Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

POSC 321: Politics Of Developing Nations

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  Course Description

Analysis of the governmental structures and roles played by developing nations in contemporary world affairs. Course meets multicultural graduation requirement. 

Prerequisite: None

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  Handelman, H. (2017). Challenges of the Developing World (8th ed). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing.  eText

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

Welcome to Politics of Developing Nations (POSC 321), online! The “developing world” encompasses a diverse set of countries ranging from Brazil to Saudi Arabia to Mozambique. Once referred to as the Third World, this group of countries was at one time a catch-all category for countries that did not make up the wealthy, industrialized capitalist states (the “First World”) or did not belong to the “Second World” made up of the Soviet Union and its satellites. As a result, the countries of the developing world encompass a variety of political systems, ranging from democracies to authoritarian regimes. They also include countries with vastly different levels of wealth and measures of human welfare.

A few countries that were once considered part of the Third World, such as South Korea, are now considered ‘developed’, while other countries have seen their conditions grow worse over time. There is not only great diversity between states of the developing world, but within them as well. China has seen a huge growth in wealth over the last few decades, with a third of the population moving into the ranks of the middle class.  Meanwhile in the rural areas of China, millions remain in desperate poverty.

Despite these dramatic differences, the developing world does share some important common features. Most were at one time colonies of one of the European powers. Many countries face conditions, such as extreme poverty, high rates of population growth and political instability. According to the United Nations, approximately 1.2 billion people around the world earn less than $1 per day and nearly 3 billion make less than $2 per day. Many countries face enormous challenges in closing the economic gap between themselves and the countries of the First World, creating effective and legitimate governments, and in striking a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. Much of the course will be focused on explaining the plight of the ‘bottom billion’ and what can be done to improve the situation for the world’s most impoverished countries.

Why should we be interested in problems and prospects of the developing world? Most of the world is the developing world. Two-thirds of the world’s countries and nearly 80% of its population live in the developing world. Furthermore, we live in an increasingly interdependent world, where events in one part of the globe have repercussions far removed geographically.

In this course we will investigate the challenges facing the countries of the developing world in three main areas:  economic, political and social. Our general discussion of these topics will be illustrated with numerous specific examples from a variety of countries.

At the conclusion of this course students should have an appreciation of the diverse range of states that make up the developing world. Students should also be familiar with the major economic, political, and social challenges facing the developing world and the way these countries and the international community have addressed them.

This course meets the Multicultural graduation requirement.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain how development is measured and assess the development challenges facing countries of the Global South.
  2. Assess theories of political and economic development as they apply to the developing world.
  3. Analyze Development Strategies.
  4. Explain sources of conflict in the developing world, particularly ethnic conflict, and ways to resolve it.
  5. Explain the causes and consequences of military intervention in politics.
  6. Explain the role of religion in Third World societies.
  7. Explain the role of women in Third World societies.
  8. Integrate appropriate secondary sources into an analysis of contemporary politics within the developing world.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (25) 250 25%
Short Papers (2) 150 15%
Term Paper 150 15%
Midterm Exam 225 22%
Final Exam 225 22%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion 10 Wednesday
Discussion 1 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 2 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 3 10 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 5 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 6 10 Sunday
Short Paper 1: Economic Underdevelopment 75
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 9 10 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 11 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 12 10 Sunday
Midterm Exam 225

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 14 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 15 10 Sunday
Short Paper 2: Country Political Profile 75

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 16 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 17 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 18 10 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 19 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 20 10 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 21 10 Sunday
Term Paper 150

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 22 10 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 23 10 Friday/Saturday
Discussion 24 10 Saturday
Final Exam 225
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


Each week you will be asked to respond to multiple discussion topics. The first topic is always due by Wednesday 11:59 p.m. CT; the second is always due by Friday 11:59 p.m. CT; the last topic is always due by Sunday 11:59 p.m. CT, except for Week 8 when the last topic is due by Saturday 11:59 p.m. CT. Answers to questions include a complete response to each part of the question, examples from the assigned readings, as well as references to outside materials, and your personal experiences when appropriate. Most responses will require at least 4-5 full paragraphs to adequately respond to the question.


In addition to submitting your original post in each discussion topic, you are expected to respond to at least two other students by 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday each week (Saturday in Week 8). Your assigned readings, and sometimes outside research, will be required to answer all questions and to respond to classmates.  These responses to classmates may be in one topic or multiple topics. Responses to other students should be substantive. Don’t just simply agree or disagree with what someone else has posted. Share your own ideas about their posts or bring in additional information. Failure to respond to others will result in a loss of 2 points for each missing response. I strongly encourage you to read your classmates’ responses. We can learn a lot from each other!


I will read and evaluate each and every discussion posting. I will respond to selected students’ posts with comments or follow-up questions; you should respond to my comments or questions I post during the discussion.

Short Papers

There will be 2 short papers, each with a length of 4 pages, not including any title page or bibliography.

