GOV240 Service and Politics Abroad


Email: sgsnow at wagner
AIM: sgsnow at mac
Phone: 718-390-3351 (rarely checked)
Fax: 718-420-4158
This course has three parts.
The first consists of our initial meetings in Fall semester, with readings on AIDS in Africa in general and works on Kenya in particular.  The second is our Intersession service work in Kenya, about which you will write a journal.  The third is the Spring semester, when we will meet to discuss additional readings as well as your term-paper research.


Policies and Practices

Requirements (inter alia):

1) All students must fill out and submit the Parent Waiver and Release, the Behavior Code, and the off campus medical form.

2) All students are asked to raise (or contribute personally) $2-300 for distribution on home visits, and I hope you will do a great deal more. This is a crucial portion of your experience in Kenya, and about which I’ll ask you to write.  PLEASE NOTE: The donations are now tax-deductible.  A student who was on our original trip to Kenya has set up a 501(c) (3) charitable foundation, “Knowledge is the Cure.

3) Respectful and thoughtful behavior while in Kenya (this includes not drinking excessively, and wearing appropriate clothing–there are conservative Christians and Muslims where we travel, and we don’t want to offend them.  Also, you don’t want a lot of male attention, trust me).

4) Compliance with the reading and writing assignments of the GOV240.

The Texts: All students should purchase copies of “Sizwe’s Test.” Not required, but certainly recommended, is “Lonely Planet Kenya”.  In addition, we will read a number of articles of various types.

Grades will be calculated as follows: the quizzes are worth 25 points; the short papers 50 points; the journal 50 points; and the term paper 100 points.

For the final grade, I will make the highest score the highest A, and move down in increments of 10%.  For example, if the highest score for the course is 330, the A range will be approximately from 330 to 297 (330-33); the B range will be approximately from 296 to 263 (296-33), etc.  I reserve the right, of course, to adjust the final grading scale as I see fit.

In addition, I will likely assign short articles from the daily and weekly press, which I will provide you in class and for which you will be, of course, responsible on the exams and quizzes.

The Schedule:  The following schedule outlines the reading and writing assignments for this course.  This schedule may vary somewhat throughout the quarter.  If this happens, I will inform you, most likely via email.  You are responsible for any such announcements.

Fall Semester 2011

Five class meetings in October and November (TBA).


Wainaina, “How to Write About Africa“, Granta.

Steinberg, “Sizwe’s Test”

Booth, “Global women, local science,”, chs. 1, 5.

Pope, “Free’s Many Fees: School Unaffordable in Tanzania“, Associated Press, 12 September, 2010.

Kilbride et al, “Street Children in Kenya

Assignment:  paper on “Sizwe’s Test”

Film: “Left Behind: Kenya’s AIDS Orphans”

Intersession 2011-2012

Assignment: student journal

Spring Semester 2012 

Edited journals due January 24th

Short paper on Women in Kenya due Feb. 10th

Term paper proposal due March 2nd.  This proposal will address the paper assignment, but only in ca. 500 words.  List the sources that you have identified–not just because the title looks good, but by reading/skimming them– as being useful to your argument.  (See some possibly useful sources, below.)  This assignment is worth 50 points.  We will discuss these proposals in class.

First draft of term paper due March 22nd.

Final draft of term paper due April 6th.

Class meetings:

January 25th: 4:20 PM
Discussion of re-entry
Reading: Gomez, “Save Africa (for Bantu Mwaura)
Feb. 1: 2:40 PM
Discussion of re-entry
Reading: Gomez, “Save Africa (for Bantu Mwaura)
Feb. 8: 4:20
Discussion of film “I am Because We Are
Feb. 15: 2:40
Discussion of film “I am Because We Are
Feb. 22: 4:20
Discussion of fund-raising, etc.
Feb. 29: 2:40
Discussion of fund-raising, etc.
March 7: 4:20
Fill out surveys; discuss term papers
March 14: 2:40
Fill out surveys; discuss term papers


NOTE: You must take a TB test at Student Health to receive credit for the course.


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Filed under Courses, GOV 240 Service and Politics: Kenya

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