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COURSE NAME: "Politics of Developing Countries"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Federigo Argentieri
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 3:00-4:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PL 223

The definition of Third World has been applied to countries which, albeit located in different geographic areas of the globe, are affected by similar features and problems: recent independence from colonial rule, limited economic development, overpopulation, insufficient infrastructures and availability of public hygiene/health care/education, persisting dependency on developed countries and attempts at reducing or altogether eliminating it. The course will explore the various patterns with an emphasis on three aspects. The first will examine comparative theories of social backwardness and belated development, particularly those elaborated by Bairoch, Gerschenkron, Barrington Moore jr., Skocpol and others. The second will discuss geography and historical issues: colonialism, imperialism, decolonization and the impact of the Cold War being the main ones. The third will focus on the past couple of decades and the current situation. In examining country studies, particularly focused on the roots of democratic systems and of stability, the dichotomies of dictatorship and democracy, national sovereignty and human rights, globalization and autarchy will be analyzed and assessed.
General issues:
- Definitions of "The Other World"
- Patterns of relationship with developed countries (colonial, neo-colonial); terrorism and its consequences
- Political economy, globalization, resources, development
- The role of women

Geographic areas:
- Latin America
- Africa
Students should have a good command of the principal instruments of political analysis in a comparative context, including elements of political and social history, political culture and background of the different leaders and ruling forces. They should be able to identify and analyze the main actors, their strategies and their conflicts, their elements of rupture and continuity, as well as the main trends in political life of the countries under scrutiny
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
African IndependenceTukufu ZuberiRowman & Littlefield978-1-4422-1642-6 EBook ISBN 978-1-4422-1643-3
Latin American Politics and DevelopmentWiarda-KlineWestview Press978-0-8133-4904-6 EBook 978-0-8133-4905-3
Venezuela: Background and US PolicyCongressional Research ServiceCreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform978-1547053827 Available online here https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=801695
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Latin American Politics and DevelopmentKline, Wade and Wiarda (eds.)Westview Press9780813350509 Ebook ISBN: 9780813350745 Chapters 1 through 6 and 8, 11

5 short papersOne-sheet, two single-spaced pages each75%
Attendance and participationRegular attendance is required and only excused absences will not affect the grade (see Attnd. requirements section for details). Additionally, students are expected to participate in discussions and demonstrate their acquaintance with the assigned readings. The instructor will occasionally check on this particular aspect by asking questions related to such assignments. Numerically speaking, each unjustified absence will be counted 5 pts down and each positive (oral) feedback on the readings 1-3 pts up. Also, students are required to give a short feedback on each film screened, orally or in writing. Appropriate feedbacks will also count for 1-3 points. The final score in this section will be counted also in terms of overall performance of the student.25%
NOTE:Grades are not "curved" but calculated in the following way: each assignment counts for the indicated percentage and gets a certain amount of it (e.g. 10/15). At the end of the semester, everything (including extra credit) is summed up to compose the final score and transformed into a letter grade according to this scale: A = 96-100 C = 66-70 A- = 91-95 C- = 61-65 B+ = 86-90 D+ = 58-60 B = 81-85 D = 55-57 B- = 76-80 D- = 51-54 C+ = 71-76 F = 0-50  

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the c
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Regular attendance and active participation in class are essential: this includes punctuality and quick checking of intranet messages. Absences will affect the final grade, unless caused by serious family or medical emergencies. Makeup examinations may be given or late papers accepted only for the same reasons. In order to take full advantage of this class and make it an important learning experience, it is crucial to create a communicative virtuous circle, i.e. an environment where possible misunderstandings are reduced to a minimum or altogether eliminated and potential problems and issues are addressed and solved very quickly. Example: some of you may have a stronger background in Politics, and some a weaker one or none: there is nothing wrong in acknowledging it and  alerting the professor, so that he can adjust his pace to the audience and work more with single cases if need be. More specifically, you can contribute quite substantially to the creation of a virtuous circle if you consider the following: 

1) Some demeanors are invisible in a large infrastructure, yet become disruptive in a smaller one. They include the following (during class): - walking in and especially out of the room, in absence of an emergency or prior permission; - making use of the internet and/or any social network, such as Facebook, Twitter or a mere sms; - reading or studying for a class other than the one being attended. Taking good note of all this and acting accordingly, besides averting inevitable grade-docking, will greatly help and will be much appreciated.  Therefore, you are kindly requested to turn off your Iphones et al. and avoid using a laptop during class. Exceptions can be made only in some specific cases 

