17.53 Democratization in Asia, Africa, and Latin America

As taught in: Fall 2001

Photograph of Nelson Mandela about to place his ballot in a box during 1994 elections.

Nelson Mandella voting in 1994 elections. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.)




Prof. Chappell Lawson

Prof. Frederic Schaffer

Course Description

Recent years have seen an astonishing spread of democracy to many African, Asian, and Latin American countries. What caused these dramatic political transitions? What challenges do democratizing countries in the Third World face? Will these new democracies endure? We will take up these questions using film, fiction, and popular journalism, as well as scholarly research. We will also focus on a small number of countries (Brazil, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Singapore, and Sri Lanka) in order to explore in greater depth some of the most important political challenges faced by developing countries. Although the class focuses on the developing world, many of the lessons should "travel" to democratizing countries in other regions.

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.