs)‑‑and to provide you with tools (e.g. concepts, theories) and knowledge to analyze the processes of economic and political change within those countries and between them and the larger international system of which they are a part.

The salient feature of these countries is that poverty and low levels of living are a fact of life for most of their peoples. Hence, understanding their poverty, including attempts to overcome it (economic development), is key to understanding politics. At the same time, in almost all LDCs, there are significant sectors that are highly modernized and wealthy. (Indeed, the way of life for some is more modern and luxurious than the "average Midwestern American" is accustomed to.)

We will find that often wealth generates poverty causing us to ask, how is it that the very source or solution to the problem of poverty is itself the very vector than promotes and expands it? What factors help to account for the disparity between rich and poor groups within a nation? Why does this gap persist? The human condition is a study of poverty amidst plenty and it behooves us to understand why, as well as to explore what policies might be pursued to relieve and to remedy this situation.

We will also see that the development processes in LDCs cannot be analyzed realistically without also considering the role of economically advanced or more developed nations (MDCs) in directly or indirectly promoting or retarding the development of LDCs. Indeed, as our planet shrinks with the spread of modern transport and communications, the futures of all peoples on this small planet are becoming increasing interdependent.


Class Formats

Class time will be structured using a variety of activities. Most classes will have a lecture component which will be focused on the assigned reading for the week. We will also spend a good portion of our time discussing case studies, current events, a couple of videos and a simulation. The class will be conducted interactively, which means that your questions and comments about the readings, lectures, cases and videos are encouraged and always welcome, but "talk" during class time is not.

Case Studies

We will take advantage of the succinct discussions of six cases (countries) featured in our text: Mexico, Peru, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Iran, Turkey, China and Indonesia. We will form interest groups around each country and you will be assigned to participate in one of them. We will break out into these groups for discussion occasionally. And in the final exam, you will be required to compare your case with at least one other.

Current Events

To keep the course up to date, we will track and discuss important (relevant) current events throughout the semester, especially those occurring in one or more of our six cases. You are expected to scan daily a printed or on‑line newspaper with a reputation for quality, international reporting (e.g. The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune) and to read the latest articles on political and economic happenings involving developing countries, including U.S. policies effecting them. We will allocate about 15 minutes once a week to a "current event moment" in which you will have the opportunity to share with the class something you have read. (If you are shy about oral class participation, bring the event to my attention after class.)

Course Reading

One required, paper‑bound textbook is available for purchase in local book stores: December Green and Laura Luehrmann, Comparative Politics of the Third World (2003). As most of our reading assignments will be taken from this book (text), it has not been placed on Reserve in the Library. You are expected to obtain your own copy and to have read the assignment before its scheduled discussion in class. Some additional course readings will be provided in the form of handouts as we go along (but see No. 6 under "Miscellaneous" below). You are urged to obtain a looseleaf notebook for the orderly filing of course materials.

You are also required to read one the following books of your choosing and to write a review of it (more details on this assignment below):

Carter, Jason. Power Lines (National Geographic, 2002) [DT 1738.C36 2002]

Chua, Amy. World on Fire ( Doubleday, 2003) [HF 1359.C524 2003]

Hartmann, Betsy and Jim Boyce, A Quiet Violence [HN 690.6.A8H37 1983]

All three books are owned by the NIU Library and have been placed on reserve. However, a limited number of copies of all three books have been ordered and should be available for purchase at local book stores. (You may also obtain any of them through interlibrary loan.) It is highly recommended that you decide which book you prefer to review, obtain a copy of it and begin reading as soon as possible.

Graded Requirements

A. Class attendance and thoughtful, oral participation (15%+10%). Components include:

1. Class attendance is required and will be monitored every session (15%). At the end of the semester, the total number of class meetings is divided into the number of times a student was present. The resulting percentage is then converted to a letter grade. Missing class no more than once will result in an "A" for this portion of the participation grade and missing ten or more classes will result an "F".

