This course explores the interplay of globalization, sustainability, and justice. We begin by discussing the on-going process of globalization from its beginnings during the age of colonialism to its current manifestation, focusing on the ways in which it either hinders or promotes international justice and sustainability. To that end, we will clarify the dimensions of sustainability and examine various “tools” used to operationalize or implement it. We will also review debates regarding the meaning and requirements of justice in the contemporary world. Among the questions on our agenda are the following: Why are some countries rich and others poor? Does global economic growth necessarily generate undesirable social and/or environmental costs? What, if anything, should be done politically to address problems like poverty, inequality, and violations of human rights? Throughout the course, we will employ the countries we visit on our voyage as case studies.
Field WorkCountry: Senegal
Day: 4 - Monday, 24 October
The World Bank was established in the aftermath of World War II, initially to aid in the reconstruction of an economically-devastated Europe. Once this goal was realized, the institution broadened its mission, financing development projects in formerly-colonized countries around the globe. Many of the early projects sponsored by the Bank spurred controversy for allegedly ignoring the interests of either the natural environment or poor people or both. In recent decades, the Bank has shown more sensitivity to these concerns, What is the institution doing today to promote sustainable development in "bottom billion" countries like Senegal? In the morning of our field class, we will tour the World Bank's branch office in Dakar and pose such questions to the staff. We will also have the opportunity to visit the American Embassy, where we will receive a briefing on Senegal and learn about the U.S. State Department's interests in and concerns about West African affairs.
After lunch we will take a ferry to Goree Island, which served as a center for the slave trade first for the Portuguese (who shipped captives to Salvador, Brazil) and later by their Dutch, English, and French counterparts. Between the mid-sixteenth and the mid-nineteenth centuries, millions of Africans were forcibly transported to the New world from this and similar forts. We will learn about the history of the slave trade and its past and present impact on sub-Saharan African societies. To what extent does the legacy of slavery help to explain the persistence of poverty and instability throughout the region?