Below are titles and descriptions of courses I have taught in the last few years.
The last thirty years have witnessed a resurgence in political and economic cooperation among the developing nations of the South. This course examines recent changes in the international economy, with a special focus on South-South relations. Some questions we will consider are: What will be the impact of the rise of Third World Capitalism on the global economy? What will the global economy look like when we emerge from the current financial crises? Does South-South cooperation hold the promise of an alternative model to neo-liberal globalization or is it best thought of as unity against Northern hegemony? How has colonialism previously and economic liberalization more recently changed the structure and pattern of trade among developing countries? In the course we will trace the historical patterns of trade among developing nations since the colonial era and then look closely at South-South cooperation in the post-WWII period.
Middle East Economies
The Uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have had a profound impact on the political economy of authoritarian regimes within the region as well as academic frameworks used to explain them. However, the optimism of the Arab uprisings was quickly replaced with more sober thinking about the future brought upon by the realities of regime resilience, the challenges of democratic transformation, and the myriad domestic and international forces engaged in counter-revolutionary activity. This course examines the economics of the MENA region and asks the following questions: Do the uprisings represent failures of the developmental state, neo-liberalism, or authoritarian regimes? How does human development within MENA compare to other regions in the developing world? To what extent does either religion or oil explain economic outcomes? What impact will the upheaval associated with the uprisings themselves have on the economies of the different countries? What are the long-term legacies of the Arab Uprisings? The course will explore these questions through theoretical readings, case studies from Syria, Egypt, and the Gulf.
Economics of Peacebuilding
This course focuses on the theory and practice of peacebuilding and post-conflict economic recovery in the aftermath of mass violent conflict. Some questions we will explore are: how has the theory and practice of post-conflict recovery evolved since World War II? Should economic policies during peacebuilding phases differ from ‘normal’ economic development? How do economic policies interact with social, political and cultural factors to produce positive (or negative) outcomes? In what ways do internal and external actors support or inhibit the process of peacebuilding? The course will briefly examine various cases of post-conflict recovery in the last thirty years and then focus on the case of Syria and the regional crisis in the Middle East.
As recently as 250 years ago the world had a roughly equal level of development. Today, the richest country in the world has an average income level around 400 times that of the poorest. What are the reasons behind this divergence? How have the ‘poor’ countries attempted to reverse the gap and how have these attempts transformed societies within those countries? The course examines these general themes and consists of two components: First, we will survey contemporary debates in development economics, including such topics as development ethics (e.g. what is development? development by whom and for what? ), development theory and models (e.g. import substitution, micro enterprises, export orientation), and development critiques. Second, student research teams will choose a developing country at the beginning of the course to study in depth, applying the ideas discussed in class. The groups will periodically present their research to the class to help us achieve a larger sense of the challenges faced in seeking effective, equitable development.
Syria and the Refugee Crisis
The Syrian crisis has become one of the most complex political and humanitarian challenges of the 21st century. Though the Syrian uprising started alongside the Arab Uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, and elsewhere, it now lies at the intersection of local, regional, and global conflicts. In this course we will explore the many dimensions of the Syrian crisis. Some questions we will explore are: what are the roots of the Syrian crisis? What role did economic, political, and social factors alongside other issues such as climate change play in setting it in motion? What are the geopolitics of the crisis and what is the role of regional and international powers? What is everyday life like for Syrians both those inside Syria as well as refugees? What are the challenges associated with economic recovery and peacebuilding. We will explore these questions by examining articles, documentaries, interviews and primary documents related to the crisis.