Spring Classes

IR 395/PO 352 North-South Relations

This course examines the fundamental issues that arise out of the relations between the industrialized countries of the “North” (e.g., the U.S., Europe, Japan) and the developing countries of the “South.” The class focuses primarily on themes and issues in North-South relations rather than specific countries or regions; to the extent that we cover specific geographical areas, we will pay greater attention to Latin America and East Asia than to other developing areas. The course begins with a brief treatment of some of the conceptual approaches available to advance our understanding of North-South relations and their general historical trends. The tremendous development challenges facing the South both historically and currently dictate that the course pay close attention to issues of political economy and development. We will therefore dedicate several weeks to exploring a series of specific politico-economic issues relevant to North-South relations, such as imperialism, trade, foreign aid, investment, regional economic integration, and finance. The course will then consider a number of less traditional issues that have emerged on the agenda of North-South relations in recent years, including migration, illegal drug trafficking, and the protection of the environment. We will not focus explicitly on North-South security and military affairs. The course will conclude with an assessment of the future of North-South relations.

IR 575/PO 553 Political Economy of Mexico and NAFTA

This course examines the closely related topics of Mexican political economy and Mexico’s participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The course addresses both the causes and effects of the profound transformations that Mexico has undergone in recent years. Part I introduces Mexico’s historical, cultural, political and economic context. Part II considers the economic crisis of the 1980s and the efforts undertaken to reform the Mexican economy via stabilization and market opening. Part III assesses Mexico’s participation in NAFTA, including the negotiation and politics of the agreement. Part IV addresses a series of political crises and democratic reforms since the mid 1990s. Part V explores the effects of Mexico’s economic reforms. Part VI examines the human element of Mexican political economy, including migration, human development, drug trafficking and corruption. The course concludes with a consideration of the contemporary reality of Mexican political economy and its possible future course in light of the country’s transition to democracy and neoliberalism.

IR 590/PO 550 Political Economy of Latin America

This course examines the principal issues in 20th century Latin American Political Economy (LAPE). It centers on the dynamic interaction between politics and economics in Latin America’s quest for economic, political and social development. After introducing the problem, the actors and the traditional analytical frameworks used to explain LAPE, the course examines four historical cases of development. The bulk of the course then focuses on more contemporary issues in LAPE and a series of approaches that attempt to explain them. The course compares paths of industrialization in Latin America and East Asia in order to understand why some countries develop while others stagnate. It then goes on to address the politics of economic crisis and reform, including the debt crisis, trade liberalization, integration in the Americas, privatization, direct foreign investment, financial reform, and currency crises across the region. It concludes by examining gender, ethnicity, and environmental issues, the politics of poverty and economic inequality, and the relationship between political and economic restructuring.