Detailed guidelines can be found in the Content area of the course. They should be produced in Word format and submitted to the Dropbox area of the course by the assigned due dates.

The Short Papers must be original to this course. Papers from previous courses, or submitted to other colleges are not accepted. Papers with plagiarized information will be submitted to Student Affairs and a grade deduction, and/or failure of the course may result. Student Affairs may take further disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. All papers must be written in APA format.

Term Paper

There will be 1 major research paper of 8-10 pages in length. The topic will need to be approved by the instructor. The paper should state and defend an argument about the politics of some ongoing issue, struggle or development affecting one or more countries of the developing world. The paper topic must not have been previously addressed in a short paper.

The Term Paper must be original to this course. Papers from previous courses, or submitted to other colleges are not accepted. Papers with plagiarized information will be submitted to Student Affairs and a grade deduction, and/or failure of the course may result. Student Affairs may take further disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. The paper must be written in APA format.


There will be a proctored Midterm and Final Exam. Students are not permitted to use books, notes, the internet or any other outside materials on the examinations. The uses of cell phones, pagers or flash drives are strictly prohibited.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.


Handelman Chapter 1: “Understanding Underdevelopment

Online reading on colonialism

Of Cars and Carts” Development in Mexico http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21664939-despite-decades-reform-most-mexicans-are-still-long-way-wealth-and-modernity-cars

Introduction Discussion

Introduce yourself in the "Introductions" topic of the Discussions area of the course. Please share more than just your name. Include your major, profession, hobbies, and any other information that can help us get to know you.

Discussion 1

What does it mean to say a country is Developing, Less Developed or Underdeveloped? What do these terms mean to you? Are they useful labels?

Discussion 2

Compare and contrast modernization and dependency theories. How does each focus on different causes of underdevelopment? What do you see as the most important strengths and weaknesses of each theory?

Discussion 3

What was the impact of colonialism on the developing world?

How does the legacy of colonialism still affect politics today? Give specific examples. 


Paul Collier, Chapters 2-5: The Bottom Billion

Online Readings on corruption.

Online reading on youth bulge.

Discussion 4

The presence of natural resources might be beneficial for development or can be a curse as pointed out in Collier in Chapter 3.  


In what ways can the presence of resources hold back a country’s development?


What can be done to minimize these negative effects? Include specific examples drawn from your own research.

Discussion 5

Current Events:

You should post a summary and reaction to a current news story from the developing world.

Most weeks you will focus on a different region of the developing world.

This week choose news from the continent of Africa.  Try to find something related to economic development.

Discussion 6

How does corruption take a toll on development? What can the international community and countries themselves do to fight corruption?

Short Paper 1: Economic Underdevelopment

Detailed guidelines can be found in the Content area of the course.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.

Handelman Chapter 9: “The Political Economy of the Developing World” pp. 275-297

Paul Collier Chapter 7: “Aid to the Rescue

Haiti Doesn’t Need your old T-shirtForeign Policy http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/11/haiti-doesnt-need-your-old-t-shirt/

The Aid Industry Failed Haiti after its 2010 Quakehttp://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/03/the-aid-industry-failed-haiti-after-its-2010-quake.html

In Nigeria, Chinese Investment Comes with a Downsidehttp://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/06/business/international/in-nigeria-chinese-investment-comes-with-a-downside.html 

How the Most Dangerous Place on Earth Got Saferhttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/14/opinion/sunday/how-the-most-dangerous-place-on-earth-got-a-little-bit-safer.html

Discussion 7

Under what circumstances has substantial state intervention into the economy been helpful and in what cases has it had negative effects?

According to you, what should be the role of the state in promoting economic development?

Discussion 8

Current Events:


This week we look at current events in Asia.


Post a summary and reaction to a current news story from Asia.

Discussion 9

Do wealthy countries have an obligation to provide aid to less developed countries? Is it in the interests of the North to provide foreign aid? How do you think aid can be used most effectively?


Handelman Chapter 6: “Politics of the Rural and Urban Poor

Collier The Bottom Billion  Chapter 11: “Trade Policy for Reversing Marginalization

Online readings on trade

Two Cheers for Sweatshopshttp://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/20000924mag-sweatshops.html

Rethinking Sweatshop Economicshttp://fpif.org/rethinking_sweatshop_economics/

In China, Human Costs are Built Into an iPadhttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Online readings on microcredit

More Evidence, Less Povertyhttp://searChapterebscohost.com.proxy.ccis.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=109384960

Discussion 10

Explain what is meant by the concept of land reform. Although agrarian reform projects have fallen out of favor today, there are still some who argue for its value. What do you think are the most important arguments for restarting land reform? Despite these arguments why do you think agrarian reform has not been implemented more fully?

Discussion 11

Should we view sweatshops as promoters of development or exploiter of developing world labor? Should we see efforts by multinational corporations to develop codes of conduct as a meaningful step to improve working conditions? Why or why not?

