The Politics of Developing Areas

Discipline: Comparative Politics
Instructor: Wiegand
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1425
End: 1540
Field Class: Day 1 - Wednesday, 11 February | Vietnam
Prerequisites: prior course work in political science, economics, or sociology Download Syllabus

In this course, we will explore economic and political development, focusing on the realities of poverty and inequality around the world, both within and between countries, and the process of democratization. We will address the following questions: Why are some countries rich and others poor? Are the reasons primarily historical, geographic, cultural, or political? Do some types of foreign aid promote development more successfully than others? What, if anything, should the world community do to assist the “bottom billion”? Is there hope for the developing world both economically and politically? Is democratization feasible or even desirable in the developing world? In considering these issues, we will give special attention to the many developing countries we visit on our voyage.

Field Class

Country: Vietnam
Day: 1 - Wednesday, 11 February

The development strategy of micro-financing helps not only alleviate poverty, but also provides tools for vast numbers of impoverished people, mostly women, to improve their standard of living through small scale loans allowing for self-employment. The course field lab will involve visiting an NGO in Ho Chi Minh City that focuses on development and micro-financing to learn about their work in Vietnam. Following lunch we will visit the War Remnants Museum for a fascinating look at the social, economic, and political consequences of the civil war and “American War” of the 1960s and 1970s. Academic Objectives:

  1. To learn about the economic development of Vietnam in recent decades.
  2. To observe development in action.
  3. To learn about the role of poverty and the devastation of Vietnam at war.