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

Course Schedule (By Session)

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

  • Monday, August 24: Introduction

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

  • Wednesday, August 26: Structure and Agency

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

Course Module 1: Capitalism and Democracy

  • Friday, August 28:The Financial Crisis in America, Part 1—The Housing Bubble and the Mortgage Crisis

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

Reading: Michael Lewis (2010), The Big Short (New York: W.W. Norton) pp.  xiii-60 (Preface-Chapter 2)

  • Monday, August 31: The Financial Crisis in America, Part 2—Mortgage-Backed Securities, CDOs, and Derivatives (I)

Reading: Michael Lewis (2010), The Big Short (New York: W.W. Norton) pp.  61-103  (Chapter 3-Chapter 4)

Recommended (optional) Reading: Anna Katherine Barnett-Hart (2009), "The Story of the CDO Market Meltdown: An Empirical Analysis," Harvard Undergraduate Thesis, pp. 3-33

  • Wednesday, September 2: The Financial Crisis in America, Part 2—Mortgage-Backed Securities, CDOs, and Derivatives (II)

Reading: Michael Lewis (2010), The Big Short (New York: W.W. Norton) pp.  104-199  (Chapter 5-Chapter 8)

Reading: Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein (April 9, 2010), "The Magnetar Trade: How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going"  ProPublica (Be sure to read all eight "chapters"  by clicking "Next" at the bottom of each story, or by following the links under the heading "The Full Story," on the left-hand side of each page)

  • Friday, September 4: The Financial Crisis in America, Part 3—The Crash (and what to do?) (I)

Reading: Michael Lewis (2010), The Big Short (New York: W.W. Norton) pp. 200-264  (Chapter 9-Epilogue)

  • Monday, September 7: Labor Day, No Class
  • Wednesday, September 9: The Financial Crisis in America, Part 3—The Crash (and what to do?) (II)

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

  • Friday, September 11: How Economic Crises Become Global

Reading: Michael Lewis (2011), "When Irish Eyes Are Crying," Vanity Fair

Noriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm (2011), Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance, Chapter 5 - Global Pandemics, pp. 115-34

  • Monday, September 14: No Class, Professor Giving Professional Lecture in Accra, Ghana
  • Wednesday, September 16: The Eurozone Crisis, Part 1—Origins of the Eurozone

Reading: Timothy Garton Ash (2012), "The Crisis of Europe," Foreign Affairs

Martin Feldman (1997), "EMU and International Conflict," Foreign Affairs

  • Friday, September 18: The Eurozone Crisis (II)—Greece and Beyond

Michael Lewis (2009), "Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds," Vanity Fair

Eirini Vourloumis, "Portraits From Greece as It Endures a Crisis," New York Times, June 23, 2015

Henry Farrell, "The Euro Zone was Supposed to Strengthen European Democracy. Instead, it’s Undermining It," Washington Post, July 13, 2015

Daniel Altman (2015), "Germany's Moral Obligation to Greece," Foreign Policy

  • Monday, September 21: 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, September 23: 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)

  • Friday, September 25: Democracy, Capitalism, and Us (I)

Reading: Elizabeth Warren (2007), "Unsafe at Any Rate," Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Issue #5

  • Monday, September 28: Democracy, Capitalism, and Us (II)

Reading: Richard Posner (2010), "The Question of Consumer Competence," The Becker-Posner Blog, 2/7/10

Gary Becker (2008), "How Much Government Regulation to "Protect" Consumers?," The Becker-Posner Blog, 5/18/08

  • Wednesday, September 30: Review

Analytic Interlude (I)

  • Friday, October 2: Fall Semester Reading Day
  • Monday, October 5:  Exam #1

Course Module 2: Democracy and Development in Dangerous Places: Understanding Contentious Politics in the Global South

  • Wednesday, October 7: The Bottom Billion: Global Inequality and Democracy

Reading: Paul Collier (2009), War, Guns, and Votes, pp. 1-50

  • Friday, October 9: Ethnicity and Race as Political Concepts 

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

Daniel Posner (2004),“The Political Salience of Cultural Difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas are Allies in Zambia and Adversaries in Malawi,” American Political Science Review, 98:4, pp. 529-545

  • Monday , October 12: Understanding Ethnic Cooperation and Conflict, with an Example from Rwanda

Reading: Paul Collier (2009), War, Guns, and Votes, pp. 51-74

Peter Uvin (1999), "Ethnicity and Power in Burundi and RwandaDifferent Paths to Mass Violence," Comparative Politics, 31:3, pp. 253-71

  • Wednesday, October 14: Civil Wars

Reading: Paul Collier (2009), War, Guns, and Votes, pp. 121-40 and 155-68

  • Friday, October 16: Ending the Cycle of Violence--Guns, Coups, Peacekeeping, and Development

Reading: Paul Collier (2009), War, Guns, and Votes, pp. 75-120 and 141-54

  •  Monday, October 19: Solving the Problem, Part 1: The Promise of Foreign Aid? 

