DEVS Graduate Courses

Our program builds upon core courses that provide the foundations of research within development studies.

MA Candidates:  MA students are enrolled in Political Economy of Development (DEVS 801) and Cultural Politics of Development (DEVS 802). These reflect the basic areas of expertise within the Department and provide students with two key pillars for understanding the field of development studies.

PhD Candidates: PhD students are enrolled in Political Economy of Development (DEVS 801), Cultural Politics of Development (DEVS 802) and Qualitative Research Methods and Fieldwork (DEVS 803).

All first year MA and PhD students are enrolled in Professional Seminar in Global Development Studies (DEVS 850/950), which provides a useful forum to meet as a group to discuss how best to move through the program.  Meeting once a month across both fall and winter terms, the course provides a discussion forum addressing key themes concerning research, ethics, and debates within the discipline.

In 2021-2022, the Department offers additional elective graduate level courses: 

  • DEVS 803: Qualitative Research Methods and Fieldwork (core course for DEVS PhD students)
  • DEVS 811:  State Transformations, Resistance and Social Change in The Global South
  • DEVS 813:  Global Environmental Politics

MA students may also enroll in up to two mixed senior undergraduate/MA-level seminars (e.g. DEVS 86X to DEVS 87X). Topics include development and the agro-food industry, indigenous theory, global governance, migration among others. Students also have the opportunity to register in Cuban Culture and Society I (DEVS 306) as a directed reading course.  Please discuss this option with the course instructor, Karen Dubinsky, and the graduate chair. 

MA and accelerated PhD students may take up to two courses offered outside of DEVS and can select from a wide range of courses offered in cognate (related) departments (e.g., History, Political Studies, Sociology, Geography, Gender Studies and Environmental Studies). Permission of the course instructor and DEVS graduate chair is required. Please consult the individual departments and programs website to ascertain the courses being offered and to obtain course outlines and names of instructors. Students should be alert for potential time conflicts with DEVS mandatory courses, DEVS electives, and TA-Ship responsibilities. Please note that students do not have enrollment priority in courses outside of their home department and enrollment in these courses may not be made available until the start of term, and then only if space permits. If you are interested in a course outside of DEVS, please contact the DEVS Academic Assistant for guidance.  DEVS students are encouraged to enroll in a DEVS course as a backup in case their enrollment in a course outside of DEVS cannot be accommodated by the other department.

Students may also request the option to take a directed reading course (DEVS 890). This course enables a student or a group of students to explore a body of literature on a selected topic in development. The focus may be by theme, by region or by academic approach and can span the humanities, social sciences and environmental sciences. The student or students are responsible for approaching a faculty member with whom they wish to work and who is willing to undertake this project. The reading list, course schedule and course assignments will be agreed upon by the student/students and professor, but there is an expectation that a minimum of one substantive written assignment will be required.

Please note that graduate students are not permitted to self-enroll in courses in the Student On-Line University System (SOLUS). The Academic Programs Assistant handles all course enrollments, drops and audits.

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 MA and PhD graduate students in Global Development Studies.

Available only to MA and PhD students.

Instructor:  Susanne Soederberg

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 MA and PhD graduate students in Global Development Studies.

Available only to MA and PhD students.

Instructor:  Reena Kukreja

This course introduces qualitative fieldwork methods including research design, proposal writing, ethics, interviews, and data analysis. It offers a clear pathway towards successful fieldwork design, implementation and reporting and provides core professional skills for working productively within development and community organisations.

This is a mandatory course for all PhD graduate students in Global Development Studies, and highly recommended for all MA graduate students.

Available only to MA and PhD students.

Instructor:  Bernadette Resurrección

 Who cares? And how and where do they do it, under what conditions, and for what purposes? While concepts like “work” and “economy” are usually associated with production or services oriented towards profit generation, a huge proportion of unpaid and paid labour worldwide is oriented towards social reproduction and care. In this seminar, we make these labours the centre of our analysis, and ask how that changes our approach to development. Social reproduction refers to the paid and unpaid labour that maintains and reproduces people and communities on a daily and intergenerational basis. We will ask how social reproduction is structured by local and transnational political economies, and how it shapes these economies, in turn. We will trace contemporary transnational flows of reproductive labour (for example, migrant support workers and childcare workers) and bodily capacities (for example, transnational surrogacy), and how they are shaping social reproduction locally and globally. We will also ask what future economies that privilege care might look like, examining the role of care in confronting racial capitalism, supporting Indigenous resurgence, and the “Just Transitions”/ “Build Back Better” movements.

Available only to MA and PhD students.