2) Students should be able to make the difference between occurrences which justify their absences and those which don't, and alert the prof only in the former case.  Examples:   

Occurrence                                 Absence Justified?                Communication needed                        

i) Sickness                                                       yes                                         yes                      

ii) Major emergency                                        yes                                         yes                         
(accident, serious family issues,                          

iii)Travel issues of any kind                             no                                           no                         

iv) Family/partner/friend(s)                         
are in town                                                        no                                           no                      
 (although  welcome to                         
class if interested, in which case please                         
notify the prof)                                 

v) AoB                                                         to be determined on case-by-case criteria

3) A smaller environment should encourage a more active and direct participation of students and a more effective communication between students and professor. The former are strongly encouraged to intervene in class at any moment if something doesn't sound clear, or in the appropriate discussion time if they wish to raise a specific issue or argue about it (this latter part will be considered for grading purposes, only to the extent it shows interest for the topic and capabilities to support an argument). Opinions can be freely expressed (teacher included) and are never graded as such.  Should a student feel uncomfortable about speaking in public, s/he is welcome to contact or email the professor to discuss privately 

4) Finally, and on a more academic note, some concrete tips to start off in the best way possible and obtain satisfactory results:  - This is a textbook-based course. No matter if individually or in a group, students should get hold of a copy anyway, as all their assignments will be based on it. Alternative routes based on the use of popular websites (e.g. Wikipedia) are strongly discouraged and would lead to poor results - Class lectures do not merely repeat or explain (unless specifically required) the content of the readings, but aim at completing them by providing additional information and different visual angles. In order to achieve optimal results, students should work on combining their notes with reading assignments and videos screened (see next point) and raise immediately all issues related to any perceived discrepancy, incoherence or misunderstanding  - Videos shown in class command the same respect and attention as all other instructional materials and should never be considered as avoidable parts of the course program (or the right moment when to disregard point 1 above)  - Whenever possible, students are encouraged to take advantage of extra-credit opportunities (field trips, evening films, Guarini Institute events) even if their score is good, as these could prove ultimately decisive in enhancing their grade.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


SessionSession FocusReading AssignmentOther AssignmentMeeting Place/Exam Dates
Aug. 29-31Introductory remarks and overview of the methodology. Introductory video on the Cold War: The Korean WarNotes  
Sep. 5-7Intro to AfricaZuberi Ch. 1  
Sep. 12-14Pan-Africanism, Decolonization, IndependenceZuberi Ch. 2  
Sep. 19-21Africa in the Cold WarZuberi Ch. 3  
Sep. 26-28Africa todayZuberi Ch. 4Tuesday at 7:30 pm screening of film: "Shake Hands with the Devil", by Roger Spottiswoode (2007)First paper due at the start of Tuesday's class
Oct. 3-5Concluding discussion and assessment on AfricaZuberi Ch. 1-4 Tuesday at 7:30 pm, screening of film "In My Country", by John Boorman (2004) 
Oct. 10-12Latin America: from discovery to colonizationWiarda-Kline part ITuesday at 7:30 pm film "1492 The Conquest of Paradise", by Ridley Scott 
Oct. 17-19Latin America from independence to the Cold WarSame as aboveTuesday at 7:20 pm in room GK12 screening of film "El Che: Investigating a Legend" 
Oct. 24-26-27Case study - ArgentinaWiarda-Kline Ch. 6Tuesday at 7:20 pm, screening of film "Evita", by Alan ParkerSecond paper due at the start of Tuesday's class
Oct. 31-Nov. 2Case study: Argentina, ChileWiarda-Kline Ch. 8Tuesday at 7:30 pm screening of film "Night of the Pencils", by Héctor Olivera (1986) 
Nov. 7-9Comparative assessment of the two case studiesWiarda-Kline Ch. 6-8  
Nov. 14-16Case study: VenezuelaWiarda-Kline Ch. 11Tuesday at 7:30 pm screening of film "Salvador Allende", by Patricio GuzmanThird paper due at the start of Thursday's class
Nov. 21-28Case study: VenezuelaVenezuela: Background and U.S. Policy plus others tbaOct. 21 at 7:30 pm screening of film "Missing", by Costa Gavras Oct. 28 at 7:30 pm screening of film "In the Time of the Butterflies"Fourth paper due at the start of Nov. 28 class/ Fifth paper due on day of final exam