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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joseph Hannah
GEOG 335
Seattle Campus

Geography of the Developing World

Characteristics and causes, external and internal, of Third World development and obstacles to that development. Special attention to demographic and agricultural patterns, resource development, industrialization and urbanization, drawing on specific case studies from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Recommended: either GEOG 123 or GEOG 230. Offered: jointly with JSIS B 335.

Class description

Why are so many people in the world in abject poverty at the very time that so many have the highest standards of living humankind has ever seen? Drawing on a "Critical Development Studies" theoretical framework -- including international political economy, feminist, post-structural and post-colonial approaches -- this course examines the relationship between the discourses and practices of development. We will explore how development has been theorized and practiced over the last fifty years, and assess the impact on those places in the "Global South" subjected to development policy and planning. We will pay particular attention to the economic, geo-political and cultural relationships between places and the geographic imaginations that inform development thinking. Our objective is to rethink the meaning of development in a context of increased global interdependency and increased global inequality.

At the same time, we will explore the tension between the academic process of "critique" and the need to concretely address the issues of poverty, hunger, and inequality through action and activism.

Student learning goals

Explain different "geographical imaginaries," dominant theories of development, values, and belief systems -- many overlapping and many conflicting -- that influence perceptions of poverty and approaches to international interventions.

Describe and discuss various measurements of development and poverty used in international development, including the strengths and limitations of each.

Recognize multiple structural and political forces that both open and constrain possibilities for poverty reduction in different locations.

Articulate the tensions and arguments in the field of development studies.

Knowledgeably discuss the seemingly contradictory needs for critique and action in addressing development.

General method of instruction

Discussion of readings, films and other class materials; lecture; in-class activities; final research project.

Recommended preparation

N/A.

Class assignments and grading

A LARGE portion of the final grade will be based on in-class participation. In addition, grades will be based on written assignments, exams and a final project.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Joseph Hannah
Date: 09/22/2011