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Political Science

Comparative Responses to AIDS in Africa


Instructor: Kim Yi Dionne
Office: 3165 Bunche Hall
Mailbox: 4284 Bunche Hall

Tough sub-Saharan Africa has only 10% of the world’s population, it is home to 68% of all people living with HIV and AIDS. The AIDS pandemic is hitting Africa the hardest and poses a serious challenge to local governments. International organizations and donor governments have responded with compassion, generously supporting humanitarian interventions to prevent the spread of HIV and to mitigate the effects of AIDS in severely resource-constrained countries suffering from a generalized epidemic. At the same time, cross-national data show Africans living amidst the AIDS pandemic have weak demand for increased HIV/AIDS services.

Some of the questions we will consider in this course include:
• Upon whom does the success of any HIV intervention depend? What are the motivations of
   these various actors? How do they interact with other actors?
• When there is a misalignment of priorities, whose preferences take precedence in an
   intervention: those of international donors, or ordinary citizens? Does theHIV/AIDS intervention
   in Africa simply demonstrate the power of donors and the weakness of citizens?

This seminar aims to impart a working knowledge of applying approaches developed in the study of political economy to analysis of global health and development interventions. The focus will be on analyses of local implementations, providing students with an opportunity to produce cutting-edge research in an area currently focused on international actors.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:
1. Apply political economy approaches to public policy problems;
2. Critically analyze the public policy problems and solutions about which we care deeply;
3. Appreciate the local and global context and constraints of health and development
4. Draw an argument from a text, consider its implications, and develop a critical response; and
5. Conduct original research, craft an argument, and clearly communicate a thesis in written form.

Seminars are only successful when students attend after having critically read the assigned readings, and then actively debate ideas presented in the readings and/or present new ideas to be pursued. As such, students are expected to: (1) read the material before seminar; (2) attend every seminar; and (3) participate both online and in person to discussion of course material.

Students will be required to generate two posts from each week’s readings to the online discussion forum 24 hours before the seminar meets; write what you find interesting, surprising, or strange and why in the week’s readings. Bring readings with you to seminar and be able to succinctly state each author’s thesis statement as well as your critique of their work. Each student will select
one article from the syllabus to “discuss” in class; acting as a discussant on a scholarly article will ably prepare students to subsequently author research papers that are clearly written, use transparent methods of analysis, and consider alternative hypotheses.

A main objective of the seminar is to impart the analytical and organizational skills necessary to author an original research paper. Guided by the instructor and your colleagues, you will draft and re-draft a term paper critically analyzing either (1) state response to the AIDS epidemic; or (2) non-state response to the AIDS epidemic. The unit of analysis should be a developing country, though multi-country studies or sub-national studies will be acceptable pending prior approval from the instructor. Topic selection must be submitted to the instructor by the end of Week 3. A thesis statement and outline must be submitted by the end of Week 5. Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the instructor during Week 6 to solicit feedback and strategize the way forward. A first draft will be posted for peer and instructor review by the start of Week 9. The term paper should be 12-15 pages in length (12 pt font, 1-inch margins) and will be due during Finals Week.


Grades for this course will be calculated from: online responses to weekly readings, the discussant assignment, successive tasks assigned to prepare you for the final paper, and the final paper. You should actively engage the readings such that you can synthesize an author’s thesis statement and critically evaluate it; post your reflections to the course web site 24 hours before seminar and communicate your own ideas about the topic during seminar. All assignments must be turned in on time, rare exceptions only made for documented illness. All assignments will be read for writing style and content, including online posts; please write accordingly and refrain from use of net slang. To achieve high marks on your final paper, seek and incorporate feedback from your colleagues and instructor, and heed the advice of Elements of a Good Term Paper at the close of this syllabus.

The grades will be itemized as such:
Weekly Online Posts: 25%
Discussant Assignment: 15%
Thesis Statement and Outline: 5%
First Draft of Term Paper: 10%
Peer Review of Colleague’s First Draft: 5%
Final Draft of Term Paper: 40%

The course involves a considerable amount of reading, the completion of which is essential to engaging the material with your colleagues during seminar. Because of the specialized nature of the course, there is no textbook that could cover all the necessary topic areas. All required readings will be posted securely to the course web site at the start of the term.

In addition to the required readings, students might enjoy and learn a lot from reading:
Epstein, Helen. 2007. The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Academic Integrity
“As specified by University policy, violations or attempted violations of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, multiple submissions, or facilitating academic dishonesty.” UCLA Student Guide to Academic Integrity, Office of the Dean of Students
All of the written work you submit for this course is expected to be your own. Given the nature of the seminar, I do not expect students who tend to take characterless shortcuts would enroll in the course. Nonetheless, to ensure everyone understands what constitutes plagiarism, students are required to complete the tutorial at Click on the “Citing and Documenting Sources” link. Take the quiz at the end of the tutorial and email your grade to me at before the close of Week 2.
Any suspected violation of UCLA’s integrity standards will be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students.

