• Class Number 4927
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Sarah Milne
    • Dr Sarah Milne
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

The World Bank is the most controversial institution in the world of development policy and practice.  From one point of view, it sets the agenda for most of the other actors engaged in the provision of international development assistance.  From another point of view, the constraints and policies that it imposes, by virtue of its governing body being controlled by western nations, perpetuate many of the underlying problems confronting developing countries.  This course examines the policies, procedures and practices of the World Bank through an institutional and ethnographic lens, using case study materials to show that it is not a monolithic organisation with a single mission, but a very large group of individuals working in different roles, confronting a wide variety of political and practical problems in their dealings with other actors in the development policy process.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain the significance and history of the World Bank as an actor in third world development.
  2. Critically assess the benefits and costs of World Bank engagement with particular developing countries and projects.
  3. Contribute to public debate about the benefits and costs of World Bank engagement with specific international and national development policy processes.

Required Resources

Readings will be available in Wattle.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Why study the Bank? Introduces the course and explains the significance of the World Bank in global development.
2 The World Bank as development think-tank Examines the World Development Reports and their significance in global development practice. Guest lecture by Prof. Colin Filer.
3 Inside the Knowledge Bank A critical analysis of the language and ideas of the post-1990s "Knowledge Bank", using the concept of discourse.
4 A socially and environmentally responsible Bank? Examines significant social and environmental controversies in the Bank's history, and how these resulted in the influential safeguard policies. Guest lecture by Prof. Colin Filer.
5 Private sector relationships Examines the International Finance Corporate (IFC) and Bank engagements with capital. Prof. Colin Filer provides a case study of "Business Partners for Development".
6 Lending practices and the paradox of borrower ownership Focuses on Bank lending practices, and the history of troublesome Structural Adjustment Loans.
7 Country Engagement Explores how the Bank engages with countries, chiefly through the "Country Partnership Frameworks". A case study of Indonesia is used, with Guest Lecture by AProf. John McCarthy.
8 The Bank's evolving safeguard policies Examines the vital role of social and environmental safeguards in development practice, and current problematic changes that are underway.
9 Justice accorded? The Bank's grievance mechanisms Focuses upon the unique mechanisms available to project stakeholders to register complaints about Bank projects, including the Inspection Panel. A case study of complaints over palm oil investments is provided.
10 Knowledge politics: the Bank's embrace of quantitative data A critical examination of knowledge production at the Bank, with a focus upon the role of indicators, especially in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
11 A new mandate? The Bank and global public goods Considers the role and influence of the Bank this century, as global-scale problems need to be addressed, and country-level reform processes remain problematic.
12 The future of Development and Development Finance Attends to the future role and influence of the Bank, in light of other multilateral development banks (MDBs) and contemporary aid dynamics. A Q&A will be held with Mr Chris Tinning, Chief Economist at Australian Aid, formerly seconded to World Bank head-quarters.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
First Essay 25 % 23/04/2019 06/05/2019 1
Reading Reflection Forum 5 % 06/03/2019 08/04/2019 1, 2
Group Statement 20 % 01/04/2019 15/04/2019 3
Second Essay 40 % 03/06/2019 04/07/2019 2
Short presentation 10 % 01/05/2019 04/07/2019 1, 2, 3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 23/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 06/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1

First Essay

Weeks 2-7. This short essay explains and critiques a World Bank "buzzword" of your choice. Assignment instructions and assessment criteria will be available in Wattle.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 06/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 08/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Reading Reflection Forum

Weeks 2-6. A short summary and discussion about one class reading. Assignment instructions and assessment criteria will be available in Wattle.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 01/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3

Group Statement

Weeks 2-6. Group analysis of one World Development Report. Assignment instructions and assessment criteria will be available in Wattle.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 03/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2

Second Essay

Weeks 7-12. Case study of the World Bank in a country of your choice. Assignment instructions and assessment criteria will be available in Wattle.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Short presentation

Weeks 8-12. A short presentation about your country case study (see Second Essay). Assignment instructions and assessment criteria will be available in Wattle.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Sarah Milne
6125 4443

Research Interests

anthropology of development; conservation and development; political ecology; institutional ethnography

Dr Sarah Milne

Thursday 15:00 17:00
Thursday 15:00 17:00
Dr Sarah Milne
6125 4443

Research Interests

Dr Sarah Milne

Thursday 15:00 17:00
Thursday 15:00 17:00

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