Spring 2008 Courses of Note

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African Philosophy (Philosophy 429)

Dr. Ciaffa

This course will provide an introduction to African philosophy. The course will be divided into three parts. Part I will focus on recent debates about the nature and scope of African philosophy. Issues to be examined here include: (1) philosophy and colonialism; (2) the significance of traditional African beliefs for contemporary philosophical practice; (3) individual thinkers and communal wisdom; and (4) writing versus speech as vehicles for philosophical expression. In Parts II and III we will then turn more explicitly to philosophical issues concerning (5) science, technology, and modernization in Africa; and (6) African moral and political theory.

Third World Development (Political Science 359 / International Studies 310)

Fr. Mike Connolly, S.J.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The vast majority of Earth’s population lives in the developing world. Because of its large population, increasing role in the international economy, frequent conflicts and humanitarian crises, and importance to environmental preservation, the developing world is a growing focus of international concern. Developing countries have figured prominently in the recent protests over globalization, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the U. S. were connected to events in certain developing countries.

Developing countries demonstrate considerable ethnic, cultural, political, and economic diversity, making generalizations about them difficult. This course seeks to provide students with an understanding of the diversity and complexity of the developing world and to acquaint them with the challenges that these nations confront.

We begin by exploring two fundamental terms that we will be attempting to define throughout the course: What is the 'Third World'? And does that term still mean something at the dawn of the 21st century? What does 'development' mean to you?

First, we trace the making of the Third World by examining the processes of colonialism and imperialism whereby once largely traditional societies were transformed into today's transitional ones. The legacy of colonialism or the heritage of the past still has a tremendous influence on the Third World.

Then, we will investigate the controversy over whether globalization and the structural adjustment programs (SAPs) imposed by the World Bank and the IMF (the so-called “Washington Consensus”) on Third World countries actually foster economic growth and development or make matters worse, especially for the poor. Are there any alternative approaches to development that are worthy of consideration?

This semester we will also examine Jeffrey Sachs’ recommendations about how the great challenges facing global society could be met through global cooperation and action. In addition, we will study the reasons for and implications of the numerous democratic transitions that have taken place in the Third World over the last three decades as well as the importance of good governance in fighting corruption in the Third World.

In the second half of the semester we will draw on the concepts already studied to examine in detail five case studies of important Third World states–one from Latin America (Peru), two from Africa (Nigeria and Zimbabwe), one from the Middle East (Iran), and one from Southeast Asia (Indonesia).

READINGS: Two required texts are available at the Bookstore: 1) December Green & Laura Luehrmann, COMPARATIVE POLITICS OF THE THIRD WORLD: LINKING CONCEPTS AND CASES [G&L]; 2) Jeffrey D. Sachs, THE END OF POVERTY: ECONOMIC POSSIBILITIES FOR OUR TIME [S].