Canada and the "Third World"

DEVS 100/6.0


To achieve this, the course examines the core perspectives and debates in development thinking and practice mainly since 1950s. We start with analysis of the evolution of development theory and practice, contextualized historically. Using case studies from different parts of the world, we then examine the impacts that key theories about ‘creating development’ have had when put into practice.

The latter part of the course focuses specifically on various aspects of Canada’s relationship to the “Third World.”  Canada’s mixed record as a colonial power over First Nations peoples will also introduce students to basic issues in Aboriginal Studies. From this basis, we can reflect upon the complexities, ambiguities and contradictions found beneath popular stereotypes of Canadian “niceness” or support for “Third World” aspirations. What choices might Canadian citizens take to shape their relationship with the “Third World” in the future?

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of developmental thinking as an explanatory framework of development and underdevelopment in the "Third World";
  • Describe the usefulness of employing interdisciplinary approaches to better engage the problems of development and underdevelopment;
  • Explain the competing perspectives on development and how they are connected to particular periods, political interests and concerns; and
  • Identify key issues in contemporary development, including Canada's place in international development.


Section 1Introduction to the Course and the Idea of Development
Section 2Theories of Development: Modernization to Neo-Liberalism
Section 3Rethinking Development: Gender, Orientalism and Post Development
Section 4Global Legacies of Colonialism
Section 5Legacies of Colonialism in Canada
Section 6After Colonialism - The Development Project
Section 7From Development to Globalization
Section 8Globalization in Practice
Section 9Globalization in Crisis
Section 10Canadian Foreign Policy and Peacekeeping
Section 11Development Assistance, NGOs, and the Evolution of Canadian Foreign Aid Policy
Section 12Where do we go from here? Re Imagining Development


"The organization and set up of the course was phenomenal. I thought the course material, including the text, readings and videos, were excellent. The professor was extremely helpful and always went above and beyond."
- Course evaluation, DEVS 100: Canada and the "Third World" (2014)