Unique Educational Needs
If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible. If you suspect you have a learning disability and have not been tested for one, contact the UCLA Office for Students with Disabilities.
Students whose native language is not English anxious that their language abilities may affect their fulfillment of the course requirements are encouraged to contact me as soon as possible.

Seminar Topics, Reading Assignments, Paper Assignment Dates


Week 1: Epidemiology of HIV and HIV/AIDS in Africa

Barnett, Tony and Alan Whiteside. 2006. “The Disease and its Epidemiology.” Chapter 2 in AIDS in the Twenty-First Century: Disease and Globalization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Selected Article for Discussant Assignment

Week 2: Local Experiences of HIV and AIDS

Booth, Karen. 2004. “A Husband Can Have a Thousand Girlfriends!”, Chapter 5 in Local Women, Global Science: Fighting AIDS in Kenya. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Watkins, Susan. 2004. “Navigating the AIDS epidemic in rural Malawi.” Population and Development
30(4): pp. 673-705.
Frank, Emily. 2005. “AIDS Ethnography: How to Begin.” Transforming Anthropology 13(2): pp. 143-147. [Zambia]

Complete Bruin Success Tutorial on “Citing and Documenting Sources” and email results to:

Week 3: National  Responses to HIV/AIDS, Part I: The State

Parkhurst, Justin. 2005. “The Response to HIV/AIDS and the Construction of National Legitimacy:
Lessons from Uganda.” Development and Change 36(3): pp. 571-590.
Booth, Karen. 2004. “Negotiating AIDS Policy in Kenya.” Chapter 3 in Local Women, Global Science:
Fighting AIDS in Kenya
. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Lieberman, Evan and Varun Gauri. 2006. “Boundary Politics and HIV/AIDS Policy in Brazil and South
Africa.” Studies in Comparative International Development 41(3): pp. 47-73.

Proposed Research Topic due via Email to:

Week 4: Natonal Responses to HIV/AIDS, Part II: The Ruler

Parkhurst, Justin and Louisiana Lush. 2004. “The political environment of HIV: lessons from a comparison of Uganda and South Africa.” Social Science & Medicine 59(9): pp. 1913-1924.
Furlong, Patrick and Karen Ball. 2005. “The More Things Change: AIDS and the State in South Africa, 1987-2003.” Chapter 7 in The African State and the AIDS Crisis, ed. by Amy Patterson. London: Ashgate Publishing.
Dionne, Kim Yi. (forthcoming). “The Role of Executive Time Horizons in State Response to AIDS in
Africa.” Comparative Political Studies.

Week 5: International Response

The World Bank Group. 1997. “Working Together To Confront HIV/AIDS.” Chapter 5 in Confronting
AIDS: Public Priorities in a Global Epidemic
. Washington, DC:World Bank.
World Health Organization. 2003. Treating 3 million by 2005: Making it happen. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Lieberman, Evan. (2009). “Globalization and Global Governance of AIDS: The Geneva Consensus.”
Chapter 3 in Boundaries of Contagion: How Ethnic Politics Have Shaped Government Responses to AIDS. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Proposed Thesis Statement and Outline Due Via Email to:

In addition to the resources available at Covel Commons, I encourage you to consult for tips onwriting a thesis statement and for tips on outlining.

Week 6: National Response vs. Geneva Consensus

The World Bank Group. 1997. “AIDS: A Challenge to Government.” Chapter 1 in Confronting AIDS:
Public Priorities in a Global Epidemic
. Washington, DC:World Bank.
Patterson, Amy. 2005. “The African State and the AIDS Crisis.” Chapter 1 in The African State and the AIDS Crisis, ed. by Amy Patterson. London: Ashgate Publishing.
Patterson, Amy and David Cieminis. 2005. “Weak and Ineffective? African States and Recent International AIDS Policies.” Chapter 9 in The African State and the AIDS Crisis, ed. by Amy Patterson. London: Ashgate Publishing.
Ramiaha, Ilavenil, and Michael Reich. 2006. “Building effective public–private partnerships: Experiences and lessons from the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP).” Social Science&Medicine 63(2): pp. 397-408. [Botswana]

Students are encouraged to make individual appointments during office hours to discuss research progress and to solicit feedback.

