Department of Global Development Studies


Global Development Studies

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Global Development Studies 2018-2019 Graduate Courses


DEVS 801/3.0  The Political Economy of Development (Fall 2018)

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the relationship between political economy and the ideas and practices of development.  The course grounds students in core theories, both classical and contemporary.  It then examines key themes and controversies to illustrate the relationships between political economy and development practice.

This is a mandatory course for all graduate students in Global Development Studies.

Instructor:  Susanne Soederberg

DEVS 802/3.0  The Cultural Politics of Development (Winter 2019)

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the cultural politics of development in historical and contemporary perspective.  The course focuses on narratives of development and their relationship to social and political movements in the South and North.  Themes include the ideas of tradition, modernity and progress; colonialism, nationalism and liberation; and the gendered and racialised politics of development.

This is a mandatory course for all graduate students in Global Development Studies.

Instructor:  Marcus Taylor

DEVS 803/3.0  Qualitative Research Methods and Fieldwork (Winter 2019)

Provides students with core skills in qualitative fieldwork planning, design and implementation. With a focus on the ethics of conducting research in development settings and the role of research in social change, the course addresses key qualitative methods and techniques such as interviewing, participant observation, participatory research, and data management and analysis.

Instructor:  Rebecca Hall

DEVS 825/3.0  Intersectional Indigenous Inquiry (Not offered 2018/2019)

This course will focus on Indigenous critical theory from intersectional perspectives. We will begin with a survey of the critical literature on “Native Nationalist”, “cosmopolitan”, intersectional, and “transIndigenous” theory. We will examine the ways in which scholars have situated their values and limitations, and we will question the degree to which they represent incommensurable commitments.

The class will also examine positionality from intersectional perspectives. We will theorize positionality as a state, a practice, and an ethics/accountability. In doing so we will move away from the reified terms “settler” and “indigenous”, and move toward greater specificity through acknowledging relationality.

Students will consider what kind of intersections that they find themselves at currently in their research/practice: a cross-walk, fork in the road, round-about, or hyper-regulated interchange? We will also speculate and experiment with the creation of new intersections. What, for example, might we gain by articulating the axis of Indigenous nationalisms and western theoretical perspectives? What is the efficacy of an engagement with “Cree queer new materialism”, “Musqueam-Liǥwildaʼx̱w agonism”, or new forms of Trans-settler affect and Feminist arrivant visuality? How might speculative inquiry between Critical Indigenous theory, Western theory and other non-western epistemologies take place in ways that remain committed to the political and ethical needs of the multiple communities that we belong to?

Note: prior to enrolling in the course, students are encouraged to contact Dr. Dylan Robinson by email:     

Taught concurrently with CUST 892/3.0 and GNDS 821/3.0                    

Instructor:  Dylan Robinson

DEVS 850/3.0  Professional Seminar in Global Development Studies (Fall 2018 and Winter 2019)

This course provides a monthly forum to discuss practical, ethical and methodological issues in conducting development research and writing, including major research papers, thesis work, and grant applications.

This is a mandatory course for all graduate students in Global Development Studies.

Instructor:  Mark Hostetler

DEVS 861/3.0  Development and the Global Agro-Food System (Fall 2018)

There can be little doubt that the current era is witnessing dramatic change in the global production and consumption of food. In some respects this represents that continuation of previous trends. However, in number of important ways agricultural restructuring in the late twentieth century appears completely new. Using a diverse disciplinary perspective, this course analyses key aspects of contemporary changes in the global agro-food system. Topics covered will range from industrialization and corporate control of food and farming, the geography of more ‘flexible’ forms of manufacturing and service provisions, feminization of agricultural labour, localized and place-based agriculture, non-agricultural uses of agro-food resources, financialization of food, food sovereignty to new landscapes of consumption, changing forms of political organization and protests and the relationship between food and culture, specifically how communities and societies identify and express themselves through food.

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses. .

