POL4170 B



Fall 2010



Professor:           Stephen Brown

Class schedule  : Monday, 11:30 a.m. - 12:50 p.m.

  Thursday, 1:00 - 2:20 p.m.

  Hagen Hall, Room 305

Office hours:       Thursday, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

  Desmarais Bldg., Room 9152

Email:                 brown@uottawa.ca (please include “POL4170” in subject line)





Analysis of issues relating to the politics of international development and foreign aid. Origins, evolution and modes of development assistance. The role and motivations of specific multilateral and bilateral donors. Aid policies and practices. Critiques of aid.





Since 1989, foreign aid has been undergoing profound changes. After the Soviet Union’s assistance to developing countries dried up, “aid fatigue” set in and Western donors cut their budgets. A decade later, aid flows began to rise again quite dramatically. A number of new initiatives are changing the way assistance is being allocated and delivered. Still, donors are not meeting their commitments and results are often disappointing. Many believe that a radical rethinking foreign aid is required. At a time of rapid changes in Canada’s and other donors’ aid policies and practices, including the rise of non-Western donors, it is especially important to examine the past, present and possible futures of foreign aid.


This course’s objective is to analyse critically a wide variety of issues that are central to the politics of foreign aid. By the end of the course, students should be familiar with the origins, evolution and forms of development assistance, the kinds of donors involved and their various motivations, and the debates surrounding specific policy initiatives and foreign aid more generally, including critiques of aid. They will also be familiar with Canada’s evolving foreign aid policy and should be able to take their own position on desirable future reform.



Reaction papers


Once per calendar month (i.e., once each in September, October and November/December) students must write a one-page (single-spaced) reaction paper. They are to be handed in at the beginning of class. The purpose is to analyze one or more of the assigned readings for that class, unless indicated otherwise. This could involve an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the text’s argument and content, its logical implications, or links with other texts or theories. It is crucial to remember that students are not to provide a summary or a personal appreciation of the text. Under no circumstances will these reaction papers be accepted after class starts. Students are not permitted to hand in two reaction papers on the readings for the same class, nor a reaction paper on a reading already covered in class or on an additional text. If they wish, students may hand in a second reaction paper during a given month and the higher of the two marks will be used in the calculation of the final grade. This only applies to two reaction papers (and no more than two) handed in during the same month. It is the students’ responsibility to ensure that they hand in at least one reaction paper per calendar month. Those who do not will fail the course.


End-of-semester assignments


Option 1: Students write a 17-20 page research paper (typed and double-spaced, not including the bibliography or notes) that analyzes a topic relevant to the course. Students should clear their topic with the instructor by October 14. A proposal, consisting of a description of one page in length (single-spaced), including an explicit statement of the research question and tentative argument, and an annotated preliminary bibliography of at least 10 non-internet scholarly sources, including a minimum of three journal articles, must be submitted by November 4. The term paper is due on December 13. The final paper should draw on at least 15 non-internet scholarly sources, including a minimum of five journal articles. For the research paper, students should consult the university’s “Writing and Style Guide for University Papers and Assignments”, available at www.sciencessociales.uottawa.ca/guide-en.asp. Sources not cited in the term paper should not be included in its bibliography. Assigned readings may be used, but they do not count towards the total number of sources.


Option 2: Students may choose instead to undertake “community service learning”, that is, do at least 30 hours of volunteer work with an organization involved in foreign aid. Instead of the term paper and proposal, these students will write a 4-10 page essay (typed and double-spaced), due on December 13. They must register at the beginning of the semester with the university’s Community Service Learning Program (www.sass.uottawa.ca/els; Tabaret Hall, Room 304; tel. (613) 562-5800, ext. 2729; email sae-els@uottawa.ca) in to order to be placed. The content and the length of the essay will depend on the nature and activities of each student’s placement and must be discussed in person with the professor by December 2.




Any paper not given in person to the instructor should be handed in to the receptionist at the School of Political Studies (DMS 9101), who will stamp it with the date. If the office is closed, students may place their assignments in the slot in the door of room DMS 9103. The assignment will be stamped with the date that the secretariat reopens. Papers may not be submitted by email without the instructor’s prior authorization, nor should they be slipped under the door to his office.


