Development refers to social, economic, cultural, political transformations viewed as progress. Studied from anthropological perspectives. Historical, social context for emergence of ideas of development. Role of development in promoting national cultures. Impact of development on individual citizenship, families, rural-urban relations, workers, business, environment. Prerequisite: one 200-level ANTH course. Offered: jointly with ENVIR 371.
Many people are familiar with dominant definitions of international development, a process that the United Nations defines as “advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.” Though few would dispute the worthiness of such a goal, when we analyze the practices, policies, procedures and outcomes of “development” we see a far more complex and often contentious picture. Over the past three decades, social theorists from a variety of disciplines have developed theoretical approaches to development that question it as a set of cultural processes with significant cultural and material outcomes. The idea of a “better life” brings to mind questions of poverty, human rights, and environmental sustainability—questions that various development organizations seek to answer. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with anthropological, feminist, and critical race approaches to development, and provide students with the specialized set of analytical skills needed to understand and debate the core questions of development today from an anthropological perspective.
Student learning goals
• Articulate a basic history of development, and understand key issues within the field.
• Articulate the central arguments made by development anthropologists, feminist development critics, and critical race theorists of development.
• Use anthropological methods to understand and analyze development discourse as it manifests in a variety of forms, from websites and pamphlets to promotional films and reports.
• Research, present, and defend an anthropological analysis of development and suggest creative interventions
• Understand the complexities involved in the discussion of race, gender, and power in development work
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading