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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Adrian C. Sinkler
POL S 335
Seattle Campus

Topics in Political Economy

Class description

Poverty and hunger are mostly rural phenomena around the world, and though the poor in “developed” countries also have limited access to food markets that negatively impacts their nutrition and health, those who suffer the most from this lack of access are (ironically) farmers and pastoralists in the developing world. In this course we will cover the main theoretical debates concerning the best way to address the issues of rural poverty and rural development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Does free trade make needed foodstuffs more accessible to the world’s rural poor, or does it contribute to poverty by “crowding out” small farmers? Do Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) make it easier for poor farmers to expand their yields and income, or do they lead to high rates of farmer debt and the “fertilizer treadmill?” Will land redistribution to the rural poor increase food sovereignty and security for developing countries, or will it lead to a dangerous decline in the global food supply? Upon taking this course, students will be in a better position to understand the debates behind these questions and formulate their own answers with reference to historical and cross-national data.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Adrian C. Sinkler
Date: 08/04/2011