Faculty of Arts


Theories of International Development


The purpose of this course is to interrogate theories of development through a close reading of scholarly texts. The aim is to work towards critically examining some of the theoretical foundations in development studies. The course starts with historical trajectories of development beginning with colonisation and the central place given to economic growth in early development interventions. It turns a corner with the examination of key development texts and then focuses on contemporary theories of development.

By the end of this semester, students should know

  • The main theories of development
  • Key theoretical concepts in development such as colonisation, underdevelopment neoliberalism, impoverishment, decoloniality, governmentality, indigeneity, and post-development
  • The importance of theory in the critical analysis of development issues

By the end of this semester, students should be able to

  • Critically articulate the arguments found in the main theories of development
  • Write a "critical" book review
  • Research and write a "critical" essay by applying the class learnings to a particular development concern

Availability 2021

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Professor Andreas Neef


Andolina, R., Laurie, N., & Radcliffe, S. A. (2009). Indigenous development in the Andes: culture, power, and transnationalism. Duke University Press.

Chambers, Robert, 1988, Rural Development: Putting the Last First. Burnt Mill: Longman Group. (ebook available)

Cooke, Bill, and Uma Kothari, 2001, Participation: The New Tyranny? London: Zed Books.

Escobar, Arturo, 1995, Encountering Development. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (ebook available)

Ferguson, James, 1990, The Anti-politics Machine: Development, Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho , Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press

Sen, Amartya, 1999, Development as Freedom. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press

Sen, Gita, and Caren Grown, 1987, Development Crises and Alternative Visions: Third World Women's Perspectives. New York: Monthly Review Press. (ebook available)

Li, Tania Murray, 2007, The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development and the Practice of Politics, Durham & London: Duke University Press


DEVELOP 709: 15.0 points

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