Political Economy of African Development

Feb 2013

Definitely one of the best classes I've ever taken at Columbia, and I had the feeling most people thoroughly enjoyed it too. I wish I had the time to write a more comprehensive review praising the content of the course, as well as Blattman's ability to teach and engage students. Blattman's lectures are brilliant, engaging and entertaining. They are a thorough and unbiased introduction to recent African political and economic development, and the relation between development and violence, international institutions, foreign aid, domestic politics, geography, among other factors. The course assumes for the most part no previous background in economics, statistics or political science for that matter. Nevertheless, I found it to be a better introduction to international development than my Development Economics course. This is one of those classes you walk out of every day and realize how much you've just learned. The readings are also fascinating. I highly recommend it to anyone mildly interested in politics, development economics, developing countries, sub-Saharan Africa or any intersection of these topics.