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Instructor: Dr Barbara Holler

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Introduces basic theoretical concepts of development studies, the history of global inequality, and short histories of alternative development strategies. Case studies of Canada’s ties to the so-called third world will include missionaries, military, business, and aid. Canadian colonialism over First Nations peoples will introduce basic issues in Aboriginal Studies.

Available as a full-year course in Fall 2018/Winter 2019.

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the theoretical perspectives and main issues that have informed current thinking in Global Development Studies. This includes discussions of the basic theoretical concepts of development studies, a history of global inequality and short histories of alternative development strategies. This course will explore these issues in the context of specific case studies highlighting the relationship between developing countries and Canada. These case studies cover a wide range of topics such as economics, paid work and global labour markets, education, gender, First Nations peoples, Canadian Aid policies, Foreign Policy and International Development. Each week, different theoretical perspectives are illustrated and discussed through reference to concrete empirical applications. The course aims to provide students with an understanding of conceptual issues of development studies as well as with a more practical and policy oriented understanding of development planning and implementation.


Learning outcomes

At the end of the course a successful student will be able to:

  • Distinguish between various theories of development
  • Have a clear grasp of the contested meaning of development
  • Understand the implications for policy, academic work and social activism that different theories of development imply
  • Explore the power relations-local, national and global-that shape the creation and further the propagation of different theories of development
  • Produce critical analysis within a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach.
  • Summarize texts and debates and present them in written form
  • Understand how to structure an argument
  • Be able to present data and case studies in a variety of formats such as electronic posters, reports, maps, etc


Experiential learning opportunities

There have been a variety of ELOs for DEVS 100. In the Fall term 2013/2014 the first field trip took place st the Earthship Brighton, which was the Low Carbon Trust's first project and was the first Earthship to be built in England. The project was built as a community centre for use by Stanmer Organics, built on a Soil Association accredited site in Brighton. It has evolved over the last ten years, providing jobs for local workers and enabling people to come and experience a cutting edge eco-build and be inspired to respond to climate change in their own ways back at home and work. While there is a strong theoretical component to this field study, visits to local community projects and learning facilities will add another layer and deeper understanding of Global Development Studies. Especially, this trip is meant as an effective tool to explore the connections of local initiatives to global Environmental policies as outlined by the Millennium Development Goals. This field study is also aimed to widen students’ access to information and resources that pure class-room teaching cannot achieve. 

The second ELO for this course included a visit to the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool. The self-guided tour highlighted the international importance of slavery, both in a historic and contemporary context. Working in partnership with other museums with a focus on freedom and enslavement, the museum provides opportunities for greater awareness and understanding of the legacy of slavery today. The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool is widely considered to be one of the foremost spaces in terms of dealing with the historic and current implications of slavery across the globe. A visit to the museum proved to be an invaluable teaching tool connecting more theoretical debates regarding Colonialism and Post-Colonialism, with the lived realities of slavery. 

Raising questions about the basis of differences between men and women was a fundamental step in the development of contemporary feminism and approaches within gender and development.  During the Winter term 2013/2014 lectures and seminars examine the distinctions drawn between sex and gender and look at the arguments about the relative parts that biology and culture play in the construction of sex and gender differences, within the context of global development studies. While we will explore gender both theoretically and in the context of specific case studies, the first field study aims at placing students firmly into these explorations. What does it mean to be a man or woman, boy or girl, third gender, etc.? Images of women, men and third gender individuals across the world in developing countries are informed by dominant global discourses and expectations related to these categories. This workshop would challenge some of these perceptions and highlighting the lack of universality in regards to gender and development, in particular as it relates to human rights and moral issues in global development. Here students will engage in a variety of gender-specific role playing across cultures that will further their understanding of the theoretical concept and will help them to engage with the topic in a less abstract manner.

An ELO visit to the Aids Alliance will provide a case study (HIV/Aids) which will support students in their aim to further deconstruct issues such as participatory development and global action, as well as critically examine notions of human rights and global health. 

The International Aids Alliance located in Brighton, is an alliance of 40 nationally based, independent civil society organisations and Country Offices, seven technical support hubs and an international secretariat that are dedicated to ending AIDS through community action. During Week Ten when the topic covers global health, this prior visit and lecture at the main office in Brighton would provide the opportunity to students to explore hands-on the work of this organization at home and abroad. During this week our lecture and seminar will provide an introduction to the language of global health: the burden of disease and poverty and health systems. It will then analyse the rationale for and modes of intervention to improve global health by exploring a number of high-profile topics, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic, access to pharmaceuticals, human resources for health and maternal and child health.



ELO Assignments (10% of total grade): Students are asked to prepare field study reports after each of their field study visits in the Fall and Winter terms. These reports can include a variety of different sources (including maps, graphs, visual material, reports) to explore one theoretical element of the course and place it into the context of the field visit. These field reports will be incorporated into the discussion of your learning journal. 

Electronic Poster Presentation (10% of total grade): Students will be asked to prepare and present an electronic poster in the Fall term 2013. The poster presentation will not exceed 1-page and 5 minutes in length and can cover any of the topics explored during the course.  

Learning Diary (40% of total grade): This is an ongoing account of both experience and understanding of the issues raised during the course. The intention here is that students reflect on the process of learning about global development as it happens and therefore learn not only more about development studies but also about critical learning processes. The first part of the weekly learning diary is due at the last day of class in the Fall term. The word limit for each weekly entry is set at 400 words. It will cover all weekly topics discussed during that term.  The second part of the learning diary is due at the last day of the Winter term. 

Attendance and Participation (15% of total grade): Attendance and participation are an important part of the course, and will constitute 15% of the total grade. The point of our classes is to provide a forum for students to discuss their thoughts and ideas in a small group. Students are expected to have done the readings prior to meeting and to be prepared to discuss them at length. The grade in this area will reflect degrees of participation and critical engagement with the readings and with fellow classmates. In addition, there are students who might feel that their participation will not adequately reflect their understanding of and involvement in the course material in the Winter term you are given the chance to act as a facilitator of a 30-mins section of one class. Here you are asked to summarize the main issues addressed in the key readings and prepare two questions that provide a framework for the class discussion. Please note, too, the provision that allows for two absences; that will not affect your class participation grade.  

Essay (25% of total grade) 1000 word essay due in the Winter term, for which students will get one-on-one supervision. For example students will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of one or more of the development theories discussed in the course, explore concepts like sustainable development,  gender, health, education, human rights or employment. The objective is to demonstrate your understanding of competing theoretical frameworks and to explain your position in relation to these international development issues.


Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
Fax: +44 1323 834499
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
Fax: (613) 533-6810
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