The penalty for late proposals, research papers and essays is 5% per day. Assignments submitted after 4:30 p.m. will be counted as handed in the following working day. They will not be accepted if more than seven days late, in which case the student will receive “EIN” as his or her final mark, i.e., fail the course. As mentioned above, late reaction papers are not accepted. Exceptions to the above will be made only in cases of serious illness or family or other emergency, supported by appropriate certification (e.g., detailed physician’s report, police report, death certificate) or if cleared in advance with the instructor. The Faculty reserves the right to accept or reject the reason offered. Reasons such as travel, employment and misreading the submission deadline are not usually accepted.


Course grades will be weighted as follows:       


Option 1 (term paper)

40% for the three reaction papers

10% for the paper proposal     

40% for the term paper

10% for participation


Option 2 (service learning)

50% for the three reaction papers

40% for the essay

10% for participation


Each class will have a lecture component and will also emphasize student participation and discussion of the readings. Students whose attendance is deemed insufficient or who do not otherwise meet all course requirements will receive as their final grade an “EIN” (failure/incomplete).




There are no textbooks for this course. A packet containing all the assigned readings is available for purchase at Rytec, 404 Dalhousie St., tel. (613) 241-2679, www.rytec.ca. A copy of the course reader will also be also available on reserve at the Morisset Library (two-hour loan).


Part I – The Who, What and Why of Foreign Aid


September 9 – Introduction


No assigned reading.


September 13 – The History of Foreign Aid


Video: “Canadians Beyond our Borders” (Government of Canada, 1993, 22 minutes).


Arjaan de Haan, “The Evolution in Thinking about Aid and International Development” in How the Aid Industry Works: An Introduction to International Development (Sterling, VA: Kumarian Press, 2009), pp. 63-89. Do not write a reaction paper on this reading.


September 16 – Motivations for Foreign Aid I


Presentation by a representative of the Community Service Learning Program


Hans Morgenthau, “A Political Theory of Foreign Aid”, American Political Science Review, vol. 56, no. 2 (June 1962), pp. 301-309.


September 20 Motivations for Foreign Aid II


David Halloran Lumsdaine, “Why Was There Any Foreign Aid at All?” in Moral Vision in International Politics: The Foreign Aid Regime, 1949-89 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 30-69.


Ilan Kapoor, “Foreign Aid as G(r)ift”, The Postcolonial Politics of Development (London and New York: Routledge, 2008), pp. 76-94.


September 23The Allocation of Foreign Aid


Peter J. Schraeder, Steven W. Hook and Bruce Taylor, “Clarifying the Foreign Aid Puzzle: A Comparison of American, Japanese, French and Swedish Aid Flows”, World Politics, vol. 50, no. 2 (January 1998), pp. 294-323.


Ngaire Woods, “The shifting politics of foreign aid”, International Affairs, vol. 81, no. 2 (March 2005), pp. 393-409.


Part II – Canadian Aid


September 27 – Analyzing Canadian Aid


Ian Smillie, “Foreign Aid and Canadian Purpose: Influence and Policy in Canada’s International Development Assistance”, in Robert Bothwell and Jean Daudelin (eds.), Canada Among Nations 2008: 100 Years of Canadian Foreign Policy (Montreal, Kingston, London and Ithaca: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009), pp. 183-208.


Stephen Brown, “Aid Effectiveness and the Framing of New Canadian Aid Initiatives”, in Duane Bratt and Christopher J. Kukucha (eds.), Readings in Canadian Foreign Policy: Classic Debates and New Ideas, Second Edition (Toronto: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).


September 30Reforming CIDA and Canadian Aid


Chris Brown and Edward T. Jackson, “Could the Senate be Right? Should CIDA be Abolished?”, in Allan M. Maslove (ed.), How Ottawa Spends, 2009-2010: Economic Upheaval and Political Dysfunction (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009), pp. 151-74.


Adam Chapnick, “The Politics of Reforming Canadian Foreign Aid”, unpublished manuscript (August 2010), 13 pp.


October 4 The “Three Ds” and Afghanistan


Scott Gillmore and Janan Mosazai, “Defence, Development, and Diplomacy: The Case of Afghanistan, 2001–2005”, in Jennifer Welsh and Ngaire Woods (eds.), Exporting Good Governance: Temptations and Challenges in Canada's Aid Program (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2007), pp. 143-67.