Instructor:  Rebecca Hall

This seminar examines the political challenges of addressing the global environmental crisis. The first half of the course will focus on key moments in the history of global environmental governance from the Stockholm Conference in 1972 to the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Students will explore how various actors (e.g. states, international organizations, scientists, corporations, activists) have shaped the outcomes in these moments for better or worse. The extent to which the “North-South” divide has hindered progress in global environmental governance will also be addressed. In the second half of the course, students will assess efforts to “green” global economic institutions, with particular attention given to the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.

Available only to MA and PhD students.

Instructor:  Kyla Tienhaara

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

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 two such mixed courses.

Instructor:  Paritosh Kumar

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 two such mixed courses. 

Instructor:  Ayca Tomac

It has been almost 50 years since The Limits to Growth, a report from the Club of Rome, first sounded the warning that a relentless pursuit of economic growth would result in ecological overshoot and a collapse in global human welfare. Although many of the report’s predictions have proven to be accurate, the relationship between economic growth and environmental sustainability remains a subject of intense debate. The concept of sustainable development that emerged in the late 1980s, in an effort to reconcile the two, has since been joined by related notions of green growth and a green economy. At the same time, there has been a resurgence of interest in limits (framed now as “planetary boundaries”). Degrowth and “doughnut economics” are growing in popularity in certain parts of the Global North, while philosophies like buen vivir are inspiring social movements in the Global South. In addition to addressing economic growth, this course will also look at the relationship between environmental sustainability and economic inequality (both within and between nations). In particular, we will examine proposals for a Global Green New Deal which aim to simultaneously address the climate emergency and improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most marginalised.

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

Instructor:  Kyla Tienhaara

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 two such mixed courses.

Instructor:  Paritosh Kumar

The interdisciplinary field of Political ecology highlights the relevance of power and politics for shaping the relationship between humans and their environments. It first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s with the specific aim of challenging ‘apolitical’ accounts of human-environment relations that rely upon simplistic causal links between population growth, poverty, environmental degradation and social conflicts. In the first part of this course, we will explore core theoretical, conceptual, and methodological trends and debates in the field of political ecology. In the second part, we will cover a range of cases of environmental problems in various socio-ecological contexts including those concerned with forests, agriculture, water, fisheries and range lands. We will also look for inspiration through the transformative work of organizations, communities and movements crafting solutions to environmental problems. The overall goal of this course is thus to introduce students to important contexts and tools for analyzing the complexity of human systems and their relationships to the natural world and for contributing to solutions to environmental problems.

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

Instructor:    Diana Córdoba

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 two such mixed courses.

Instructor:  Mark Hostetler

Through time and across borders, critical feminist theories and practices have sought to do far more than insert women higher in the echelons of global power structures: they have sought to dismantle these power structures, and to imagine and practice a different world. Grounded in the insights of critical feminist theory, this course will focus on sites of feminist struggle, examining both transnational continuities and differentiations in an unequal world. The first half of the course will be devoted to engagement with key theoretical texts in anti-racist and anti-colonial feminisms, Indigenous feminisms, queer feminisms, socialist feminisms and feminist political economy. In the second half of the course, students will apply these theories in the analysis of contemporary transnational feminist struggles (including, but not limited to, transnational care networks; state surveillance of intimate identities and labours; gender-based violence; reproductive rights; and, subsistence and ecological justice).

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

Instructor:   Rebecca Hall

 The seminar will explore the linkages between gender with environment and development. These linkages fundamentally strike at the heart of society-nature relations, which have been perceived to be dualistic and binary. Major strands of “women and environment” scholarship have posited nature as an external entity impacting disproportionately on women through its ‘unruly ways’ (WED); as lamenting the demise of pristine nature and along with it, women’s special environmental knowledge (ecofeminism). Other intellectual streams, such as feminist political ecology and feminist environmentalism, instead seek to blur the society-nature dualism by positing their co-constitution: They demonstrate that women interact with nature through multiple knowledges and gendered forms of labor on land, water, forests, in disasters and climate change, be it productive, reproductive, visible or invisibilized labor. Their bodies are their first territory and the system that exploits nature is the same one that exploits bodies, sexualities and labor as they intersect with hierarchies of race, ethnicity, class and age. This seminar will also provide students with tools and approaches to analyze and critique the technological, political economic processes, and policy practices that make up today’s sustainability debate and the role that types of gender discourses are being positioned to play in this.

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

Instructor:   Bernadette Resurrección (Fall)

Like many fashionable terms in academia and policy making 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 two such mixed courses.

