POLS 1500: Themes in Global Politics Ohio University, Dr.Brandon Kendhammer

Course Schedule (By Session)

Prologue: Thinking like a Social Scientist, Thinking like a Global Citizen

Unit Learning Questions

  1. How do social scientists explore questions about how politics works, and what kinds of concepts/ideas guide them?
  2. How do they apply these concepts to social phenomena?
  • Monday, January 14: Introduction

Introduction to the course, review of the syllabus, initial lecture and discussion

  • Wednesday, January 16: Thinking about Politics Like a Social Scientist

Reading: C.Wright Mills (1959), The Sociological Imagination, pp. 3-18

Richard Wike and Alexandra Castillo, "Many Around the World Are Disengaged from Politics," Pew Research Center, October 17, 2018 (only read this page)


Course Module 1: Capitalism and Democracy - How Politics Shapes Economics

Unit Learning Questions:

  1. How do politics shape the economic actions of businesses and individuals? And how do the economic interests of businesses and individuals shape the political process?
  2. How (and how much) do governments in advanced industrial countries regulate their economies? What interests do they take into account? Who are the winners and losers of these choices?
  3. What ought governments do to protect citizens from the economic ups and downs inherent in capitalist economies, and to balance the power held by business interests with their democratic ideals?
  • Friday, January 18: Introducing the "Great Recession"

Reading: Annie Lowrey, "The Great Recession is Still With Us," The Atlantic (online), Dec. 1, 2017

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Chart Book: The Legacy of the Great Recession," December 10, 2018

Brian Alexander, Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an All-American Town (Picador, 2017), Preface-Chapter 1

Optional Reading: "To the Brink and Back: A Financial Crisis Timeline," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 9, 2018

  • Monday, January 21: No Class, MLK, jr. Holiday Observed (all classes cancelled)
  • Wednesday, January 23: Immediate Causes of the "Great Recession" (I): Subprime Lending and the Housing Bubble

Listening:  This American Life Podcast: The Giant Pool of Money (Free to stream on their website, $0.99 to download)

  • Friday, January 25: Immediate Causes of the "Great Recession" (II): How Bad Mortgage Loans Became an Economy Killer

Reading: Alan Blinder (2014), After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, The Response, and the Work Ahead (Penguin, 2014), Chapters 2 and 3

  • Monday, January 28: The Deep Roots of the "Great Recession" (I): A Brief History of Globalization, Politics, and Economics (and How America Became the Big World Power)

Brian Alexander, Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an All-American Town (Picador, 2017), Chapter 2

  • Wednesday, January 30: The Deep Roots of the "Great Recession" (II) - The End of the Post-War Boom in America and the Financialization of Life

Reading: Mike Konczal and Nell Abernathy, "Defining Financialization," Roosevelt Institute, July 27, 2015, pp. 1-22

Brian Alexander, Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an All-American Town (Picador, 2017), Chapter 3

  • Friday, February 1: The Deep Roots of the "Great Recession" (III) - The Financialization of Life

Reading: Mike Konczal and Nell Abernathy, "Defining Financialization," Roosevelt Institute, July 27, 2015, p. 23-end

Brian Alexander, Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an All-American Town (Picador, 2017), Chapters 4-5

  • Monday, February 4: The Perils of a Global Economy - The European Side of the Crisis

Reading: Nouriel Roubini and Steven Mihm, Crisis Economics (Penguin, 2010), Chapter 5, "Global Pandemics"

Timothy Garton Ash, "The Crisis of Europe: How the Union Came Together, and Why its Falling Apart," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2012

  • Wednesday, February 6: How Do You Fix a Financial Crisis?

Reading: Alan Blinder, After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, The Response, and the Work Ahead (Penguin, 2014), Chapter 7 and Chapter 12

Marina Karanikolos et al (2013), "Financial crisis, austerity, and health in Europe,The Lancet v. 381, no. 9874: 1323-1331

  • Friday, February 8: Why Things Didn't Get Better (for Everyone, at Least)

Reading: Brian Alexander, Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an All-American Town (Picador, 2017), Chapters 6-10

  • Monday, February 11: Capitalism and Democracy, or What's the Role of a Democratic Government in a Capitalist Economy?

