BIS 394: Comparative Economic Development
Colin Danby, University of Washington, Bothell
"Third World" is not a neat category. It refers broadly to formerly-colonized nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean which have gained independence over the last two centuries. But these were different societies before being colonized, and experienced very different kinds of transformation under colonial rule. The course will emphasize the internal diversity of the Third World, but will not attempt to teach you the economic history of all 150 or so nations that can be put in this category. Rather, we will look at a number of interesting examples, and build an intellectual toolkit that will enable you to gain insights into other cases.
By "development" in this course we simply mean large-scale transformation in a country's productive system. The term “development” is often used normatively: certain countries are labeled “developed,” and considered the desirable norm, while others are termed “underdeveloped,” and assumed to be striving to emulate the “developed” countries. We will not make this assumption. You are welcome, indeed encouraged, to think about and discuss the criteria by which change should be judged, but there is no reason to believe that everyone’s judgments about what is desirable will coincide.
This course starts with a skeptical attitude toward large-scale theories of social, economic, or cultural change. We will spend most of our time reading about, discussing, and seeing films about specific places and times, and reasoning from them. We will work comparatively because far more can be learned by thinking about the differences between, say, Mexico and Bangladesh and Kenya than by trying to combine them into an imaginary "typical third world country." This is why we will need to read widely and carefully. Plan on doing a lot of reading.
Among the IAS learning objectives, this course gives special attention to Critical and Creative Thinking, and Writing and Communication. Among the Global Studies learning objectives, this course emphasizes the use and critique of frameworks, and the development of critical insights through comparative study. You might consider the three take-home exams in this course for inclusion in your IAS portfolio.
Grading will be broken down like this:
Take-home exams (3) 60%
There will be three take-home examinations, in which you will be asked to respond to questions about the readings. You have the option of submitting drafts to me in advance for comment. I value careful, precise language and clear organization. Be sure that you understand questions and respond directly to them.
Response papers will get full credit if they make a serious effort to respond to the question or questions.
The portfolio will be assessed on the overall quality of the work it contains and the reflection on it. I will also post the in-class discussion handouts on this site. Participation will be assessed both on the basis of whole-class discussions and small-group work.
I will do my best to communicate the criteria by which written assignments will be assessed. Please ask when you have questions, and feel free to consult with me if you are having difficulty with any assignment.
Late work: late submissions will be penalized 15% (of the total possible grade) up to the first week they are late; 30% thereafter. Late assignments submitted after the last day of classes (June 7) will not be graded. It's your responsibility to organize your life so work gets done on time, reliably. Please don't show me doctors' notes, court orders, or anything like that. There are no exceptions to the late-work policy -- there simply is no way that I can fairly assess the personal emergencies, job pressures, and other factors that impinge on different people's lives, and adjust individual deadlines accordingly. There is however one appeal: if you feel that for any reason, part of your grade does not reflect your learning in the course, write me a short e-mail explaining why, and I will take that into account when assessing the final grade.
Question sets, worksheets, and research memos are to be turned in via Collect It. If Collect It goes down or is inaccessible for some reason, feel free to e-mail me your work as an attached file. This class does not use Blackboard.
In the classroom: Our scheduled classes are times for work. Focusing on the task at hand is vital for your own learning; it also makes you a better participant in small-group discussions and other activities that help others learn. It is therefore expected that you will use class time for class work, and most importantly that you will not do anything to distract other students from class work. It's my responsibility to ensure that the classroom is a place in which every student can work successfully, and I will be forceful in squelching distractions. I will ask you to avoid private conversations and noisy food, and to turn off and put away cell phones and any other portable electronic devices. In the interest of avoiding distraction this will be a laptop-free classroom. If you have to arrive late to class, please tiptoe in the back door as quietly as possible. Please return from break on time (my breaks are five minutes). It is my responsibility and prerogative to determine what is appropriate classroom behavior.
Keeping track: This syllabus is a web document. It can be located by putting "danby" into the faculty directory accessible via the main uwb page, or by putting "colin danby" into a search engine like google. Changes in readings or assignments may be made due to winter weather or other reasons. So please keep the url in your browser's bookmarks. If you miss classes, you need to check for any modifications to assignments. The university also provides you an e-mail account which I will use if I need to contact you, and you’re responsible for forwarding if you use multiple e-mail accounts. It is also easier for me if you e-mail me from your university account, because e-mail that comes from non-university addresses is harder for me to identify amid the daily flood. At the least, please be sure that any e-mail account you use to contact me shows your full name in the “from” field.