Week 7: Local Response

Batsell, Jake. 2005. “AIDS, Politics, and NGOs in Zimbabwe.” Chapter 4 in The African State and the AIDS Crisis, ed. by Amy Patterson. London: Ashgate Publishing.
Campbell, Catherine. 2003. “Mobilizing a Local Community to Prevent HIV/AIDS.” Chapter 2 in Letting Them Die: Why HIV/AIDS Programmes Fail. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. [South Africa]
Swidler, Ann. 2006. “Syncretism and subversion in AIDS governance: how locals cope with global demands.” International Affairs 82(2): pp. 269-284. [Botswana and Malawi]

Week 8: Assessing National Interventions

Nattrass, Niccoli. 2006. “South Africa’s ‘Rollout’ of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy: A Critical Assessment.” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 43(5): pp. 618–623.
Marum E, Taegtmeyer M, and K. Chebet. 2006. “Scale-up of voluntary HIV counseling and testing in Kenya.” JAMA 296(7): pp. 859-862.
Bing, Eric, Karen Cheng, Daniel Ortiz, Ricardo Ovalle-Baham´on, Francisco Ernesto, Robert Weiss, and Cherrie Boyer. 2008. “Evaluation of a Prevention Intervention to Reduce HIV Risk among Angolan Soldiers.” AIDS and Behavior 12(3): pp. 384-395.
Marazzi, M.C., G. Guidotti, G. Liotta, and L. Palombi. 2005. “DREAM: An integrated faith-based
initiative to treat HIV/AIDS in Mozambique.” Perspectives and practice in antiretroviral treatment. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Week 9: Scaleable Clinical Interventions

Bailey, R.C. and Moses, S. and Parker, C.B. and Agot, K. and Maclean, I. and Krieger, J.N. and Williams, C.F.M. and Campbell, R.T., and J. O. Ndinya-Achola. 2007. “Male circumcision for HIV prevention in young men in Kisumu, Kenya: a randomised controlled trial.” The Lancet 369(9562): pp. 643-656.
Westercamp, N. and R.C. Bailey. 2007. “Acceptability of Male Circumcision for Prevention of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review.” AIDS and Behavior 11(3): pp. 341-355.
Kilewo, Charles, Augustine Massawe, Eligius Lyamuya, Innocent Semali, Festus Kalokola, Ernest Urassa, Maryrose Giattas, Florence Temu, Katarina Karlsson, Fred Mhalu, and Gunne Biberfeld. 2001. “HIV Counseling and Testing of Pregnant Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: Experiences From a Study on Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV-I Transmission in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 28(5): pp. 458-462.
Angotti, Nicole, Kim Yi Dionne, and Lauren Gaydosh. 2008. “An Offer You Can’t Refuse: Provider-
InitiatedHIV Testing in Antenatal Clinics in Rural Malawi.” CCPRWorking Paper #033-088. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Los Angeles.

First draft of term paper to be posted on course web site. Download peer review assignment and bring printed copy to seminar for your colleague.

Week 10: Scalable Behavioral Intervention

Population Services International. 2005. “The Sugar Daddy Syndrome: African Campaigns Battle Ingrained Phenomenon.” Washington, DC: PSI.
Dupas, Pascaline. 2009. “Do Teenagers Respond to HIV Risk Information? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya.” NBER Working Paper #14707. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
Thornton, Rebecca L. 2008. “The Demand for, and Impact of, Learning HIV Status.” American Economic Review 98 (5): pp. 1829-1863. [Malawi]

Finals Week

Term paper due via email to:
Elements of a Good Term Paper
• It asks an important question, i.e. “Why was Uganda so successful in fighting HIV?”; “Which interventions are more effective: organic or imported?” The question should be substantively interesting and relevant, for which there could be more than one plausible answer. The paper makes clear what the question is early on.
• The question it asks has a verifiable answer. Even within the constraints of a 10-week term, it is possible to find evidence to support one or another answer.
• The paper provides an answer to the question, i.e. “Because Uganda had a strong, benevolent dictator, its response to HIV was swift and effective. . . ”; “Intervention type determines whether organic or imported models will be more effective. . . ” The answer you provide should be stated clearly, and a synopsis should be presented early in the paper. A great way to start a research paper is with: “In this paper, I argue that. . . ”
• After stating the answer to the question, the paper will organize and present evidence for why that answer is correct, or at least, more correct than another answer. Evidence ranges from quantitative analysis of data (aka statistics), qualitative analysis of interview transcripts, policy documents, or news articles, and even secondary analysis of data provided in other published works.
• The paper is written well. If you don’t already own a copy, Strunk & White’s Elements of Style is a must-have.


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