Omar S. Dahi, associate professor of economics, received his B.A. in economics from California State University at Long Beach, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
His research and teaching interests are in the areas of economic development and international trade, with a special focus on South-South economic cooperation, and on the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa.
As recently as 250 years ago the world had a roughly equal level of development. Today, the richest country in the world has an average income level around 400 times that of the poorest. What are the reasons behind this divergence? How have the 'poor' countries attempted to reverse the gap and how have these attempts transformed societies within those countries? The course examines these general themes and consists of two components: First, we will survey contemporary debates in development economics, including such topics as development ethics (e.g. what is development? development by whom and for what?), development theory and models (e.g. import substitution, micro enterprises, export orientation), and development critiques (e.g. the impact of the 'green' revolution on the rural poor). Second, student research teams will choose a developing country at the beginning of the course to study in depth, applying the ideas discussed in class. The groups will periodically present their research to the class to help us achieve a larger sense of the challenges faced in seeking effective, equitable development.
The global media landscape has undergone significant changes in just over a decade. In this course we will examine how US and international media sources are covering the Middle East. Some questions we will explore are: how did US entertainment and news media respond to the attacks of 9/11? How do US media represent the daily lives and political struggles of Arabs and Muslims? What has been the political and social impact of Middle East-based channels with a global reach like Al Jazeera? How have new media influenced social movements as well as perceptions of historical events such as the Arab Uprisings? The course will feature guest speakers, film screenings, and student presentations. Students will be expected to keep up with a heavy reading load and to develop individualized research projects.
The last twenty years have witnessed a resurgence in political and economic cooperation among the developing nations of the South. This course examines recent changes in the international economy, with a special focus on South-South relations. Some questions we will consider are: What will be the impact of the rise of Third World Capitalism on the global economy? What will the global economy look like when we emerge from the current financial crises? Does South-South cooperation hold the promise of an alternative model to neo-liberal globalization or is it best thought of as unity against Northern hegemony? How has colonialism previously and economic liberalization more recently changed the structure and pattern of trade among developing countries? In the course we will trace the historical patterns of trade among developing nations since the colonial era and then look closely at South-South cooperation in the post-WWII period.
The Uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have had a profound impact on the political economy of authoritarian regimes within the region as well as academic frameworks used to explain them. This course examines the economics of the MENA region and asks the following questions: Do the uprisings represent failures of the developmental state, neo-liberalism, or authoritarian regimes? How does human development within MENA compare to other regions in the developing world? To what extent does either religion or oil explain economic outcomes? What impact will the upheaval associated with the uprisings themselves have on the economies of the different countries? The course will explore these questions through theoretical readings, case studies from Syria, Egypt, and the Gulf as well as guest speakers from within or specializing in the region.
This course is an introduction to the global economy. We will focus on the main forces shaping international trade and economic exchange between countries, and how global economic policies are formulated. In addition we will examine the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization. We will trace their trajectory starting with the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 until today. Some questions we will consider: what were the original functions of these institutions and have they changed over time? What role do they play in the economies of both developed and developing countries? What is their relationship with other important economic groupings, such as the G-20? Are they still relevant in today's global economy and should they be reformed or replaced? Students will be expected to complete a semester long research project on a topic of their choice and present their findings to the class.
Once one of the most isolated and least studied countries in the Middle East, Syria has become a daily topic of coverage in news media all over the world. This interdisciplinary course will focus on the Syrian crisis by placing it in historical and regional context. Through movies, documentaries, short stories, news items and academic research we will explore the modern history of Syria and the origins and trajectory of the current crisis. The course will examine in detail the origins and trajectory of the Syrian uprising focusing on the internal as well as regional dynamics. We will also study the humanitarian crisis unfolding across the region. Students will be expected to write weekly assignments and a final research paper.
Associate Professor of Economics
Mail Code SS
Franklin Patterson Hall 203
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002