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Thematic Seminar: Emerging Economies: Policy and Problems of Growth and Development


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
The number of participants is limited to 24.

Please note that passing a Thematic Seminar (10 EC) in the second year, second semester, is an entry requirement for starting your thesis in academic year 2024-2025. You need to have passed a minimum of 100 EC of year 1 and 2 of the International Studies programme as well in order to start your thesis.


The rise of emerging economies has implications for the debate on the political economy of development. Have the emerging economies significantly reshaped the global political and economic order that was initially designed and maintained by the traditional advanced economic powers? Recent economic growth trajectories indicate possibilities of new developmental models as alternatives to the Western liberal ones, especially while the latter have suffered decline in the post-crisis era. Among all the emerging economies, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) have attracted the most attention for their individual economic growth and their cooperative relations. These debates offer us the opportunity to consider larger questions concerning economic development, the meaning and redistribution of power in the global political economy (GPE) and the implications of emerging economies for issues such as the environment, crisis, inequality and migration.

This course is concerned with these debates. Specifically, we examine the development paths of emerging economies, the balance of state and markets to generate development, and the roles played by emerging “powers” in global economic trends. Firstly, we will examine the concepts of development that will enable us to understand these themes. We will then examine the economic and institutional development in individual cases of major emerging economies. In the second half of the course, we will focus on the emerging economies in a variety of global themes such as poverty, environment and agrarian change.

Course objectives

The Thematic Seminars for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the multidisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:

Oral and written presentation skills:

1. To explain clear and substantiated research results.
2. To provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course:

  • in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;

  • in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;

  • using up-to-date presentation techniques;

  • using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;

  • aimed at a specific audience.
    3. To actively participate in a discussion

Collaboration skills:

1. To provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position.
2. To adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:

1. To collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques.
2. To analyse and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability.
3. To formulate on this basis a sound research question.
4. To design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved.
5. To formulate a substantiated conclusion.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the Midterm Exam week. This includes supervised research.

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

This course is organized as a seminar. Critical student engagement is therefore essential for the success of the course and for the assessment of student performance. The course evaluation is as follows:

Partial grade Weighing Comments
Participation (in class discussion and weekly question submissions) 20% Ongoing
Presentation 30%
Final Research Essay - 5,000 words (between 4,500 and 5,500) 50%

I. Engagement / Participation: Students are expected to attend all meetings, and to participate in course discussions. Since this is a seminar, thoughtful engagement is central to the course’s success. Students are therefore required to complete all readings in advance of the seminar meetings. Mere attendance will not be sufficient to earn a good grade. Students will also be asked to post a question on Blackboard, each week, relating to the material and/or topic of the course. The question should be posted, at the latest, the night before the course.

II. Mid-Semester paper: Students will write one essay as a midterm examination. You will be expected to pose your own research question based on the seminar themes and write 1500 words in response. Papers should present an original argument and demonstrate an understanding of the readings and themes from the previous weeks. Please note that this is an analytical rather than a descriptive exercise. Do not summarize! The writing style should follow the format of an analytical literature review. You can choose additional readings and an appropriate citation style is expected. Papers should be submitted on Brightspace, by XX.

III. Student tutorial: In groups of two or three, students will be expected to give a 15-20 min presentation on a subject that relates to the theme of the week’s class. Marks will be given for creative, interesting and imaginative tutorials. This should not be a presentation that simply summarises the week’s readings. Rather, students should develop a tutorial that includes an exercise that covers an empirical example or case that fits with the week’s theme. Students could select a media article, piece of writing or short film to discuss in class, plan a role play or develop another pedagogical activity. The tutorial should last no longer than 30 minutes. Students must email their plans for their class two days before the seminar.