Discussion 12

To what extent has global free trade policies, such as the WTO worked for or against developing countries? How could developing countries utilize trade more effectively? Include additional research on a trade agreement of your choice, such as NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, the TPP, etc.

Midterm Exam

Please complete the midterm exam anytime between Monday 12:01.a.m. CT to Sunday 11:59.p.m. CT in week 4.


Handelman Chapter 2: “The Surge and Partial Retreat of Democracy

Brownlee, Jason & Masoud, T and Reynolds, A. (2013) Why the Modest Harvest? Journal of Democracy 24(4), 29-44 http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jod/summary/v024/24.4.brownlee.html

Online reading on the current state of democracy

Discussion 13

Discuss the prerequisites of democracy. Are there some prerequisites that you think are more important than the others?

Discussion 14

Current Events:

Post a summary and reaction to a current news story from the Middle East.

Discussion 15

How do you assess future prospects for the spread of democracy in the developing world?

What are some of the challenges in making the transition to democracy?

For example, how does the Arab Spring illustrate the difficulty of transitioning to democracy?

Short Paper 2: Country Political Profile

Detailed guidelines can be found in the Content area of the course.


Handelman Chapter 3: “Religion and Politics

Online reading on the governing structure of Iran 

Online readings on ISIS

Discussion 16

Why did early analysts of religion in the developing world think that modernization would lead to a diminished role for organized religion? Has this happened and, if not, why not?

How do you see the relationship between political development, including democracy and religion?

Discussion 17

Current Events: This week we look at current events related to religion in the developing world.

Discussion 18

What factors have led to the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism (or revivalism) in the Muslim world? What do you think attracts people to Islamism?

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.

Handelman Chapter 4: “The Politics of Cultural Pluralism and Ethnic Conflict


Handelman Chapter 8: “Soldiers and Politics


Is There any Hope Left for South Sudan?” The New Yorker July 14, 2016 http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/is-there-any-hope-left-for-south-sudan


Understanding the Roots of Conflict in South Sudan” Council on Foreign Relations September 14, 2016 http://www.cfr.org/south-sudan/understanding-roots-conflict-south-sudan/p38298


South Sudan Leaders Amass Great Wealth as Nation Suffers, Report Says” NYT Sept 12, 2016 http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/world/africa/south-sudan-salva-kiir-riek-machar-corruption.html?_r=0 

Discussion 19

What do you think are the most important explanations for ethnic conflict in the developing world? Give examples from recent conflicts.

Discussion 20

Do your own research on an ongoing ethnic or religious conflict based on the information found at the International Crisis Group www.crisisgroup.org

Provide some background on the conflict.

Who are the major actors and what are the sources of the conflict?

What are the prospects for a peaceful resolution?

Do any of the peaceful resolutions to conflict discussed in Chapter 4 seem possible?

Discussion 21

Why have militaries frequently intervened in the politics of developing world nations? What are the strengths and weaknesses of military governments?

Term Paper

There will be 1 major research paper of 8-10 pages in length. The topic will need to be approved by the instructor. The paper should state and defend an argument about the politics of some ongoing issue, struggle or development affecting one or more countries of the developing world. The paper topic must not have been previously addressed in a short paper.

The Term Paper must be original to this course. Papers from previous courses, or submitted to other colleges are not accepted. Papers with plagiarized information will be submitted to Student Affairs and a grade deduction, and/or failure of the course may result. Student Affairs make take further disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. The paper must be written in APA format.


Handelman Chapter 5: “Women and Development

Handelman Chapter 9: “The Political Economy of the Developing World” pp. 297-314

Discussion 22

Why are women considered so crucial to economic and political development in the developing world? How do you assess the future prospects for improving the economic and political status of women in the developing world?

Discussion 23

In what ways does economic growth in the Third World contribute to environmental degradation? Is sustainable development an achievable goal or a hopeless utopian dream?

Discussion 24

Based on what you have learned this term, how do you assess the future prospects for development in the Global South? Are you more optimistic or pessimistic? Illustrate your answer with your own research into at least one region of the developing world.

Final Exam

Please complete the final exam anytime between Monday 12:01 a.m. CT to Saturday 11:59 p.m. CT in Week 8.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.


Late initial posts will be marked down one point for each day late.  No posts, initial and responses, will be accepted after Sunday at 11:59 pm CT, with the exception of Week 8 which ends Saturday at 11:59 pm CT. 



Late submission of papers will result in the deduction of one half letter grade for each day late. All assignments must be submitted using the course “Dropbox.”Using email or other methods of delivery for your assignments is not allowed. It is the student’s responsibility to get their work in on time.



Exams must be taken by the deadline posted above. No exams submitted late will be accepted! No make-up tests will be given unless the instructor gives prior permission! If the instructor authorizes an alternate exam period, the student and instructor will coordinate for a make-up examination to be taken as soon as possible. It is the student’s responsibility to make alternate arrangements with their approved proctor. Emergencies should be communicated and documented to the instructor as soon as possible.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.