Instructor:  Paritosh Kumar

DEVS 862/3.0  Alliance Politics, Solidarity Movements in the Global Context (Fall 2018)

This course provides an overview of a variety of dissident social movements from around the world with a specific focus on solidarity praxis. It situates itself in relation to both academic and "activist" perspectives on the interconnected power relations such as colonialism, nationalism, neoliberal capitalism and heteropatriarchy in the global context while tracing the dissident engagements with these power relations such as feminist, LGBTQ, socialist, anarchist and anti-colonial movements. Utilizing the critical scholarship on social movements, alliance politics and solidarity building, the course will focus on the relevance and significance of solidarity praxis while analyzing the intersections and interrelations of historical and current tendencies within the dissident movements. The course will equip students with tools to critically engage with the constructions of concepts like identity, "activism", collective action and street politics along with social movements such as indigenous resurgence, feminist, anti-heterosexist organizing and the so-called "Arab Spring", "Occupy" and "Gezi".

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses. 

Instructor:  Ayca Tomac

DEVS 863/3.0  Sustainable Development or Green Growth? (Fall 2018)

The concept of sustainable development that first emerged over 30 years ago remains ambiguous and difficult to operationalize. In the past decade, a number of possibly competing concepts of have risen to prominence in international discourse such as ‘green growth’. In this course, we will explore differences between sustainable development and green growth and consider whether either offers a viable path for economic development within planetary boundaries. Additionally, we will compare these mainstream models with some of the more radical proposals for development in the ‘Anthropocene’.

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses

Instructor:  Kyla Tienhaara

DEVS 864/3.0  Development, Power, and Inequity in the Global North (Winter 2019)

This course explores power and inequality in North America by conversing with the theories and histories of global development and decolonization. We will explore a wide range of topics, including the legacies of settler-colonialism and slavery in contemporary society, how International Development institutions and actors have shaped popular knowledge about poverty in the Global North, and why since the 1960s some community organizers have turned to theories emerging from the Global South to change conditions of inequality that exist in the First World.

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.

Instructor:    Scott Rutherford

DEVS 865/3.0  The Nonprofit and Charitable Sector in Canada (Winter 2019)

This seminar will introduce students to key debates surrounding the nonprofit and charitable sector as a development agent in the Canadian context. Drawing on relevant theories of capitalism and the nation, we explore topics such as the relationship between neoliberal restructuring and the nonprofit and charitable sector; the effects of nonprofits on social movements; the political possibilities and limits of social enterprises; corporate social responsibility and the nation-as-brand; and elite charitable foundations and their influence. We will locate these issues in the Canadian context, examining them in relation to the Canadian energy sector, Canadian multiculturalism, and Canadian settler-colonialism. Finally, we will discuss the linkages between the Canadian nonprofit and charitable sector and Canadian development NGOs abroad.

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses. 

Instructor:    Adam Saifer

DEV 866/3.0  Approaches to Sustainable Livelihood Development (Fall 2018)

Sustainable livelihoods approaches have become increasingly important in the discussion of development over the past few decades. These approaches are concerned with understanding the various resources and strategies that people draw on to construct, improve and defend their livelihoods in ways they find meaningful. In this course, we will explore a variety of related theoretical perspectives including those focused on social (and other) capital, human capabilities, and agency. After reviewing these approaches, we will evaluate their efficacy for analysing a variety of rural, urban, and peri-urban development case studies. Based on our review of theory and its application to case studies, students will be tasked with developing their own framework for analysing livelihoods and identifying possible avenues for contributing to their enhancement.

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.