Instructor:  Susanne Soederberg

In 2019, tourism accounted for 10-11% of employment globally. For some countries, its promotion was the principal development strategy, with noteworthy successes achieved over the past few decades. Compelling critiques of tourism’s environmental, cultural, unequal economic and other harmful impacts, as well as rapid changes in technology and in tourist demography, were giving rise both to new harms and new strategies to mitigate them including, notably, “eco-tourism.” COVID-19 largely shut down the industry with devastating impacts in tourism-dependent economies. But it also sparked creative initiatives to re-think tourism as a sustainable, social justice-oriented development strategy. This course critically assesses the history and contemporary practices of tourism planning for a post-pandemic, climate crisis, “new normal” world.

 

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

Instructor:  Marc Epprecht

Energy democracy is a relatively new concept that refers to a transformation of the ways in which we produce and consume energy that are more socially and economically just as well as environmentally sustainable. There are radically different visions for what this means in practice, however, with competing notions of what constitutes democratic engagement, who should own and operate energy facilities, what role new technologies should play, etc. This course will focus on electricity in particular, examining spaces of energy poverty and different strategies for improving electricity access and affordability while at the same time expanding democratic engagement and public ownership. The emphasis will be on renewable forms of electricity, comparing energy democracy struggles in the North and the South, with states and communities employing very different strategies to address local contexts while at the same time fighting global challenges such as climate change. Topics to be covered include the shifting roles of (renewable) electricity in global capitalism, the uneven impacts of disruptive technologies, debates over decentralization and decarbonization, and gendered differentials in electricity access.

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

Instructor:  David McDonald

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.

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

Instructor:  Robert Lovelace

This course reviews the theory and practice of public versus private provision of essential services such as water, electricity and health care, with a focus on countries in the South. Part One of the course examines neoclassical conceptions of ‘public’ and ‘private’ and the theoretical rationale for privatization. We explore the various ways that services are privatized and commercialized, including a discussion of how these various forms of privatization work in practice and the extent of privatization in countries in the South. Part Two examines alternative conceptualizations of publicness, reviews different critiques of privatization, and explores emerging public alternatives for service delivery, ranging from ‘the commons’ to remunicipalization, as well as the people and organizations driving these developments.

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

Instructor:  David McDonald

In recent years, the study of migration has moved to the centre stage of development policy and development theorisation. As the movement and numbers of migrants has increased globally, populist backlash against certain classes and categories of migrants has gained momentum with restrictive visa and border control regimes and rhetoric of hate. This has thrown theoretical and practical challenges for development studies, most notably the relationships between migration and urbanization, industrialization, precarious work, remittance economy, family structure, gender roles, ideology. There is a pressing need to understand how migration, restrictive border controls, neoliberal citizenship, and the construction of migrant ‘illegality’ are affecting societies and, (re)shaping work strategies, gender relations, gender roles, and masculinity, among others. This intensive course will challenge you to rethink the interface between development and migration by undertaking an analysis of voluntary or involuntary migratory trajectories of people in the contemporary moment. By keeping at the centre of its inquiry, intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, and masculinity, the course will provide cutting-edge theorisation about how these interfaces impact migration patterns, policies, societies, and, most importantly, the lived experiences of the migrants. The focus of the course will be North America and Europe as ‘receiving’ regions. It will adopt an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on literature ranging from migration studies, critical masculinity studies, and gender studies and diverse material including auto-ethnographies, photovoice, documentaries, and films in facilitating a nuanced theoretical grounding on this subject.

 

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

Instructor:  Reena Kukreja

This course uses sport to examine broader questions related to the cultural politics of development. The course investigates how sport has been implicated in various processes that came to shape the development project’s cultural politics and its more recent iterations in the twenty first century. Students will be asked to consider how through sport we can explore questions of power and agency within development as well as debates surrounding using the culture of sport as an expedient tool to achieve social, economic and political objectives. Moreover, the course asks students to consider the role of sport as praxis to achieve more equitable futures.

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

Instructor:  Scott Rutherford

This course addresses the study and interpretation of social organizations and cultures in everyday life using photography and film. Beginning with a critical analysis of how the visual entered social science research, this course will move towards contemporary approaches that highlight the embodied and sensory dimensions of the visual. Students will complete several image-based projects in order to gain necessary skills associated with visually conveying socio-cultural practice and lived experience.

Note: All students must have access to the following technology/resources:

• Photography and Video recorder (it can be your smartphone)

• An application for editing/making short film (e.g. IMovie)

• An application for editing photographs (not required but would be useful)

Available only to MA and PhD students.

Instructor:  Celeste Pedri-Spade

DEVS graduate students have the opportunity to register for DEVS 306/DEVS 307 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.  

NOTES:

  • Students are expected to pay an ancillary fee for travel and accommodation while in Havana. Estimated cost $3,200.
  • 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 306/DEVS 307.

For more information please contact Professor Karen Dubinsky

See also Queen's Cuban Culture and Society course page on Facebook

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.

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.

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 four elective DEVS or DEVS‐eligible courses.

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.

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