Topics in International Politics
Natural Resources, Power and Conflict in Africa, Latin America and Asia
This course introduces students to the relationships between natural resources and political conflicts in Africa, Latin America and Asia, with an emphasis on how the exploitation and management of land, oil, minerals, and forests may undermine or consolidate state power. Students will explore the domestic and international drivers behind increased demand for natural resources. This class will also examine three sorts of conflicts in greater detail: 1) disputes that oppose political elites who attempt to monopolize the authority to allocate the institutional right to use resources; 2) struggles that polarize the government to other claimants from civil society, leading to civil wars in the most acute cases; 3) conflicts that involve groups of users who directly compete to have access to resources. Finally, students will become familiar with theories looking at institutional configurations created to manage natural resources exploitation in a more equitable or efficient manner.
Texts consist of academic articles and, occasionally, a chapter or section of a book. All will be made available on Black Board.
Format and Requirements
Students are expected to do all the required readings in order to contribute meaningfully to class discussions. Evaluation will be based on essays, tests, class participation, and final exam.