Reading: Milton Friedman (1962), Capitalism and Freedom, (University of Chicago Press), Chapter One, "The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom," pp. 7-21

Charles Lindblom (1982), “The Market as Prison,” Journal of Politics, 44:2, pp. 324-36

  • Wednesday, February 13: Inequality and Capitalism in Democracy

Reading: Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson (2010), "Winner Take All Politics: Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States," Politics & Society, 38:2, pp. 152-204 (the last 6 pages are footnotes)

Victor Luckerson, "The Cities that Amazon HQ2 Left Behind," The Ringer (online), November 30, 2018

  • Friday, February 15: February 20: Who's to Blame, and What Should We Do? (I)

Reading: Elizabeth Warren, "Unsafe at any Rate," Democracy: A Journal of Ideas,  Summer 2007, no. 5

Richard Posner, "The Question of Consumer Competence," The Becker-Posner Blog, 2/7/10

Brian Alexander, Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an All-American Town (Picador, 2017), Chapters 11-12

  • Monday, February 18: Who's to Blame, and What Should We Do? (II)

Reading: Yasha Mounk, "The Undemocratic Dilemma," Journal of Democracy, 29:2 (2018), pp. 98-112

Brian Alexander, Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an All-American Town (Picador, 2017), Chapters 13-15

Wednesday, February 20: No Class Meeting.

Class will not meet on this day. However, please (if possible) attend Brian Alexander's public lecture on Glass House, 3:00-4:00 PM, Walter Hall Rotunda


Analytic Interlude (I)

  • Friday, February 22: Review
  • Monday, February 25:  Exam #1

Course Module 2: Why are Some Countries Rich and Well-Governed, and Others Poor and Poorly-Governed?

Unit Learning Questions:

  1. Why are some countries rich and well-governed, while others are poor and poorly-governed?
  2. What are the main causes of political violence? Why does it take some forms in some times and places, and others in others? Why is it more likely to occur in some places than others?
  3. What, if anything, can the wealthy countries of the Global North do to help countries in the Global South become wealthier and better governed?
  • Wednesday, February 27:  What's the World Like For Most People Today? How Did it Get this Way?

Reading: Steven Radelet, The Great Surge (Simon & Schuster, 2015), Prologue-Chapter 2

  • Friday, March 1: Are Things Getting Better for the Global Poor? Why?

Reading: Steven Radelet, The Great Surge (Simon & Schuster, 2015), Chapters 3-4 and 7

Dylan Matthews, "23 Charts and Maps That Show the World is Getting Much, Much Better," Vox, October 17, 2018

  • Monday, March 4: What is a "Good" Government? Why Do They Exist Some Places, and Not Others? (I)

Reading: Steven Radelet, The Great Surge (Simon & Schuster, 2015), Chapters 5-6

Mansur Olson (1993), "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development,American Political Science Review, 87:3, pp. 567-76

  • Wednesday, March 6: What is a "Good" Government? Why Do They Exist Some Places, and Not Others? (II)

Reading: Steven Radelet, The Great Surge (Simon & Schuster, 2015), Chapter 8

Stephen  Cornell and Douglas Hartmann (1998), Ethnicity and Race: Making Identities in a Changing World, pp. 15-37

Eduard Miguel (2006), "Ethnic Diversity and Poverty Reduction," in Abhijit Banerjee, Roland Benabou, and Dilip Mookherjee (eds), Understanding Poverty (Oxford University Press), pp. 169-84.

  • Friday, March 8: The Politics of Violence (I) - Ethnic, Religious, and Sectarian Violence

Reading: Peter Uvin (1997), "Prejudice, Crisis, and Genocide in Rwanda," African Studies Review, 40:2, pp. 91-115

Paul Mozur, "A Genocide Incited on Facebook, with Posts from Myanmar's Military," New York Times, October 15, 2018

  • Monday, March 11-Friday, March 15: No Class, Ohio University Spring Break 
  • Monday, March 18: The Politics of Violence (II) - Is Political Violence Rational?

Reading: James Fearon and David Laitin (2003), "Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War," The American Political Science Review 97:1, pp. 75-90

  • Wednesday, March 20: How Bad Governments Promote Violence

Reading: Alexis Okeowo, A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Men and Women Fighting Extremism in Africa (Hachette, 2017), Preface and Part 1 Chapters 1-2

  • Friday, March 22: The Politics of Terrorism and Violent Extremism

Reading:  Alexis Okeowo, A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Men and Women Fighting Extremism in Africa (Hachette, 2017), Part 1 Chapter 3-4 and Part 2 Chapter 1

  • Monday, March 25: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Violent Extremism?