IV. Final Paper: The final paper is an academic research paper, which will allow you to explore a topic of interest to you related to the literature and themes of the course. The paper is due on Friday 7 June 2024. This is a firm deadline. Carefully plan your workload accordingly. Students will choose from among the thematic topics covered in the course and develop an original research paper on a question related to that theme. We will discuss the final paper and your individual ideas for the paper in the final session.
The final paper should be 5000 words (+/-10%), contain a clear introduction, argument, and sufficient evidence to support the argument. This is a research paper and therefore requires external, and particularly peer-reviewed, sources. Papers should be clear and succinct, with an unambiguous thesis in the introduction.

Course Policies

Students are expected to attend all classes. Classes can only be missed for a good reason. Students who are unable to come to class because of illness should inform their lecturers and instructors beforehand. If you fail to show up in class, this may impact the level of your assignments in such a way that you will not be able to pass the course. Students should arrive to class early.

Active engagement is expected in the class. Think about your contribution to the learning environment in the class. Do not hesitate to contribute. If you find you generally speak too little, make an extra effort to speak up and speak more. As well, be mindful not to dominate the conversation. If you tend to speak too much, step back and offer space to your other colleagues. Feel comfortable to ask questions about the material. If it is on your mind, it is probably on some of you classmates’ minds as well.
Be an active agent in your own learning process. Ultimately, you are responsible for your learning. If you encounter trouble with the classroom experience, the material, or assignments, consult with your instructor sooner rather than later.

All written assignments should be 1.5 spaced, with a standard font size. Students should not go over the maximum word limit and should not adjust page margins. Students must use one reference style accurately and consistently throughout their assignments. Chicago Manual of Style with footnotes is strongly recommended. No assignment will be accepted more than five days after the due date unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor or tutor. Extensions are granted at the sole discretion of the instructor/tutor. Students are advised to back up their work and complete their assignments in advance. Technical difficulties and random last-minute mayhem will not be accepted as valid excuses for extension.
Plagiarism is a serious offense and could result in a failing grade for the assignment and/or the course as well as disciplinary action by the department or the University. At this stage, students are expected to know how to source appropriately. As well, they should neither present someone else’s work as their own nor submit papers that are significantly similar in more than one course. Students should familiarize themselves with the University’s policies on plagiarism. Should they have questions or concerns about what may constitute a violation of academic integrity, they should speak with the instructor or tutor.

Recording of seminars is not permitted.

The best way to communicate with me is during office hours or via email. I will aim to respond to emails within 3 working days. Please note that this means inquiries about an assignment the day before the due date will not be guaranteed a response before the due date. Any matters beyond short questions should be addressed during office hours or by appointment.

Course Structure:

Week 1. Introduction: What is an emerging economy? What is development? ().
Week 2. Development choices: State-led growth ().
Week 3. Development choices: Market-led growth and the Washington Consensus ().
Week 4. The Rise of China ().
Week 5. The Other BRICS ().
Week 6. Divergence or Convergence? ().
Week 7. Reading Week () – mid-term paper due
Week 8. Multipolarity – Cooperation or Conflict? ().
Week 9. Inequality and the Causes of Poverty ().
Week 10. Labour and Development. ().
Week 11. Environment and Development. ().
Week 12. Agrarian Change and Food Security. ()
Week 13. Wrapping up and Preparing for the Final Essay. ()

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the End Grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.


Students who score an overall insufficient grade for the course, are allowed resubmit a reworked version of the Final Essay. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the Final Research Essay and subsequent feedback.
In case of resubmission of the Final Research Essay the final grade for the Essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.

Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, but still within 5 working days of that deadline, will receive a grade and feedback on their essay. This will be considered a first submission of the final essay, however, the grade will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.
Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, and also fail to hand in their essay within 5 working days of that deadline, get 10 working days, counting from the original deadline, to hand in the first version of their final essay. However, this first version counts as a resubmitted essay with consequential lowering of the grade, and there will be no option of handing in a reworked version based on feedback from the lecturer.

Retaking a passing grade

Retaking a passing grade is not possible for this course.

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2023 – 2024.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.


