Political Science | Comparative Politics
Y657 | 5805 | MacLean
Topic: Comparative Policy of International Development
This course examines the topic of development quite broadly.
Throughout the course, we will be critically examining how various
societies balance the goals of economic development with the desire
for equality and social justice. The class begins with a critical
examination of how various groups, communities and individuals
contest the conceptualization of the very goals of development. We
then will analyze the key changes in the paradigms of development
over time. The next section of the course will focus on the changing
international political economy, examining relatively briefly the
literature on globalization, neoliberalism, debt and foreign aid.
At this point, the course will look at the ways that advanced
industrialized countries have pursued development, particularly
focusing on the rise (and fall?) of the welfare state in the U.S.
and Western Europe after WWII. The subsequent section analyzes the
challenges faced by developing countries over time, again
particularly focusing on the patterns of development since WW II.
The final section of the course highlights certain themes that are
essential for understanding development in both the advanced
industrialized and developing world. For example, we will explore
how considerations of local participation, gender, and environmental
sustainability shape development initiatives. We will also have a
special focus on several policy areas including health, education,
and social welfare for the poor and aged.
While paying more attention to the developing world, a substantial
amount of the reading will focus on or be relevant for the study of
the advanced industrialized countries. For this topic, it is quite
valuable and important to read comparatively and to have seminar
participants with interests in many corners of the world.
It is also important to note that this course does not assume any
prior knowledge of economics or political economy. It is a graduate-
level introduction to what are arguably some of the most important
questions for the discipline of political science and for our
societies in general. The reading is multidisciplinary, drawing on
key theoretical debates and discussions in political science,
development economics, sociology, anthropology, history, geography,
etc. The course will also include several films and one popular
The course will require participating actively in discussions;
serving at least once as a discussion facilitator; completing five
short “article briefs”; and a seminar paper. The specific format of
the seminar paper is flexible but will be agreed upon after
discussion with the professor of the student’s particular goals.
NB: This course is only offered once every three years.