Third World with Cases
Jeanne A. K. Hey
Teachers of international relations and foreign policy meet special challenges when addressing the Third World in their courses.1 The case method is effective in meeting many of these challenges. Most students have no firsthand experience with the Third World, so their understanding of its regions is not only limited but often characterized by stereotypical images and overgeneralizations. Similarly, given that much of the scholarship in social science is a product of the United States and Europe, the Third World has often been overlooked in our major theoretical conversations, perhaps especially in international relations. In this chapter I detail the way in which case teaching addresses two key problems—the academic problem and the humanizing problem—in the teaching of international relations and foreign policy in North America.
The academic problem refers to the poverty of understanding by many North American students about the Third World's history, politics, social structures, and modern-day realities. Also included here is a theoretical and conceptual weakness characterizing much of international relations education. That is, many models and explanatory theories exclude Third World experience, and students are often not asked to apply theories to the Third World. The humanizing problem refers to students' difficulty in perceiving, and therefore treating, Third World peoples as real and fully human.
In this chapter I discuss these two problems, recommending a specific case for each problem and discussing ways of teaching the case that will alleviate the problem. A section on the pitfalls of case