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Issues and Perspectives in International Politics: The Politics of Development




Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 200-level and 300-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact

the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


This course explores issues in political, economic, and social development and underdevelopment in a range of

countries in the third world. It aims to acquaint students with the major challenges faced by developing

countries, and with attempts and strategies in national and international politics to address them. We study

this field on a thematic basis (dealing with contemporary issues such as democratic change, inequality, rapid

urbanization, cultural pluralism, ethnic conflict, and politics and religion) and in a comparative

perspective. Our handbook analysis development challenges, a selection of articles will place these challenges

in an international political perspective.

Course Objectives

This course aims to

  1. Provide students an overview of theoretical and conceptual instruments to analyze issues of development and


  1. To acquaint students with general and specific problems of developing countries, and to show that

development issues are central to some of the most important concerns in the world today.

  1. To develop analytical and research skills by writing a research based paper on a subject related to the

issues in this course.

Mode of Instruction

Classes are primarily meant to explain and discuss the literature. Students are expected study the literature

each week and prepare for class by thinking of questions, critiques, and points for discussion to be brought


Work in the seminar is based on discussions of the literature and real world cases. Preparation is essential

for participation in the class and for everyone’s learning experience. All the students need to read all texts

in advance!

Moreover, students will be assigned presentations of part of the literature.
Each session will start with a 15-20 minutes presentation of an assigned text by the students, followed by a

discussion chaired by the lecturer. Presentations are NOT intended to be summaries of the texts but critical

analyses of the main argument. They should pick out the main themes, questions and arguments, and comment on

how these relate to the topic of this course. A good presentation initiates discussion (preferably by

presenting discussion issues).

Finally, students will (in the second half of the course) present and discuss their end-paper proposal in






Contact Information

Dr. Frank de Zwart (zwart@fsw.leidenuniv.nl)

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Understanding underdevelopment
Week 2: Democratic Change/ Religion and Politics
Week 3: Pluralism and Ethnic Conflict/The Dilemma of Recognition
Week 4: Weak States/Strong Societies
Week 5: International Organizations and Politics
Week 6: Urbanization and the Politics of Rural Change/ presentation paper- proposal
Week 7: Main themes and questions.

Preparation for first session