Part III – Other Aid Actors


October 7 – The United States


Carol Lancaster, “The Changing Landscape of U.S. Foreign Aid”, George Bush’s Foreign Aid: Transformation or Chaos? (Washington, DC: Center for Global Development, 2008), pp. 10-47.


Arthur A. Goldsmith, “No Country Left Behind? Performance Standards and Accountability in US Foreign Assistance”, Development Policy Review, vol. 28, no. 1 (January 2010), pp. 7-26.


October 14 – The World Bank I  (term paper topic clearance deadline)


Video: “Our Friends at the Bank” (First Run/Icarus Films, 1997, 80 minutes).


No assigned reading.


October 18 – The World Bank II


Paul Cammack, “What the World Bank Means by Poverty Reduction, and Why it Matters”, New Political Economy, vol. 9, no. 2 (June 2004), pp. 189-211.


Nancy Birdsall and Arvind Subramanian, “From World Bank to World Development Cooperative”, Washington, DC: Centre for Global Development, October 2007, 12 pp.


October 21 – The Policymaking Process


Guest speaker: Huguette Labelle, former president of CIDA


No assigned reading.


November 1 – NGOs I: A New Paradigm?


Michael Edwards and David Hulme, “Too Close for Comfort? The Impact of Official Aid on Nongovernmental Organizations”, World Development, vol. 24, no. 6 (June 1996), pp. 961-73.


Sally Reith, “Money, power, and donor-NGO partnerships”, Development in Practice, vol. 20, no. 3 (May 2010), pp. 446-55.


November 4 – NGOs II: Local Struggles  (paper proposal due)


Giles Mohan, “The disappointments of civil society: the politics of NGO intervention in northern Ghana”, Political Geography, vol. 21, no. 1 (January 2002), pp. 125-54.


November 8 – “Emerging” Donors


Ngaire Woods, “Whose aid? Whose influence? China, emerging donors and the silent revolution in development assistance”, International Affairs, vol. 84, no. 6 (November 2008), pp. 1205-21.


Peter Kragelund, “The Return of Non-DAC Donors to Africa: New Prospects for African Development?” Development Policy Review, vol. 26, no. 5 (September 2008), pp. 555-84.


November 11 – Private Actors


Robert Marten and Jan Martin Witte, “Transforming Development? The role of philanthropic foundations in international development cooperation”, GPPi Research Paper Series no. 10, Berlin, 2008.


Part IV – Contentious Issues


November 15 – The Securitization of Aid


Jude Howell and Jeremy Lind, “Changing Donor Policy and Practice in Civil Society in the Post-9/11 Aid Context”, Third World Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 7 (October 2009), pp. 1279-96.


Jonathan Goodhand and Mark Sedra, “Who owns the peace? Aid, reconstruction, and peacebuilding in Afghanistan”, Disasters, vol. 34, no. S1 (January 2010), pp. S78-S102.


November 18 – Food Aid


Video: “The Price of Aid” (First Run/Icarus Films, 2003, 56 minutes)


Jennifer Clapp, “Corporate Interests in US Food Aid Policy: Global implications of Resistance to Reform”, in Jennifer Clapp and Doris Fuchs, eds. Corporate Power in Global Agrifood Governance. Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, pp. 125-52.


November 22 – Aid Effectiveness


Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005), 12 pp. Do not write a reaction paper on this reading.


Goran Hyden, “After the Paris Declaration: Taking on the Issue of Power”, Development Policy Review, vol. 26, no. 3 (May 2008), pp. 259-74.


November 25 – The Impact of Aid


Roger C. Riddell, “The impact of aid on development objectives: Current evidence and thinking and key issues for the future”, paper presented at the conference Does aid work? Can it work better?, Ottawa, June 17, 2008.


Keith Horton, “An Appeal to Aid Specialists”, Development Policy Review, vol. 28, no. 1 (January 2010), pp.  27-42.


November 29 – The Politics of Humanitarian Assistance      


Guest speakers: Nicolas Moyer, Coordinator, The Humanitarian Coalition, and Mia Vukojević, Manager, Humanitarian Programs, Oxfam Canada


Tony Vaux, “Humanitarian Trends and Dilemmas”, in Deborah Eade and Tony Vaux, eds., Development and Humanitarianism: Practical Issues (Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press, 2007), pp. 1-23.


