(En)Gendering International Development

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 2SK531

Education cycle
First cycle
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 13 March 2019
Responsible department
Department of Government

Entry requirements

This is a continuing course at undergraduate level that requires at least 30 Swedish higher education credits in Development Studies or corresponding knowledge. This course is taught only for exchange students.

Learning outcomes

  • To understand how contemporary development interventions are shaped by historical processes of imperialism, colonialism and orientalism.
  • To achieve a critical understanding of dominant paradigms of development theory, feminist theory and post(colonial) theories
  • To understand how gender shapes development and how development practice shapes local gendered realities.
  • To develop in-depth understanding on how structural processes impact on everyday lives of people.

Learning outcomes from the lectures

By the end of the course, students should have achieved the following:

  • Ability to apply their conceptual knowledge to understand empirical case studies in historical and contemporary development contexts.
  • To grasp seminal post(colonial) and decolonial feminist debates
  • Familiarity with different methodological tools and techniques for researching and appraising development issues.
  • Gained good knowledge on how development processes, both, alleviate suffering and impoverish livelihoods.


The 'Experts' Model

The seminar sessions will introduce the 'experts' model, which creates a learning environment with the following objectives:

  • Seminars will be student-led.
  • The seminars will create a learning structure where students actively learn, participate and lead discussions with fellow-scholars.
  • Students will be responsible not just for presentation of key ideas and texts but for the smooth running of the seminar as a whole, including leading discussion and close reading of texts, encouraging participation, and providing intellectual closure at the end of the seminar.
  • At the start of the course, you will all be asked to sign up to facilitate a given week (in line with lectures). You facilitate as an 'expert' for a specific week/ topic of your choice.
  • There can be two or three 'experts' facilitating each seminar, and you will need to set aside time to meet with your co-facilitators to prepare well in advance of the seminar itself. Attendance of seminars is mandatory, but will not be formally assessed.

Learning outcomes and transferable skills from seminars

  • Synthesis and presentation of arguments from key texts.
  • Development of critical thinking
  • Management of time in a learning environment.
  • Independence of thought in designing research activity and managing student cohorts.
  • Experience of working in a team


The central aim of this unit is to understand how specific historical events have shaped debates on development in colonial and post-colonial contexts. The course is structured in the following way. We will analyse one development issue, historically, conceptually and theoretically and then understand its (post)colonial continuities through an empirical case study. We will analyse historical continuities and convergences with contemporary events, ranging from global 'war on terror', the rise of new forms of nationalism, cycles of poverty and deprivation and armed conflict. Focusing primarily on the global South, the unit will draw empirical examples from Africa, the Middle East, South and South East Asia and Latin America. A unique contribution of this course is to relate historical processes to contemporary development concerns around gendered inequalities and how these processes co-exist in contemporary societies. To give two examples: 1)while orientalist representations were closely associated with imperial civilizing missions in the historical European expansionist phase of the nineteenth century, these representations have again been mobilised in justification of the territorial encroachments (lecture 1 and 2); 2) while the main aim of SAP's was to alleviate poverty and make state economies sustainable, it led to increasing deprivation, ongoing exploitation and violence against women in border industries (Lecture 3 and 4).

A distinct feature of this course is that it draws on literature from different sources and is not confined to mainstream academic literature. For example, we will look at news media, documentaries, movies, policy reports, biographical narratives and historical texts together with the assigned mandatory readings.


The teaching consists of lectures and seminars. The course is taught in English.


Students will be examined through a written exam at the end of the course. In order to pass the course, the students need to pass the written exam. Seminar attendance is mandatory. The oral presentation does not carry a grade but participation is compulsory. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction". If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Other directives

Further instructions will be given at the start of the course.