Department of Politics

346: Political Economy of Developing Countries

March 2003

Dr. David W. Loebsack, Instructor

Corey Williams Green, Consulting Librarian


The following Supplements to this Course Description can be found on the Web:

Good Advice

Web References

Rules & Regulations

Politics Department


Instructor: David W. Loebsack, 308 South Hall. Telephone: Office, 895-4300. Phone messages may be left with faculty secretary Cheryl Dake 895-4283 or in her voice mail box or on the answering machine at my office. I also recommend contacting me by e-mail. For quickest response e-mail your questions and comments to my office ( ).

Office Hours: Normally, I will be in my office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 11-12. Feel free to make an appointment or just show up. To help you find me, a detailed schedule of my activities over the next several days is usually posted on my office door.

E-Mail: In order to take better advantage of technological innovations recently available, I encourage you to deliver your paper and/or rough draft by means of e-mail attachments. If you work on a PC, please save your papers and other submissions in Word (or WordPerfect if you must). Please name your file xxxxx-y, where xxxxx are the first five letters of your last name and y is your first initial. Attach your file to an e-mail addressed to

Feedback: Whether or not you are asked to complete a standardized course evaluation, I am interested in your comments and suggestions for improvement of the course, the readings, the assignments and this course description. Feel free to e-mail comments as you think of them.




Class Meets: South 300, normally M-F 9-11 but there are days when the schedule will be different than this. Please read carefully the schedule below, especially for the first Friday of the term.

Purpose --

This course is primarily a "research seminar" that deals with how various "developing countries" have transformed their political economies over the past two decades or so. The course will be primarily thematic in that we will investigate a variety of issues (e.g., transitions to democracy, the role of the military, women and development) being dealt with by countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. We finish the course with paper presentations from students on the particular countries of their choice. In addition, there will be at least two guest lectures on Afghanistan and terrorism by experts from beyond Cornell College .

Requirements --

  1. One essay exam worth 30% of the course total.

  2. One 15-page paper worth 55% of the course grade (35% for the paper, 10% for the first oral presentation, and 10% for the second presentation). The paper will deal with the recent political/economic development experience of a particular country and is due on Wednesday, March 26 at 5:00 p.m.

  3. You should be thinking about a paper topic immediately. Indeed, our meeting with Consulting Librarian Corey Williams Green on the first Tuesday of the term will largely be a working session.

  4. During Weeks 3 and 4, each student will also be responsible for two 20-minute oral presentations of her/his findings. Also, you should note that everyone will see me on the first Thursday for a paper conference. At this conference, you should be ready to discuss with me not only the country of choice but also the issues/themes you wish to research.

    There is no roughdraft required. However, if you wish me to read one, it must be to me no later than Wednesday, March 19 to allow me time to read it and comment on it by Friday the 21st.

    You also should note that a roughdraft should not be so rough that I would need to edit it extensively. The primary purpose of submitting a roughdraft is to get my feedback as to whether you are covering the topic correctly and organizing your thoughts in a logical fashion.

  5. Class participation is worth 15% of the course grade. It is imperative that you attend class and your peers' oral presentations. If you fail to attend any of the presentations, you will be unable to earn higher than a C- for class participation.

Readings --

Howard Handelman, The Challenge of Third World Development (Third Edition).
Annual Editions, Developing World 03-04 (A&E).


Week 1- March 3-7

Monday -- 9-11 - Introduction: issues to be studied.

Tuesday -- 9-10 - Theoretical approaches to the study of developing countries. Handelman, Chapter 1.
10-11 -
Meet w/Corey Williams Green in the Library for research instruction and work session. Library, Room 126.

Wednesday -- 9-11 - The meaning of democracy. Is democracy possible in the developing world? Handelman, Chapter 2. A&E, Chapters 26-27, 30-31.

Thursday -- 9-11 - Religion and politics. Handelman, Chapter 4. A&E, Chapters 17-18.
1-4 - Paper conferences.

Friday - 10-11 - Guest lecturer, Bahram Tavakolian (Denison University), will speak on Afghanistan. Reserve articles by Tavakolian, Rashid, and Shahrani. A&E, Chapter 28; Washington Post op-ed (handout).
11-12 - Lecture re Afghanistan (Hedges Lounge)
1-2 - Discussion re Afghanistan

Week 2 -- March 10-14

Monday -- 9-11 - Cultural pluralism and ethnic conflicts. Handelman, Chapter 4; A&E, Chapters 20-24.

Tuesday -- 9-11 - Women and development. Handelman, Chapter 5; A&E, Chapters 40-43; Moghadam (reserve).

Wednesday -- 9-11 - Agrarian reform and the politics of rural change. Handelman, Chapter 6; A&E, Chapters 8-9.

Thursday -- 9-11 - Revolutionary change: how likely? Handelman, Chapter 8.

Friday - 9-11 - The military and politics. Handelman, Chapter 9.

Week 3 - March 17-21

Monday - 9-11 and 1-3 - Presentations of outlines/rough drafts.

Tuesday - 9-11 - Political economy of third world development: state versus market? Handelman, Chapter 10; A&E, Chapters 1, 3, 5-7, 10, 12.

Wednesday - 9-11 - Other issues: population, pollution, information, etc. A&E, Chapters 15-16, 33-35, 37-38.

Thursday - 9-11 - Guest lecturer, Dr. Sean Farren, will speak on terrorism. A&E, Chapters 19, 25.

Friday - 9-12 - Course exam.



Week 4 -- March 24-26

Monday - 9-11:15 - Paper presentations.

Tuesday - 9-11:15 - Paper presentations.

Wednesday - No class. Paper due at 5 p.m.