The “Third World:” A Course Overview

One of the classic texts considered in The "Third World"

One of the classic texts considered in The “Third World”

The video below gives a course overview of MLS 634 – The “Third World,” a course I teach in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program at North Central College.  It walks you through a recent syllabus, commenting on the books being used, the tentative schedule, and the graded activities and assignments.

The overview spends some time on the term “Third World” as opposed to terms like Southern Hemisphere or Developing World, as well as recalling some of the scholars I came into contact with during a University of Chicago, Ford-Foundation-funded project on Globalization.

Chief among these was Arjun Appadurai, whose book Modernity at Large is the cornerstone of the course.  That modernity has both taken enormous toll on the “Third World” and provided it with equal potential, especially the potential to imagine different lives, though those imaginings are not always benign.  Appadurai provides a complex framework for understanding global landscapes, landscapes imagined as interacting flows of ethnicities (ethnoscapes), media (mediascapes), technologies (technoscapes), capital (financescapes), and ideologies (ideoscapes).

Though much of the world, including the “Third World,” has experienced a rise in prosperity, some billion people—referenced in Paul Collier’s The Bottom Billion, another book used in the course—continue on a downward spiral, a spiral not only untenable for them, but for all the rest of the world.  How can these bottom billion not only be pulled along in the wake of most of the world’s rising prosperity, but how can that rising prosperity not contribute to the downward spiral.

 Go to the Teaching Diversity main page.

 Go to the “Third World” lead post for this course.


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