There are three parts to this course as explained below.

Part I – Underdevelopment: We will study the politics of underdevelopment with a particular geographic focus on Africa. We will try to understand why some countries are perennially poor. We will discuss the technological levels of traditional (“pre-modern”) societies, the nature of predatory states, and the roles geography, war, imperialism, colonialism, neo-imperialism, and other international linkages can play in making it difficult for societies to escape poverty.

Part II – National Development: We will study some of the political factors that have been crucial to development success in the now developed countries (NDCs). We will begin by analyzing some of the attributes that may have allowed Western Europe to develop ahead of the rest of the world. We will also examine what contributed to the East Asian Miracle and how/why the countries that have developed have differed from those with less success in South Asia or Latin America. We will also explore the roles of political leadership, culture, religion, social capital, property rights, propaganda, public administration, and industrial policies.


Part III – Global Development: We will look at recent developments in international development over the last ten to twenty years (since 1990) particularly 1) the social democracy vs. neo-liberalism debate, 2) the sustainable human development paradigm, 3) the fourth wave of global democratization, and 4) the role of the international community in promoting the millennium development goals.



George B.N. Ayittey. 2005. Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa’s Future. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-32 (Chapter 1: “Why Africa is Poor”)

Atul Kohli. 2004. State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 291-366 (Chapter 8: “Colonial Nigeria” and Chapter 9: “Sovereign Nigeria”)

Joel S. Migdal. 1988. Strong Societies and Weak States: State-Society Relations and State Capabilities in the Third World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 3-41

Arturo Escobar. 1995. Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 3-54

William K. Tabb. 1970. The Political Economy of the Black Ghetto. New York: W.W. Norton, pp. 21-34

Walt W. Rostow. 1990 (1960). The Stages of Economic Growth: a Non-Communist Manifesto. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Douglass North. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 107-140

Robert Putnam. 1993. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press

Huntington, Samuel P. 1968. Political Order in Changing Societies. New Haven: Yale

Friedrich List. 1904 (1841). The National System of Political Economy. London: Longmans, Green, and Company, pp. 77-157




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