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Connecting Cal Poly's Past to its Future

The Other World
The 10th Edition of "The Other World"
will be published by Routledge in
fall 2017.

— By Craig Arceneaux

Today, faculty are able to choose from wide variety of books for their classes, but things were not always that way. 

In the 1980s, the Political Science faculty recognized the need for an introductory, comprehensive book on developing countries that would appeal not just to Political Science students, but also to other majors in general education courses. Joe Weatherby, chair of the department at the time, organized the effort, and invited faculty from his department to contribute chapters on different topics and regions. Inspired by Michael Harrington’s book, “The Other America”, the faculty settled on the title, “The Other World,” to underscore how the reader would be exposed to a wide variety of cultures, economics and politics. The first edition of the book came out in 1987. It was so successful, that it would be followed by eight more editions. And the book was special, because it was a Cal Poly product.

Many department alumni can survey the list of contributing authors and recognize a professor. Weatherby, William Alexander, Randal Cruikshanks, Earl Huff, Richard Kranzdorf, Reg Gooden, John Culver, Carl Lutrin, Dianne Long and Bud Evans contributed a chapter at one time or another. Indeed, as the department faculty roster changed, so too did the author list of “The Other World.” Still, by the ninth edition in 2011, the book had seen its Cal Poly connections fade. Craig Arceneaux, who made his first contribution to the 2007 edition of the book, took on the role of lead editor. With several contributors nearing retirement, there was an opportunity to restore the prominence and role of Cal Poly in a 10th edition. Anika Leithner and Ning Zhang joined the team and drafted new chapters, and to add to the interdisciplinary approach of the text, Ben Timms, a geographer from the Social Sciences Department, was invited to contribute. Only one author in the new edition, Ira Reed of Trinity College, hails from beyond Cal Poly. The 10th edition adds a heavy dose of new issues that hold growing relevance in the 21st century, such as sustainable development, democratization, cultural interactions and globalization. Early reviews describe the text as “the perfect introductory text to the developing regions,” as a “valuable teaching tool during this era of rapid and far reaching change,” and as a book that will “shift its readers’ perspective.”

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