Staying in touch: I encourage you to see the regular class time as only part of the service provided to you in this course. Please feel no hesitation about contacting me outside of class, about using the scheduled office hours, and about setting up meetings at other times. If you're caring for a child, feel free to bring the child with you to office hours. Aside from visiting during the scheduled office hours or chatting after class (before class is less good because I'm focused on setting up), the best way to get in touch is e-mail. Among other things, you can always show me an assignment draft in advance, and I am also happy to look at practice exam answers in advance (really and truly – students don’t always believe this, but I will review drafts of anything. My job is to help you learn!) The “Collect It” dropbox also has chat functionality but I don’t monitor it regularly, so please use e-mail for electronic communication with me. I don't use the UWB voicemail system. I’ll usually reply to e-mails within 24 hours during the M-F week. If I can, I’ll be faster, and I often check in during weekends, but don’t depend on that. Every now and then, the flow of e-mail gets too great and I fall behind for a few days. Feel free to send me a reminder. Given federal laws around educational records disclosure (google FERPA), it’s best not to use e-mail to discuss grades or anything sensitive. But please e-mail me at any time about any question or concern, large or small.
There is no reason to tell me if you are going to miss class. However if a serious illness or personal emergency is going to affect course work over a week or more, please tell me so we can plan how to get you back on track as quickly as possible. If an unforeseen circumstance makes you fall seriously behind in your work, it may be better to cut your losses and seek a hardship withdrawal.
Weather: Please check if the campus may be closed due to weather. When this happens, I hear about it at the same time you do, via the UWB website or by calling the Campus Information Hotline 425.352.3333. You may also sign up with an alert system that will contact you via email or text message if classes are canceled. For more information on the alert process, please see http://www.uwb.edu/alert.
Americans with Disabilities Act: Accommodation for disabled students is a campus priority, and I am always happy to work with the Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS). If you believe that you have a disability and would like academic accommodations, please contact the DRS at 425.352.5307, 425.352.5303 TDD, 425.352.5455 FAX, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.uwb.edu/studentservices/drs.
Diversity: In IAS and at UW Bothell, students are expected to respect individual differences including age, cultural background, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender presentation, immigration status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status. You should also expect to encounter a range of views in course readings and classroom discussions, some of which may be at odds with your own. Students seeking support around these issues can find more information and resources at http://www.uwb.edu/diversity.
Academic Integrity: This course includes writing. When you put your name at the top of a paper and hand it in, in a university course, we assume that anything written below that name is your own work unless you indicate otherwise. See http://www.uwb.edu/studentservices/academicconduct and http://www.uwb.edu/learningtech/plagiarism for crucial information regarding academic integrity, maybe also my own additional notes on plagiarism. You are responsible for knowing what constitutes a violation of the University of Washington Student Code, and you will be held responsible for any such violations whether they were intentional or not. Plagiarism has been a problem in this course in the past. Please see and my If you are ever in any doubt about how to credit a source, ask me or a reference librarian. Penalties for plagiarism at UWB include a zero on the assignment and referral to the disciplinary process overseen by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. All cases of significant plagiarism in this course will be referred to the Vice Chancellor’s office.
Let’s put this in more positive terms! Proper crediting means two things:
• In anything that you hand in, your own writing must be clearly distinguished from other people’s writing. The normal way to do this is with quotation marks around the words that are not yours.
• Quoted material, or anything that you got from another source (a fact, an idea, something paraphrased) needs a reference clearly attached to it that tells your reader precisely where it came from.
Learning how to cite and reference other work is a useful skill that college should teach you. The library also has an extremely useful website with resources at http://libguides.uwb.edu/ai.
BIS 394 has no research assignments: you can complete all the assignments based on the course readings alone. You are of course welcome to draw on any material you want, for anything. If you do draw on materials outside the course readings, please provide full bibliographic references. You don't need to provide bibliographic references for course readings, but you still need to provide full in-your-text acknowledgment when you quote or paraphrase or use specific information from a reading.
Student Support Services: Library: http://library.uwb.edu, 425-352-5340; Writing and Communication Center: http://www.uwb.edu/wacc, 425-352-5253; Quantitative Skills Center: http://www.uwb.edu/qsc, 425-352-3170; Student Success and Career Services: http://www.uwb.edu/studentservices/success-services, 425-352-3776; Student Counseling Services: http://www.uwb.edu/studentservices/counseling, 425-352-3183.
You are required to print out e-reserve readings, and to bring to each class printouts of all the readings for that class session. Tablets are OK.
For example, you must have with you on Wednesday, April 3rd your copy of A Quiet Violence, and a printout of Sen’s “Famines and Other Crises.” You do not need to print out any of the supplemental or optional material.
E-reserve cautions: The library commits to making e-reserves available in a format that will print out well on the library’s computers. You’re welcome to print them out elsewhere, but neither I nor the library can provide technical support for other computers and printers. In general, it’s a good idea not to wait until the last possible moment to print readings. The e-reserve collection for this class contains more readings than we will actually use.
Schedule of Topics, Readings, and Assignments (subject to adjustment)