Brightspace will be used. Students are requested to register on Brightspace for this course.

Academic Integrity

Students are advised to familiarize themselves with Leiden University’s policies on plagiarism: Violations of academic integrity will be met with severe penalties.

Reading list

1. Introduction: What is an emerging economy? What is development? (All readings in week one are recommended rather than required).

  • P. Hopper, (2012). Understanding Development. Cambridge: Polity. Introduction and Chapter 1

  • D. Rodrik, (2002). “Institutions, Integration, and Geography: In Search of the Deep Determinants of Economic Growth”. Copy at

  • Kenny C. and D. Williams (2001), What Do We Know About Economic Growth? Or, Why Don't We Know Very Much? World Development Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 1±22, 2001

Students not familiar with the field of international political economy theory can consult these introductory chapters:

  • Robert O’Brien and Marc Williams (2013) “Theories of Global Political Economy,” Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics 4th edition. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan: pp 7-22.

  • Ben Clift (2014) Comparative Political Economy: States, Markets, and Global Capitalism. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan: pp 1-19 from chapter 1 and pp 29-44 from chapter 2.

2. Development choices: State-led growth.

  • J. Lin & Ha-Joon Chang (2009) “Should Industrial Policy in Developing Countries Conform to Comparative Advantage or Defy It? A Debate,” Development Policy Review 27:5 483-502.

  • Kohli, Atul. (2009) “Nationalist Versus Dependent Capitalist Development: Alternate Pathways of Asia and Latin America in a Globalized World,” Studies in Comparative International Development, Vol. 44: 386-410

  • Leftwich, Adrian. “Bringing Politics Back In: Towards a Model of the Developmental State,” The Journal of Developmental Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3, (February 1995): 400-427

3. Development choices: Market-led growth and the Washington Consensus.

  • D. Harvey (2005) A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press), Introduction & chapters. 1-2.

  • Riddell J. B. (1992). Things Fall Apart Again: Structural Adjustment Programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Modern African Studies 30(1), 53-68. [E-Journal]

  • Dani Rodrik. (2006) “Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion? A Review of the World Bank's Economic Growth in the 1990s: Learning from a Decade of Reform”. Journal of Economic Literature. Vol. XLIV, pp. 973-987.

4. The Rise of China.

  • Shambaugh, D. (2013) China goes Global: the Partial Power (Oxford University Press)- Chapter 5 China’s Global Economic Presence

  • Arrighi, Giovanni. (2007). “Origins and Dynamic of the Chinese Ascent” in Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century, London: Verso, 351-378.

  • Diego Trindade d’Ávila Magalhães (2018) The globaliser dragon: how is China changing economic globalisation?, Third World Quarterly, 39:9, 1727-1749, DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2018.1432352

5. The other BRICS.

  • Kohli, Atul. (2007). “State, Business, and Economic Growth in India.” Studies in Comparative International Development 42(1-2): 87-114

  • J. Cooper (2006) Of BRICs and Brains: Comparing Russia with China, India, and Other Populous Emerging Economies, Eurasian Geography and Economics, 47:3, 255-284, DOI: 10.2747/1538-7216.47.3.255

  • Prates, D.M., Fritz, B. and Paula, L.F. (2017) ‘Brazil at Crossroads: A Critical Assessment of Developmentalist Policies’. In: Arestis, P., Baltar, C.T. and Prates, D.M. The Brazilian Economy since the Great Financial Crisis of 2007/2008. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Pp. 9-39.

6. Divergence or Convergence?

  • Saad-Filho, Alfredo. "The ‘Rise of the South’ and the Troubles of Global Convergence." Growth and Change in Neoliberal Capitalism. Brill, 2020. 63-86.

