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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nicole F. Watts
SIS 456
Seattle Campus

State-Society Relations in Third World Countries

Relationships among political, social, and economic changes in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Problems of economic and political development, revolution and reform, state-society relations, imperialism and dependency. Offered: jointly with POL S 450.

Class description

States-society relations in the developing world tend to be best known for their levels of violence and for the failure of states in such countries to supply members of their societies with economic and personal security. This course examines the sources of such problems as well as the ways states and society in developing countries have attempted to overcome them. In particular, we will seek to place our study of developing countries within historical frameworks that help us understand the various historical, global, and cultural forces that have produced particular kinds of states in different places. We will look at the legacies of colonialism for postcolonial states, at how different kinds of state formation lead to different types of state-society relations, and at the ways in which state-society interactions have modified state projects. The class will conduct in-depth case studies of some of the most troubling contemporary instances of state violence against members of society (Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda) as well as examine several cases of more moderate, democratic rule (Turkey and India, for example). Offered jointly with POL S 450.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The class will be organized around short lectures and small group exercises.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Required readings include sections from Joel Migdal, Strong Societies and Weak States; James Scott, Seeing Like a State; Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq; Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We will be Killed with our Families: Stories from Rwanda; Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism; Barnett Rubin, The Fragmentation of Afghanistan.

Students will be expected to integrate lectures, required readings, films and, possibly, newspaper analysis. Assignments will include several short papers, quizzes, and a larger project. Reading level will vary from 50-200 pages a week.


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: 10/22/2002