Anthropological thought and theories can be applied to development in two ways. First, development itself, as well as its institutional structures, actors, actions, and outcomes are the locus of critical anthropological examination. Anthropological knowledge bears on development as a social phenomenon with historical antecedents, and as enactments of differential power. Second, anthropology connects with development in more pro-active ways, as anthropological insights on social institutions and technological change apply to the objective of improving human livelihoods. This course engages with both of these approaches to the field.
The first section of the course emphasizes engagement with primary academic and institutional sources of literature so as to generate discussions on the general themes of development theory and practice. The second section of the course shifts to particularistic foci with student-led work on topical themes of their choice. Possible themes include gender equality, health, sanitation, agriculture, technological change, conflict recovery, food security, environmental conservation, climate change, tourism, urban renewal, and green technology.
After completing this course students are able to:
- reflect critically on contemporary theoretical approaches in anthropology as they pertain to the study of development.
- describe the international agreements and institutions that play key roles in development agenda-setting and application.
- appraise developmental theory and practice as they intersect with other cultural change institutions and projects.
- employ anthropological literature and methods to research and project construction.
Class consists of lectures, film showings, and discussion. Students work in small groups to complete specific projects led by the instructor. The second section of the course focuses on particular themes determined by student interest. Students interact with this theme, both individually and collaboratively, as they complete two written assignments and lead a discussion section. They also write a final research paper pertaining to this theme.