Reading: Jeffrey Sachs (2005), “The Development Challenge,” Foreign Affairs, 84:2, pp. 78-90

Roger Riddell (2007), Does Foreign Aid Really Work?, pp. 91-106

  • Wednesday, October 21: Solving the Problem, Part 2: What if Aid Doesn't Work?

Reading: William Easterly (July/Aug 2007), "The Ideology of Development," Foreign Policy

William Easterly (Jan/Feb 2009), "The Poor Man's Burden," Foreign Policy, pp. 77-81 [alternative link, in case the first isn't working]

Amanda Taub, "Buying TOMS Shoes is a Terrible Way to Help Poor People," Vox, July 23, 2015

  • Friday, October 23: What Else Can We Do? (I) - Understanding Poverty Better

Reading:  Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics (New York: PublicAffairs), Chapters 3 and 8

  • Monday, October 26: What Else Can We Do? (II) - The Power of Good Institutions

Reading: Paul Collier (2009), War, Guns, and Votes, pp. 169-234

  • Wednesday, October 28: Review

Analytic Interlude (II)

  • Friday, October 30: Exam II

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

  • Monday, November  2: 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

  • Wednesday, November 4: Why Doesn't Scientific Consensus Around Climate Change Translate into Political Action?

Reading: Peter Doran and Maggie Zimmerman (2009), "Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," Eos: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, pp. 22-3

Christina Larson and Joshua Keating (2010), “The Foreign Policy Guide to Climate Skeptics” (alternative link)

  • Friday, November 6:  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

Elinor Ostrom et al (1999), “Revisiting the Commons: Local Lessons, Global Challenges,” Science, vol. 284

  • Monday, November 9: The Political Economy of Climate Change Mitigation

Reading: Paul Krugman (2010), “Building a Green Economy,” New York Times Magazine, April 10, 2010

The Economist, "Is it Worth it? What Economists Have to Say About Mitigating Climate Change," December 3, 2009

Bjorn Lomborg (2012), "Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now," Foreign Affairs, 91:4, pp. 24-40

  • Wednesday, November 11: Veterans' Day Holiday - No Class
  • Friday, November 13: Who Governs Climate?

Reading: Mike Hulme (2009), Why We Disagree About Climate ChangeChapter 9 -"The Way We Govern," pp. 284-321

Robert Falkner, Hannes Stephan, John Vogler (2010), "International Climate Policy after Copenhagen: Towards a ‘Building Blocks’ Approach," Global Policy, 1:3, pp. 252-62

  • Monday, November 16: Globalization and the Environment

Reading: Manfred Steger (2013), Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 1-16

Jonas Grätz (2012), "The Arctic: Thaw With Conflict Potential," CSS Analysis in Security Policy

  • Wednesday, November 18:  In-Class Documentary, "Years of Living Dangerously"

Reading: None

  • Friday, November 20: No Class, Professor at African Studies Association Conference
  • Monday, November 23: Climate Change and Security

Reading: David Biello (2011), "El Nino Found to Drive Tropical Civil Wars," Scientific American

Oli Brown and Robert McLeman (2009), "A Recurring Anarchy? The emergence of climate change as a threat to international peace and security," Conflict, Security and Development, 9:3, pp. 289-305

Aaron Sayne (2011), "Climate Change Adaptation and Conflict in Nigeria," USIP Special Report 

  • Wednesday, November 25-Friday, November 27: Thanksgiving Break, No Class
  • Monday, November 30: Climate Change and Politics - The US Case (I)

Reading: National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (2013), Draft Climate Assessment ReportChapter 14 - Rural Communities, pp. 495-507 (skip pages 508-15)

Michael Wines (2013), "Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust," New York Times

FEMA Strategic Foresight Initiative (2011) "Climate Change: Long Term Trends and their Implications for Emergency Management"

  •  Wednesday, December 2: Climate Change and Politics - The US Case (II)

Reading: Joyce Coffee et al. (2010), "Preparing for a changing climate: The Chicago climate action plan's adaptation strategy," Journal of Great Lakes Research, 36, pp. 115-17

Carbon Disclosure Project (2013), "Healthier, Wealthier Cities: How Climate change Action is Giving Us Wealthier, Healthier Cities"

  • Friday, December 4: Review


  • Friday, December 11 (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 ticket home/for vacation in advance of checking one's schedule does not constitute an "exceptional" circumstance.