Alexis Okeowo, A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Men and Women Fighting Extremism in Africa (Hachette, 2017), Part 2 Chapters 2-4

  • Wednesday,March 27:  How Can We Best Help the Global Poor?

Reading: Steven Radelet, The Great Surge (Simon & Schuster, 2015), Chapters 9-11


Analytic Interlude (II)

  • Friday, March 29: Review
  • Monday, April 1: Exam II

Course Module 3: The Politics of Climate Change: Science, Politics, and Cooperation

Unit Learning Questions:

  1. Why is it so difficult for the nations and communities of the world to cooperate in responding proactively to climate change and its effects?
  2. What governmental strategies and policies are likely to be most effective in mitigating climate change and its effects in the near- to mid-future?
  3. What are the biggest risks and challenges generated by climate change, and   what if anything can countries and communities do to mitigate or adapt to them?
  • Wednesday, April 3: A (Brief) Introduction to the Science of Climate Change

Reading: David Archer (2009), The Long Thaw: How Humans are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of the Earth’s Climate, Chapter 1, “The Greenhouse Effect,” pp. 15-29

  • Friday, April 5: Why Doesn't Scientific Consensus Around Climate Change Translate into Political Action?

Reading: Naomi Oreskes, "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How Do We Know We’re Not Wrong?," in Elisabeth Lloyd and Eric Winsberg (eds) Climate Modelling: Philosophical and Conceptual Issues (Springer, 2017), pp. 31-64

Cary Funk, "How Much Does Science Knowledge Influence People’s Views on Climate Change and Energy Issues?Pew Research Center, March 22, 2017

Richard Wike, "What the World Thinks About Climate Change in 7 Charts," Pew Research Center, April 18, 2016

  • Monday, April 8:  Why Political Action on Climate Change is Hard  - The Tragedy of the Commons 

Reading: Garrett Hardin (1968), “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, vol. 162

Stephen Battersby (2017), "Can Humankind Escape the Tragedy of the Commons?," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114:1, pp. 7-10

  •  Wednesday, April 10: The Political Economy of Climate Change Mitigation

Reading: Paul Krugman, “Green Economics: How We Can Afford to Tackle Climate Change,” New York Times Magazine, April 11, 2010

Oren Cass, "The Problem with Climate Catastrophizing," Foreign Affairs (online), March 21, 2017

Jason Hickel, "The Nobel Prize for Climate Catastrophe," Foreign Policy, December 8, 2018

  • Friday, April 12: Who Governs Climate?

Reading: Charles F. Sabel, and David G. Victor (2017), "Governing global problems under uncertainty: making bottom-up climate policy work," Climatic Change 144:1, pp. 15-27.

Camila Domonske, "So What Exactly is in the Paris Climate Accords?NPR News (online), June 1, 2017

  • Monday, April 15: Globalization and the Environment

Reading: Manfred Steger (2017), Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (4th ed), Chapter 6

  • Wednesday, April 17: Climate Change and Development

Reading: Steven Radelet, The Great Surge (Simon & Schuster, 2015), Chapters 12-13

  • Friday, April 19: Climate Change and Security

Reading: Joshua Busby, "Warming World: Why Climate Change Matters More than Anything Else," Foreign Affairs, 97:4, July/August 2018, pp. 49-55

  • Monday, April 22: Climate Change and Politics - Rural Communities

Reading: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Vol. II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States (2018),  Chapter 10 - Agriculture and Rural Communities, pp. 391-411

Alexis Akwagyiram and Ryan McNeill, "Nomads and Farmers Fight for Nigeria's Heartland," Reuters, December 19, 2018

  • Wednesday, April 24: Climate Change and Politics - Cities

Reading: Craig Welch, "Why Cape Town Is Running Out of Water, and Who’s Next," National Geographic (online), March 5, 2018

Joyce Coffee et al (2010), "Preparing for a changing climate: The Chicago climate action plan's adaptation strategy," Journal of Great Lakes Research, vol. 36, pp. 115-117


Epilogue

  • Friday, April 26: Review 
  • Monday, April 29 (at 10:10 a.m.): Exam III*

*By University policy, this exam must take place at the time scheduled for the "final exam."  As outlined in the course policies, it is your responsibility to be available at this time.  No early or make-up exams will be given, except in exceptional (and verifiable) emergency circumstances.  Wishing to leave early for break, or the ill-advised purchase of a plane or bus ticket home/for vacation in advance of checking one's schedule does not constitute an "exceptional" circumstance.