2. Substantive (i.e. relevant, thoughtful) oral participation in class discussions and the quality of analysis and reporting by your country interest group. (10%)

B. A book review of one of the previously mentioned three books. (20%)

The review should be around 8 pages (1800 words) in length and is due November 18 (week 13). (More directions for writing the review are given below.)

C. Written examinations. Two mid‑terms (one hour) exam, tentatively scheduled on October 7th (week 7) and October 28 (week 10) which will each count 15% of your course grade. One final (two hour) exam, scheduled on Thursday, December 11, 10 a.m. (week 16) which will count 30% of your course grade. The exams will consist of a combination of short essay/identification and longer essay questions. A study guide will be distributed before the final exam.

Components of Final Grade

A. Attendance and participation = 25 %

B. Book review = 20 %

C. Mid‑term exams (2 X 15 %) = 30%

D. Final exam = 25%


A. Makeup exams will only be given in extraordinary circumstances. If such circumstances arise, please contact me as soon as possible and before the scheduled exam. To keep the process fair for everyone in the course, students may be asked to support requests for makeup exams with documentation. A missed examination without prior notification and a documented excuse will result in a zero and a grade of "F" as opposed to an incomplete.

B. Students with disabilities. The instructor recognizes that some students require special testing environments because of documented physical and learning disabilities. If such arrangements are necessary, you must inform me early in the semester; please do not wait until exam time.

C. Late assignments will be penalized by a deduction of one‑half letter grade per 24 hour period or fraction thereof. Since students will have had several weeks to complete their work, this standard will be waived only in extreme circumstances.

D. Submitting assignments. Assignments should be handed‑in to me personally, submitted to the course assistant, or given to a Department secretary in ZU 315 to be time‑stamped. Assignments placed under my office door or sent with a friend tend to disappear at times. If a student selects one of these modes of delivery, he or she does so at their own risk.

E. Extra credit assignments will not be given on an individual basis to raise final course grades. Like make‑up exams, such projects raise serious questions of equity. In the rare event such a project is made available, every member of the class will be given the opportunity to complete it.

F. Handouts, including study guides, are a privilege for students who attend class on a regular basis. No student is entitled to supplemental materials simply because they are registered for the course.

G. Incomplete requests. Such petitions will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances. The instructor reserves the right to ask for documentation to verify the problem preventing completion of the course by the normal deadlines. If the student does not present documentation from a university office or official, the matter will be left to my discretion.

H. Email. Please allow 24 hours during the week and 36 hours during the weekend for receipt and response.

I. Rigorous adherence to the statement on "Academic Integrity." The Undergraduate Catalog states: "students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university." The above statement encompasses the purchase or use of papers that were written by others. In short, members of the class should do their own work and learn the proper rules for quoting, paraphrasing, and footnoting. Here are a few simple rules about quotations, paraphrases and plagiarism. Learn them and practice them.

1. "When you copy the words of another, put those words inside

quotation marks, and acknowledge the source with a footnote."

2. "When you paraphrase another's words, use your own words

and your own sentence structure, and be sure to use a footnote

giving the source of the idea."

3. "A plagiarist often merely changes a few words or simply

rearranges the words in the source."

Source: Harbrace College Handbook, p. 407.

J. Class participation. I am committed to the principle of active learning. This means that learning cannot take place without students' active involvement in, commitment to, and responsibility for their own education. Hence it is important that students conduct themselves in ways that indicate respect for the learning community and the learning process. While it is difficult to specify precisely what this means in all cases, at the very least it entails coming to class on time and remaining in ones seat for the duration of the class period. Respect for the learning community and the learning process would normally also include requesting permission to speak and exclude persistent lateness, leaving the class room during class time, falling asleep in class, studying for another class, and reading a newspaper. Comments that are not relevant to the ongoing discussion, off the point, disruptive to discussion, insensitive to others, or attempt to dominate the discussion will not be rewarded.

I request that you try to sit in approximately the same place (facilitates our learning to associate names with real live people and quickly monitoring attendance).

