America in the World

Discipline: Comparative Politics
Instructor: McNown
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 10:50
End: 12:05
Field Work: Day 4 - Accra - Friday, 18 October | Ghana
Prerequisites: Although this course has no specific requirements some background in social sciences would be helpful. Above all an open mind and a desire to learn about our ports and how America influences and is influenced by the ports is essential. Download Syllabus

Every time that I spend a significant amount of time outside of the United States I find that I gain  perspective on what being an American means and how America fits into world.  This course is designed to explore the issues of “Americanism,” how America has influenced the world and how America, in turn, has been shaped by events.

The United States is the fourth largest country in the world in land area and the third largest country by population.  The US has the biggest GDP, the most active military personnel, and the biggest defense budget in the world.   By any measure The United States of America is important in the world.   Yet often, when we explore “the world” we tend to treat the US an “other.”

For each region or country we will explore a different issue.  Sometimes we will compare America and that region, sometimes we will see how America has been involved in events in that country.  Sometimes we will see how events in that region can affect American domestic politics, and sometimes we will see how issues in American politics affect domestic politics in other countries.   Although we will typically look at these issues through a political lens we will be using information from all the social sciences.

Field Work

Country: Ghana
Day: 4 - Accra - Friday, 18 October

This field lab will visit Global Mamas, a non-profit, fair trade organization in Ghana.  Global Mamas assists women in Africa to become economically independent through the production and distribution of their handcrafted products. Global Mamas create over 180 products which are exported to North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.  The field lab will visit a production site, visit with the Mamas, discuss the process of starting and running an NGO with the founder and Executive Director, participate in a roundtable on Fair Trade, and visit the Accra retail outlet. Academic Objectives: 1.  Understand the role of small NGOs in development. 2.  Understand the bureaucratic obstacles in Ghana and importing countries for a Fair Trade NGO. 3.  Understand argument for and against Fair Trade.