December 2 – Problematizing Poverty Reduction


Owen Barder, “What Is Poverty Reduction?”, Working Paper no. 170, Washington, DC: Center for Global Development, April 2009, 24 pp.


Edward R. Carr, “Rethinking poverty alleviation: a ‘poverties’ approach”, Development in Practice, vol. 18, no. 6 (2008), pp. 726-34.


December 6 – Aid in a Violent Context: The Case of Colombia


Guest speaker: César Torres Cárdenas, consultant in human rights


KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, “A brief history of Colombia” (n.d.), available at www.kairoscanada.org/en/rights-and-trade/focus-countries/colombia/colombia-history. Do not write a reaction paper on this reading.


December 8 – Prescriptions for Reform


Jonathan Glennie, “What is to be done?” in The Trouble with Aid: Why Less Could Mean More for Africa (London and New York: Zed Books, 2008), pp. 123-43.


December 13 – Papers due (hand in at DMS 9152 between 3:30 and 4:30pm)




Resources for you


Mentoring Centre www.socialsciences.uottawa.ca/mentor/eng  

The goal of the Mentoring Centre is to help students with their academic and social well being during their time at the University of Ottawa. Regardless of where a student stands academically, or how far along they are in completing their degree, the mentoring centre is there to help students continue on their path to success.


A student may choose to visit the mentoring centre for very different reasons. Younger students may wish to talk to their older peers to gain insight into programs and services offered by the University, while older student may simply want to brush up on study and time management skills or learn about programs and services for students nearing the end of their degree.


In all, the Mentoring Centre offers a place for students to talk about concerns and problems that they might have in any facet of their lives. While students are able to voice their concerns and problems without fear of judgment, mentors can garner further insight in issues unique to students and find a more practical solution to better improve the services that the Faculty of Social Sciences offers, as well as the services offered by the University of Ottawa.


Academic Writing Help Centre – www.sass.uottawa.ca/writing

At the AWHC you will learn how to identify, correct and ultimately avoid errors in your writing and become an autonomous writer. In working with our Writing Advisors, you will be able to acquire the abilities, strategies and writing tools that will enable you to:

  • Master the written language of your choice
  • Expand your critical thinking abilities
  • Develop your argumentation skills
  • Learn what the expectations are for academic writing


Career Services – www.sass.uottawa.ca/careers

Career Services offers various services and a career development program to enable you to recognize and enhance the employability skills you need in today's world of work. 


Counselling Service – www.sass.uottawa.ca/personal

There are many reasons to take advantage of the Counselling Service. We offer:

·         Personal counselling

·         Career counselling

·         Study skills counselling


Access Service www.sass.uottawa.ca/access

The Access Service contributes to the creation of an inclusive environment by developing strategies and implementing measures that aim to reduce the barriers to learning for students who have learning disabilities, health, psychiatric or physical conditions.


Student Resources Centreswww.communitylife.uottawa.ca/en/resources.php

The Student Resources Centres aim to fulfill all sorts of students needs. 





Beware of Academic Fraud!

Academic fraud is an act committed by a student to distort the marking of assignments, tests, examinations, and other forms of academic evaluation. Academic fraud is neither accepted nor tolerated by the University. Anyone found guilty of academic fraud is liable to severe academic sanctions.

Here are a few examples of academic fraud:

    engaging in any form of plagiarism or cheating;

    presenting falsified research data;

    handing in an assignment that was not authored, in whole or in part, by the student;

    submitting the same assignment in more than one course, without the written consent of the professors concerned.

In recent years, the development of the Internet has made it much easier to identify academic plagiarism. The tools available to your professors allow them to trace the exact origin of a text on the Web, using just a few words.

In cases where students are unsure whether they are at fault, it is their responsibility to consult the University’s Web site at www.socialsciences.uottawa.ca/eng/writing_tools.asp, “Tools for Writing Papers and Assignments”.

Persons who have committed or attempted to commit (or have been accomplices to) academic fraud will be penalized. Here are some examples of the academic sanctions, which can be imposed:

    a grade of « F » for the assignment or course in question;

    an additional program requirement of between 3 and 30 credits;

    suspension or expulsion from the Faculty.

Last session, most of the students found guilty of fraud were given an « F » for the course and had between three and twelve credits added to their program requirement.

For more information, refer to: www.uottawa.ca/academic/info/newsletter/fraud_e.html.