Course Schedule and Outline

(week) (date) (topic, reading assignment to be completed in advance, study questions)

I. Dimensions of Underdevelopment, Poverty and Inequality

1   8‑24,26 A. Introduction to the course and problem of terminology

                B. Differences and similarities among LDCs. What are the problems facing them?

                Read: Comparative Politics of the Third World (text), pp. 1‑17

2.  8‑31        C. The Dimensions of Poverty and Inequality

     9‑2           Read: handouts and review, "Global Village of 1000 people." (text, pp. 3‑4; 107‑116


II. Historical Framework: the Making of the Third World

No analysis can escape history, least of all in the study of development. Without an historical approach, many of the forces structuring present inequities are either inexplicable or kept invisible by more superficial explanations. A historical approach also helps us surface unconscious historical assumptions. For example, by locating the origin of European hegemony in the 17th century rise of science, the ideas of the Enlightenment philosophes, and the ensuing Industrial and Democratic Revolutions of the 18th century, we have favored the ideal over the real. We have told ourselves a Eurocentric story that flattered our genius for invention and progress. It is not that the tale was false, but partial and one‑sided; it ignored the degree to which the capital accumulation of Europe and European‑dominated ex‑colonies was inseparable from their command of the lands, resources and labor of the rest of the people of the earth. It blinded and still blinds us to our place in structural realities that help to keep two‑thirds or more of that world in economic underdevelopment, notwithstanding the end of colonialism and our claims to facilitating development. Study questions:

How and why did Europe manage to conquer virtually the entire world? What if any factors aided the European conquest of these territories? How did each country attempt to free itself from Western domination? Why were some struggles less peaceful than others? Did the countries that became independent through the use of violence appear to have had an experience dramatically different than those that became independent through peaceful means? Since independence, what kinds of problems do all or most of these countries share? How different are they in the approach to these problems? Among the cases, what kinds of experiences have been widely shared since independence? What are some of the legacies of colonialism? How do the former colonial powers continue to influence the developing world?

3    9‑7 A. Historical Legacies

              Read: text , pp. 43‑68 and your case study (relevant pages in 69‑103

    9‑9 Case study: Senegal in Africa (video, "Roots of Hunger, Roots of Change")

4   9‑14,16 Linking concepts and cases


III. The International Economic System

Why is the gap between rich and poor widening rather than narrowing with time? And why do the majority of the world's countries continue to suffer from underdevelopment. Is this underdevelopment due to poor decisions made by the countries themselves? Or is it due to the position of these countries in the international economic system, a capitalist system that is dominated by rich countries and the organizations working for them?

After two decades of sacrifice and deteriorating conditions for the majority, is it right for developed countries to continue to insist that the neoliberal model is the only feasible path to development? Are neoliberals correct about TINA‑is there really no alternative?

5   9‑21    A. Globalization, Read: text, pp. 116‑138

     9‑23    B. Structural Adjustment,  Read text, pp. 139‑158

6   9‑28    C. Alternative Approaches to Development, Read text, pp. 159‑166

     9‑30     Linking concepts and cases, Read: Your case study (relevant pages in 167‑184)

7   10‑5     Linking concepts and cases, continued


IV. Politics and Political Change

What are the main sources of discord and how are they expressed? In what ways is conflict expressed differently in the countries that we are studying? Do you observe any significant differences between the states that were established via revolutionary or liberation wars and those that were not? What has been the effect of catastrophic violence in the countries that have experienced it? How do you think the power and role of the military in each of these states impacts the operation of government or the expression of dissenting opinion? What legacies of past conflict can you observe in these states at the beginning of the twenty‑first century? Do you believe any of the countries that we are studying are ripe for revolution? How would you compare governments' responses to revolutionaries or perceived insurgents? How do you explain why some people believe violence is the only solution to their dilemmas?

