School of historical, political and sociological studies



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SCHOOL OF HISTORICAL, POLITICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL STUDIES


HEC 2021: COMPARATIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: PATTERNS OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE THIRD WORLD SINCE 1850



(First Semester)
This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the historical experience and the development problems of the third world by focusing on the experience of Latin America, the Middle East and China since the mid-19th century.
The module has two parts, corresponding with the two semesters. The surveys some of the main development problems, looking at economic, social and cultural aspects. A course of lectures covers development ideas and approaches and a series of seminars focuses on key problems by means of a comparative, empirical approach. There will be one introductory, organising seminar and five, weekly seminars in the last five weeks of the first semester. The themes of the seminars will be introduced in lectures beforehand to give you an introduction to the main themes. The staggering of the ‘business’ seminars should enable you to get a real feel for the subject matter before preparing your seminar presentations and contributions. Each seminar will examine a case study (selected from the countries or areas to be studied in the second semester.
In the second semester, we look at the development since 1850 of three main areas, with sharply varied development experience. The Middle East contains areas that have undergone massive transformation since 1950 (countries with oil) and others where developmental policies have failed and conservative forces have rejected the paradigm of development. China was seen for most of the period since 1880 as a developmental failure, an example of what happens when politicians interfere with development priorities. At the start of the twenty-first century, however, it has become the fastest growing economy in the world and a massively interesting case study of divergent political and economic systems. Finally, Latin America also contains both success stories (the newly industrialising countries such as Brazil and Mexico) and catastrophic failures such as Argentina (one of the world’s richest nations in 1880 and with almost half its population in poverty in 2002).
The aim of this module is thus to show how the study of development problems can be illuminated by careful case studies and how narrative history can be focused and made manageable by careful selection of themes from conceptual and analytical literature.
We will encounter such key concepts as development and underdevelopment, the population bomb, foreign aid, the activities of rich multinationals in poor countries, globalisation, import substitution and export-led growth. This module also aims to develop your intellectual skills. The aim is to develop your analytical abilities, first in the explicit mixing of theory with case study and secondly by developing your ability to construct meaningful comparisons. Both will be tested in the assessment methods.
The final point to make about the teaching and organisation of the module is that it rests heavily upon the web. This reading list and that for semester 2 will be available only on the web. The lectures will be posted in Alan Booth’s personal web space before they are delivered. The seminars will be based on material posted by students to a web site dedicated to this module. This material will be available not only for the seminars, but will also be available for essays and revision. Details of this address will be given in due course.
The problems of economic development are many-sided. There is no single, simplistic answer and there is no single way of approaching the subject. In accounting for development or lack of it, the economic vies with the political, social and cultural; you may rely on the discourse of development studies, but you may alternatively favour post-modern approaches. There are no right and wrong answers, merely degrees of plausibility. You will be introduced to a range of approaches and encouraged to construct persuasive arguments that both make a case and anticipate some of the more obvious objections. In this module, answers are unlikely to be obvious or simplistic.
The reading list(s) require comment. I have tried to produce long reading lists to increase your chances of finding material on the library shelves but have also included the addresses of web sites that I consider useful. The long reading lists also provide a substantial foundation for the assessed essay that you need to complete each semester. The assessed essay title tries to force you to address the whole of the work of the semester and thus to complement the more detailed seminar work. The assessed essay question is accordingly very broad, and is left very much to you to navigate. I am happy to discuss his/her ideas with any student, but am not prepared to make the judgements that appear to me to be the responsibility of the student. The emphasis is on you to do the work.
The Student Handbook for the Department makes it clear that the staff regard attendance at seminars as a vital part of the process of teaching and learning. If illness or other recognised incapacity from attending a seminar will prevent you, you should ensure that the tutor receives prior warning. Your attention is drawn to the seriousness of cheating and plagiarism, as defined in those parts of the Department’s Handbook dealing with teaching and learning. The University takes a very serious view of plagiarism (which is defined in University regulations, and involves the copying, without proper attribution, the work of others) and other forms of cheating and has stiff penalties for those found to have committed such offences.
The work requirements for this section of the module are that you attend all the seminars, make the required contribution to seminar work and complete one assessed essay to an acceptable standard each semester. There will be a deadline for submission of each essay, and late submissions will be penalised according to normal departmental practice. The better of the two essays will contribute one-third of the final mark for the module, but BOTH essays must be submitted, otherwise penalties will be applied. The essay provides one-third of the final mark and a final examination provides two-thirds. The assessed essays should be 3,000 words in length, fully footnoted and with a full bibliography. The first must be presented (typed or word-processed) by 5 p.m. on the first Monday of the Lent term, 8 January 2001. Marks will be deducted in the case of late delivery, in accordance with School conventions. In the final examination there will be no questions directly relating to the subject of the assessed essays. You will have to select three questions to answer (from eleven) in two hours.

Alan Booth


September 2002


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