Teaching

Here are some of the courses I have taught along with the course description and syllabus:

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

The last twenty years have witnessed 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.

The “Arab uprisings” have rippled throughout the world, threatening political regimes and challenging academic perceptions within and beyond Middle East studies. This course will examine the protest movements in the Middle East as profound and related disruptions of the authoritarian political systems and static analytical frameworks conventionally used to describe or explain them. Practical and theoretical approaches to Middle East politics have long held that its Islamic, sectarian, and despotic character entails hierarchic, charismatic, and inherited social patterns, preventing Arab or Muslim societies from developing civil-societal, cosmopolitan, horizontal, or democratic affiliations. Thus, the “Islamic dilemma” was said to be unique in a liberalizing and democratizing world, in which the Middle East was mired in a struggle between tyrannical, corrupt states and tyrannical, fundamentalist Islamists. Led by the uprisings and informed by political-economic premises they confirm, we will explore rarely examined links between the ongoing crisis of capitalism and various modes of social protest, for instance the relationship between local labor mobilization and neo-liberal militarism. Do the uprisings represent failures of the developmental state, neo-liberalism, or authoritarian regimes? Why have the uprisings occurred mainly in republics rather than monarchies? Should the uprisings inspire revisions of the familiar academic models of Middle East states and societies, including but hardly limited to secular/religious contests over the nature of the public sphere? Finally, do the uprisings instruct us about the world outside the region, as their inspiring effect in the United States and elsewhere would seem to suggest? The course will bring guest speakers from the Valley and beyond to discuss their ongoing research on these and other related topics.

It is often argued that the U.S. invaded Iraq because of oil. How long has oil been central to the American (and Western European) imagination of the Middle East? How have Middle Easterners viewed foreign economic involvement and intervention? In contrast, how have political and social movements across that region conceptualized the proper path of economic and political development? This cross-disciplinary course will investigate the modern Middle East both in terms of Euroamerican imperial imaginations and of the developmental visions arising from the region itself. We will find these imaginations/visions in travel writing (T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom), novels (Abdul Rahman Munif’s Cities of Salt), films (Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana and David O. Russell’s Three Kings), as well as C.I.A. documents and development initiatives. We will contextualize these perceptions with readings in cultural theory, politics, economics, and foreign policy by Edward W. Said, Salim Yaqub, Robert Vitalis, Patrick Seale, and others. This course will require students to keep up with a heavy reading load that incorporates everything from literary theory to developmental economics. Students will complete frequent reading responses, two short essays responding to course materials, and a final research essay. This course is suitable for first year distribution requirements.

This course will explore the increase in human consumption from a multi- disciplinary perspective. Specifically, it will focus on the consequences of this increased consumption (as well as exclusion from this consumption) on the happiness of human beings, including the role of consumption on relative well-being of individuals across cultures. It will also make connections between economics and other disciplines including sociology, political science, and psychology. The course topics and questions will include how economic theory describes (or prescribes) the relation between consumption and happiness. How the quest to satisfy (or create) consumption needs influences production, labor, employment, and the environment both domestically and internationally. Throughout the course, we will consider methodologies from psychology and economics for assessing well being and examining its relation to consumption. The course will also require students to reflect on their own experiences and those of their peers.

  • Introduction to Global Economic Institutions

This course focuses on the three main institutions in the global economy: the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization. We will trace their trajectory starting with the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 until today. Some questions we will consider: what were the original functions of these institutions and have they changed over time? What role do they play in the economies of both developed and developing countries? What is their relationship with other important economic groupings, such as the G-20? Are they still relevant in today?s global economy and should they be reformed or replaced? Students will be expected to complete a semester long research project on a topic of their choice and present their findings to the class.

  • Economics for people, planet, future

The debates surrounding the Occupy movement of 2011 have highlighted both a crisis in the US and global economy as well as a crisis of economic thought. Many of the policies which have led to increased inequality, environmental destruction, and financial crisis have their roots in a free-market fundamentalism that pervades the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate economics. In this course we ask the following questions: How does mainstream economic theory conceptualize key aspects of social reality, including human behavior, markets, and government? How would alternative economic theories explain those same aspects? What do assumptions of perfect competition, market efficiency, and rational expectations imply for economic policymaking, and how accurate are they in describing the actual functioning of the economy? In the first half of this course, the readings will introduce key micro-economic concepts from mainstream and non-mainstream approaches. In the second half, students will work on putting together a presentation dedicated to teaching one or more economic concepts to a general audience. This class is an inaugural course in a collaboration between Hampshire College and the Econ4 network.

Multinational institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are widely recognized as leading forces behind neo-liberal globalization. What is less clear is the role each plays in the process. This course is an introduction to and critical examination of the African experience with multinational institutions and globalization. Topics will include, overall economic performance throughout the continent in the past 30 years; the impact of IMF and World Bank programs; challenges confronting agricultural development and the impact of EU and US subsidies on the livelihoods of farmers; the rise and recent success (such as in the Cancun Ministerial) of developing country coalitions within the WTO such as the African Group and African Caribbean Partnership and their potential for increasing the power of African nations within the global arena; an exploration of viable development alternatives -including industrial and agricultural policies- as well as a discussion of democratic reforms that took place in the 1990s and their implication for proposed solutions to poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. REA, WRI, MCP, PRJ, PRS, QUA

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