Course #
Section Number
Spring 2024
International Policy
Course Instructor

This course offers a perspective on the role of power in the evolution of societies. First, we will study narratives of political economy of development, dominant until recently, which draw on explanations for what made Europe, and parts of North America, exceptional, such as their innovation, trade, culture, or institutions. Second, we will explore research by historians, anthropologists, and sociologists that challenged these narratives on the grounds that they silenced the role played by European military domination over the rest of the world in the rise of Europe; the rise of the “West” coincides with the exceptional use of power at a global scale to expropriate, enslave, and even replace other societies whose welfare is not even part of current GDP calculations. Third, we will explore institutions, historical processes, worldviews, socio-political traditions, and ideas in societies outside the so-called West, and how those have contributed to the history of human societies but also to the set of possible ideas and models for “development.” One ambitious aim of the course is to make sense of how we got into the world of today while navigating this epistemic imbalance, beyond “us” vs. “them,” and through research and policies that do not carry the presumption of pitying, saving, or fixing as the main starting point. This course was previously called Political Economics of Developing Countries.

Quarter Title Instructor Day(s) Time(s) Syllabus
Spring 2024 Power and "Development" Raul Sanchez de la Sierra Tuesday, Thursday 2:00pm-3:20pm Syllabus
Spring 2024 Power and "Development" Raul Sanchez de la Sierra Tuesday, Thursday 3:30pm-4:50pm Syllabus