• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Development Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

In 2006 the Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize for its decades-long effort to bring microcredit loans to the poor—and particularly women—as an engine of development. How did poor people’s debt come to seem like a step towards global peace? And simultaneously, how did the “bottom of the pyramid” billions of poor people come to be conceptualized as the world’s largest resource? In order to answer these questions, this course sets out to survey approaches, debates, and theories of global development including an intellectual and cultural history of economic development. The course is aimed at students with little previous exposure to or background in economics and builds upon Masters coursework that examines critical and alternative approaches to development. Although inequality has long-recognised economic-aspects, it also has important cultural aspects which must be understood in order to deal with settings and projects. This course questions why the “economic” and the “cultural” have been so persistently separated. At the same time, we ask what is to be gained by examining how market-based aid programs—including alternatives—such as microfinance have been trialed in development practice, which often reinforce “the market” as a distinct category. Through case studies of specific methodological approaches as well as applied policies and projects, students will be introduced to debates about different paradigms in development. We learn to analyse and interpret their claims to truth, their ideological underpinnings, and their role in reproducing inequality and injustice.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Discuss the intellectual history of key ideas in neo-classical economic thought, its application in development theory and practice, and relationship to socio-economic inequality.

2. Draw upon and analyse major critical debates in inequality in order to interpret applied cases.

3. Interpret and compare interdisciplinary approaches in social sciences and evaluate the research methods and contributions to theory.

4. Create original written work that develops a conceptual argument using primary sources, social theory, and intellectual history.

Indicative Assessment

Weekly lectorial activities and practicums, (highest 10 marks will be used; 2% each for a total of 20%) [LO 1,2]
Reading logs, 5 x logs, 500 words each (4% each for a total of 20%) [LO 2,3]
Glossary journal, 10 x entries, 100 words each (1% each for a total of 10%) [LO 1,3]
Research proposal/ annotated bibliography, 500 words 15% [LO 2,4]
Final poster project, 2,000 words 35% [LO 1,2,4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


In Person - 130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: combined lecture and tutorials; and, b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing. Online - 130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks 24 hours of online lecture and structured activities, and 12 hours of online tutorials; and b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Prescribed Texts

Besky, Sarah. The Darjeeling distinction: Labor and justice on Fair-Trade tea plantations in India. Univ of California

Preliminary Reading

Cooper, Frederick, and Randall M. Packard, eds. International development and the social sciences: essays on the history and politics of knowledge. Univ of California Press, 1997.
CHAPTER 2, Frederick Cooper: “Modernizing Bureaucrats, Backward Africans, and the Development Concept” (p. 64-92)
CHAPTER 4, Michael R. Carter: “Intellectual Openings and Policy Closures: Disequilibria in Contemporary Development Economics” (p. 119-149)

Stoll, David. El Norte or Bust!: How Migration Fever and Microcredit Produced a Financial Crash in a Latin American Town. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012.
Nussbaum, Martha. "Women's capabilities and social justice." Journal of Human Development 1.2 (2000): 219-247.
Collins, Daryl, et al. Portfolios of the poor: how the world's poor live on $2 a day. Princeton University Press, 2009.
Bardhan, Pranab. "Corruption and development: a review of issues." Journal of economic literature (1997): 1320-1346.
Anjaria, Jonathan Shapiro. "Ordinary states: Everyday corruption and the politics of space in Mumbai." American Ethnologist 38.1 (2011): 58-72.

Assumed Knowledge

This course builds out of, and assumes, familiarity with core concepts in critical development studies. If you are unsure about whether you will meet the requirements for expected knowledge, please contact the course convenor.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3216
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4590
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9339 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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