8 10‑12    A. Violent Paths to Change,  Read: text, pp. 244‑279 and your case study (relevant pages in 280‑299)

   10‑14 Linking concepts and cases

9 10‑19, 21  B. Political Transition and Seeking Democratic Change, Read text, pp. 301‑342 and your case study (relevant                      pages in 343‑357)

Where is your case located on the continuum from consolidated liberal democracy to authoritarian regime? Why do you place it where you do? Why do you think some countries are taking the reformist route while others reconfigure? What are some of the ways government leaders attempt to hold on to power? To what extent have the military, economic hardship, and the existence of pluralism complicated transitions, or consolidation? In which cases has the population appeared to choose the order provided by authoritarianism over the instability associated with democracy? What are the major supports and constrains for democracy in each country? Where have the constraints become crises, and which are the most prone to disintegration? Which governments are suffering from the worst crises of efficacy? Have they been able to overcome these problems? What are some of the ways countries have attempted to undo decades of corruption? Of those that have made the most progress toward democracy, what was the secret of their success? Conversely, how are the reconfiguring regimes faring now? Which of the case studies have made progress at deepening democracy? In what ways are they accomplishing this?

10 10‑26 Linking concepts and cases


V. Global Challenges and U.S. Policies

11 11‑2   A. The Role of International Organizations, Read text, pp. 361‑391

What are some of the issues that these organizations have tackled? Have groups organized independently of governments been more or less effective? Do problems that cross national borders demand an international response? Are other countries justified to take action, in the name of promoting human rights? What if the problem is confined within the boundaries of a single state? How should the international response be coordinated, implemented and monitored? What degree of suffering (or what particular types of behavior) warrants a response from others? Under what conditions is international action justified? Who has the legitimacy to carry out such actions, through what mechanisms, and with what precise objectives? Is unilateral action, undertaken by a single state or group, justified as long as it is in the name of humanitarian needs? Does a multilateral approach, involving the coordinated effort of multiple governments, necessarily make an action more legitimate?

     11‑4     B. Global Challenges and Responses, Read text, pp. 392‑408 and your case study (relevant pages in 409‑425)

12 11‑9 Linking concepts and cases

     11‑11 HIV/AIDS ,  Video clips from UN conference in Johannesburg (2002)

13 11‑16,18   U.S. Policies Toward Third World and Third World Views of the U.S.A.

                      Read: text, pp. 427‑433 and your case study (relevant pages in 434‑449).


14 11‑23 Third World Views of the U.S.A., Read: text, pp. 453‑455

     11‑25    Thanksgiving break, no class.

15 11‑30 Simulation

     12‑2   Review and course evaluation

16  12‑9 (Thursday), FINAL EXAMINATION, 10:00 a.m.




A good review provides a summary and a discussion of many of the following aspects (some questions may be more or less applicable depending on the type of book).

1. Summary of the book (approximately one‑half of the review): Briefly stated, what is the main argument of the book? What does each chapter, respectively, contribute to the main argument? What are the supporting/secondary arguments? Can any of the analysis/arguments about politics be specified in the form of hypotheses, i.e. "If....then..." statements identifying independent, (possibly) intervening, and dependent variables using only common nouns.

2. Analysis and assessment (approximately one‑half of the review) :

a. To what academic or political tradition is the book relating? Are certain schools of thought and/or methodological approaches being attacked? ‑supported? ‑developed? How does the book relate to other (e.g. required) readings in our course? What issues in our course are being illustrated/supported/attacked in the book?

b. What are the internal weaknesses of the argument (inconsistencies, illogicalities, failure to account for contradictory evidence)? If the argument(s) is (are) not well supported, what kind of evidence would be needed to better support it (them)?

c. What questions has the author failed to raise that should have been raised? Can any other explanation(s) for the data be offered?

d. Why has the author written the book in the precise way which he/she has? Why have some questions been raised and not others? Some answers given and not others? What academic or political biases and predispositions has the author brought to the work? What assumptions are implicit in the approach of the book?

e. What have published reviews said about the book? Do you agree? Why or why not?

Remember that concise writing and presentation will be valued over verbosity. Direct quotations should be followed by page number in parentheses. Avoid quotations over four lines in length. Your review should be original, although published reviews should be consulted and you may cite/briefly quote them provided you give proper attribution (including listing in a bibliography).