  • Wade R. (2016), “Industrial Policy in Response to the Middle-income Trap and the Third Wave of the Digital Revolution” Global Policy, Volume 7, Issue 4, November 2016, Pages 469–480 (

  • Hickel, Jason. (2017). Is Global Inequality Getting Better or Worse?: A Critique of the World Bank’s Convergence Narrative. Third World Quarterly, 38(10), pp. 2208-2222. ISSN 0143-6597

7. No class. Mid-term Examination week.

8. Multipolarity – Cooperation or Conflict?

  • Hopewell, Kristen. (2017). “BRICS – Merely a Fable? Emerging Power Alliances in Global Trade Governance.” International Affairs 93(6): 1377-96.

  • Alf Gunvald Nilsen & Karl von Holdt (2019) Rising powers, people rising: neo-liberalization and its discontents in the BRICS countries, Globalizations, 16:2, 121-136, DOI: 10.1080/14747731.2018.1479018

  • Wade, R. (2011) ‘Emerging World Order? From Multipolarity to Multilateralism in the G20, the World Bank, and the IMF’, Politics & Society 39(3): 347-377

9. Inequality and the Causes of Poverty.

  • Escobar, A. (2008). The Problematization of Poverty: The Tale of Three Worlds and Development. In S. Chari, & S. Corbridge (Eds.), The Development Reader, 131-141. London & New York: Routledge. [LRC] [UL]

  • Rodney, W. (1973) “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” Chapter 6

  • Ortiz-Juarez, E, Sumner, A & Hoy, C 2020 “Precarity and the Pandemic. COVID-19 and Poverty Incidence, Intensity, and Severity in Developing Countries” WIDER Working Paper, no. 77/2020.

10. Labour and Development.

  • Mezzadri, Alessandra (2016) “Class, gender and the sweatshop: on the nexus between labour commodification and exploitation” Third World Quarterly

  • G. Carswell and G. De Neve (2013), “Labouring for global markets: Conceptualising labour agency in global production networks,” Geoforum, 44(1): 62–70.

  • Chang, Dae-oup (2016) 'From a Global Factory to Continent of Labour: Labour and Development in Asia', Asia Labour Review, Vol. 1, pp. 1-48. Download here: /_PROGRAM_FCKeditor_UserFiles/files/01-alr-v1_chang.pdf

11. Environment and Development.

  • Hickel, Jason. (2018). Is it Possible to Achieve a Good Life for All within Planetary Boundaries? Third World Quarterly, 40(1), pp. 18-35. ISSN 0143-6597

  • Hochstetler, K. and Milkoreit, M. (2014) “Emerging Powers in the Climate Negotiations: Shifting Identity Conceptions,” Political Research Quarterly, 67 (1): 224-235

  • Hong, D.-L., Chien, S.-S., & Liao, Y.-K. (2019). “Green developmentalism and trade-offs between natural preservation and environmental exploitation in China” Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.

12. Agrarian Change and Food Security.

  • Alexander Y.Prosekova and Svetlana A.Ivanova (2018) “Food Security: The Challenge of the Present”. Geoforum, vol. 91, pp. 73–77., doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.02.030.

  • Jennifer Clapp, Peter Newell & Zoe W. Brent (2018) “The global political economy of climate change, agriculture and food systems” The Journal of Peasant Studies, 45:1, 80-88, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2017.1381602

  • Altieri, Miguel A. & Toledo, Victor Manuel (2011) “The agroecological revolution in Latin America: rescuing nature, ensuring food sovereignty and empowering peasants” The Journal of Peasant Studies Pages 587-612.

13. Wrapping up and Preparing for the Final Essay.

  • You will be asked to present your essay plan.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, or;

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.


Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 15 December 2023:

  1. On 15 December 2023 you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
  2. Indicate there which are your 5 preferred Thematic Seminars, in order of preference.
  3. Based on preferences indicated by 8 January 2024 the course Coordinator will assign you to one specific Thematic Seminar by 22 January 2024.
  4. Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.

Students cannot register in uSis for the Thematic Seminar courses, or be allowed into a Thematic Seminar course in any other way.



The deadline for submission of the Final Essay is Friday 7 June 2024.