Instructor:  Mark Hostetler

DEVS 867/3.0  Two Indias of the 21st Century(Winter 2019)

India entered the twenty-first century with profound changes in its economy, politics and society. An authoritarian right-wing formation of the Hindu nationalist party came to dominate India’s political scene, dumping secular principles for a threatening religious posturing. In the sphere of foreign policy, India discarded its strong Southern commitment to a non-aligned foreign policy. The most noteworthy development, however, was in the economic sphere where the country quickly went from being one of the most insulated economics to adopting a neo-liberal model of integration into the world capitalist system. While India has experienced spectacular growth recently, it has also led to staggering inequalities, resource extraction, regional imbalances, rise of religious fundamentalism and large scale dispossession and dislocation of rural populations.

Using India as a case study, this course offers an analytical introduction to the historical and contemporary theories of development with a special emphasis on critical perspectives. Drawing upon an interdisciplinary set of readings in history, sociology, political science, geography and anthropology, we will pay careful attention to the ways a study constructs, employs or challenges the idea of “development”. This critical reading of development literature will also lead us to explore a range of regional issues in India including Dalit (lower caste) politics, poverty, resource extraction, agrarian change, industrial transformation, service-sector development, women’s movements, emergence and growth of religious conflicts, environmental politics and sustainability. We will use what we learn about the Indian situation to engage with a set of questions that have to do with the future not only of India, but indeed, the current path of development itself.   

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.

Instructor:   Paritosh Kumar

DEVS 868/3.0  Gender Matters: Exploring Contemporary Development Issues in the Global South (Winter 2019)

Despite the ‘global economic integration’ of countries from the Global South, processes of globalization and development polices have intensified gender inequality. The course examines three specific and inter-related polycrises of climate change, militarism, and economic dispossession vis-à-vis gender. The urgency to study these polycrises from a gendered lens is critical not only because of their vast scale but also because of their profoundly negative and long-lasting impact in reshaping gender identity, gender relations, survival strategies and livelihood patterns for women in the Global South. Additionally, the multiple intersections of patriarchy, race, class, ethnicity, and/or religion with these crises of climate change, militarism, and economic dispossession influence and shape gender responses. The course, while undertaking a feminist critique of these polycrises, discusses their gendered impact on women and girl children. It also deliberates on the grassroots and political mobilization, community participation, and resistance strategies undertaken in response to them.

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for graduate students. Graduate students may not take more than three such mixed courses. 

Instructor:    Reena Kukreja

DEVS 869/3.0  Global Governance (Winter 2019)

Like many fashionable terms in academia and policymaking circles, global governance has all too often escaped critical evaluation. Situating this moving target in the wider context of global political economy, we interrogate the institutional, discursive and regulatory features of global governance by exploring a wide variety of contemporary themes and issues, such as global trade, global aid, global risk management, the rule of law, slum rehabilitation, planetary gentrification, corruption and tax havens, and so forth across varied levels of governance ranging from global institutions (World Trade Organisation, European Union, World Bank, World Economic Forum, UN-HABITAT) to national and municipal institutions. In so doing, we ask: who benefits from global governance? Whose values are being promoted, and why? And, finally, who and/or is to be governed, and why?

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.

Instructor:  Susanne Soederberg

DEVS 870/3.0  The 'African Renaissance' in Global Perspective (Fall 2018)

This course will evaluate the premises and promises of the “African renaissance” (or “Africa rising” narrative) in relation to global trends, notably, climate change, the rise of China and South-South trade, and protectionism/xenophobia in the West. It begins with a critical overview of the history of underdevelopment under colonial and neo-colonial conditions, including through unequal relations in the production of knowledge about Africa. Students then examine a specific proposed “renaissance” strategy, critically assessing the debates and leading to mature reflection on “what next”? Topics include: aid versus trade, colonial borders/languages vs. indigenous cultures/languages, tourism, health, human rights, refugees/migration, social media, and much more. The major research essay will involve a case study of urban redevelopment in light of these global challenges.

Instructor:  Marc Epprecht

DEVS 871/3.0  Women and Environmental (In)justice (Fall 2018)

This interdisciplinary course examines the history and contemporary issues of environmental racism from different feminist perspectives. We examine the environmental burdens faced by women and Indigenous communities locally and globally, and their leading role in the struggle for environmental justice. How and why are environmental issues experienced differently according to race, gender and class? How have different communities responded to environmental injustices? How is environmental justice related to food systems, social justice, and justice for Indigenous peoples?

