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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sanjeev Khagram
SIS 330
Seattle Campus

Political Economy of Development

Growth, income distribution, and economic development in less-developed countries today. Policies concerning trade, industrialization, the agricultural sector, human resources, and financing of development. Prerequisite: either ECON 201, GEOG 123 or SIS 123, any of which may be taken concurrently.

Class description

What is development? What is underdevelopment? Why are some parts of the world -- across countries and within them -- developed and others underdeveloped? Did colonialism produce development or underdevelopment? Does culture matter? How are nation and state-building related to development and underdevelopment? Are states or markets, authoritarian regimes or democracies better at promoting development?

What is democracy and what factors promote democratization? What is the role of ethnicity and gender in development? What is globalization and what does it imply for development and underdevelopment? Why have non-state actors such as nongovernmental organizations, social movements, private-sector firms, multinational corporations, professional associations, become more central to development? How can a shift to sustainable human development be achieved?

This course aims to achieve three primary goals: 1) to introduce students to a range of contending perspectives that claim to shed light on the meanings and causes of development and underdevelopment, 2) to investigate the diverse real world experiences of development and underdevelopment from around the world and over history, particularly the last fifty to 100 years, and 3) to interrogate alternative visions, models, strategies, policies, projects, institutions and processes of development.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The emphasis of the course is on conceptual understanding, critical analysis and creative thinking not on details, memorization and regurgitation. Attendance and active participation in class are mandatory requirements. These will weigh heavily in student evaluations because the format of the course will be mixed lecture/discussion/debate. Each student will be required to complete one mid-term, one final exam and one group presentation. Additional shorter assignments will complement these core requirements.

Recommended preparation

Prior coursework in the social sciences (anthropology, economics, political science, sociology, etc.), geography and/or international studies is preferable but not a prerequisite for taking this course. The course is highly interdisciplinary and will be of particular interest to those students who want a comparative and global perspective on development and underdevelopment with a particular emphasis on the regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Class assignments and grading

Attendance and active participation in class are mandatory requirements. These will weigh heavily in student evaluations because the format of the course will be mixed lecture/discussion/debate. Each student will be required to complete one mid-term, one final exam and one group presentation. Additional shorter assignments will complement these core requirements.

Attendance and active participation in class are mandatory requirements. These will weigh heavily in student evaluations because the format of the course will be mixed lecture/discussion/debate. Each student will be required to complete one mid-term, one final exam and one group presentation. Additional shorter assignments will complement these core requirements.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 10/19/2005