Instructor:  Adrienne Lickers

DEVS 872/3.0  Indigenous Theory (Winter 2019)

In recent years the term indigenous has become popular in describing Aboriginal people in Canada. This course goes beyond the euphemistic and often politically expedient use of the term to explore the meaning of Indigeneity, the emerging scholarship in Indigenous theory, and the current processes of re-indigenization. Students will explore legal and cultural applications of indigenous identity through a variety of contemporary readings and classroom discussions. Areas of interest will be economics, law, social/cultural development, colonization and de-colonization, and predictive futures. While this course will explore Aboriginal identity in Canada as part of the study, the focus is much broader in examining global indigenous realities as well as an expanded theoretical foundation.

Assessment in this course will be based on an individual contract negotiated between the student and professor within the first three weeks of the course beginning. Students will be expected to read all course material, take part in all informed classroom discussions, produce high quality academic writing or other forms of professional presentations, and meet periodically with the instructor.

Instructor:  Robert Lovelace

DEVS 890/3.0 Cuban Culture and Society (Winter and Spring 2019)

DEVS graduate students have the opportunity to register for DEVS 305, Cuban Culture and Society as a directed reading course (3.0 units). This course is designed to introduce students to Cuban society and culture. The course will focus especially on the period from the Cuban revolution (1959) to the present. Students will examine some of the main events and highlights of Cuban history, politics and culture in this era. This course meets intermittently in Winter term, and reconvenes for a week at the beginning for May, before the group travels to the final two-week session at the University of Havana. Graduate students who wish to take this course as a graduate credit will also meet occasionally with the instructor; the course readings can be tailored to specific interests.  


  • Students are expected to pay an ancillary fee for travel and accommodation while in Havana. Estimated cost $2,785.
  • Students must apply to take the course. Applications are available in the DEVS office.
  • Students are expected to attend a pre-departure orientation.
  • Costs and application deadlines will be posted on the DEVS website.
  • DEVS 890 is a 3-unit course and the graduate equivalent of DEVS 305.

For more information see Global Development Studies department website: See also Queen's Cuban Culture and Society course page on Facebook

DEVS 890/3.0 Directed Reading Course

Students whose proposed research lies outside the realm (thematic or regional) of regular course offerings may choose this option. In consultation with a willing supervisor, students must develop a unifying title, course description, and reading list of 2‐4 key texts for each of 5‐6 set topics leading toward an agreed upon set of assignments.  There is an expectation that a minimum of one substantive written assignment will be required.

DEVS 898  Master's Research Paper

Students will complete a library‐based major research project (MRP) of 50‐60 pages. The MRP will deal with a specific interdisciplinary question directly relevant to Global Development Studies, which may be thematic or theoretical in nature or focus on peoples or places generally associated with the Global South in the context of relations with the Global North.

PREREQUISITE: Permission of Graduate Chair in consultation with a willing faculty supervisor, plus completion of two mandatory and four elective DEVS or DEVS‐ eligible courses.

DEVS 899  Master's Thesis

Research leading to a dissertation of 75‐100 pages will usually involve the collection and analysis of primary data and be of publishable quality. Such data could include oral interviews, archival and other documentary sources, in some cases collected through field work.

PREREQUISITE: Permission of Graduate Chair in consultation with a willing faculty supervisor, plus completion of two mandatory and two elective DEVS or DEVS‐eligible courses.

DEVS 950/3.0  Professional Doctoral Seminar in Development Studies

Provides a forum to discuss practical, ethical and methodological issues in conducting development research, pedagogy, writing and professional development, including thesis preparation, publications, development pedagogy, conference presentations and grant applications. Monthly meetings; Fall-Winter.