• Class Number 4491
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Sarah Milne
    • Dr Sarah Milne
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

This course explores contemporary global governance in practice, using case studies about the work of Multilateral Development Banks, like the World Bank and other regional development banks. Organisations like the World Bank have the potential to set the agenda for international development assistance, and traditionally have done so. However, geo-political changes at the start of the “Asian Century” are now leading to new and competing sources of development knowledge and finance. In this context, we explore the ideas, tools and policies that are typically used by Multilateral Development Banks to guide their operations and exert influence, including: the Sustainable Development Goals; loans for infrastructure; country-level reform packages; mechanisms for securing global public goods like biodiversity; rising private sector engagements; safeguards and grievance mechanisms; and indicators. We explore the power, efficacy and limitations of these global governance practices, revealing: (i) the social construction and political nature of global expertise; and (ii) how institutions like the World Bank are not monolithic, but are often subject to internal contestation and practical limitations, as they confront a wide variety of complex, real-world problems.

This course material has proven to be appropriate for EMD and MAAPD Masters students, as well as others in POGO, International Relations and Anthropology.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate and explain the role and significance of Multilateral Development Banks as global development institutions.
  2. Examine and critically analyse, in a practical and ethnographic way, Multilateral Development Banks and their influence in developing country contexts.
  3. Contribute to public debate about the potential future role of Multilateral Development Banks for human development and sustainability this century.

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 The "how" and "why" of studying Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs): Explains the significance of the World Bank and other MDBs in global governance and development finance.
2 Knowledge-making and Discourse in the MDBs: Examines the implications of the World Bank as a "Knowledge Bank", and the role of "buzz words" in global development practice.
3 MDBs as Development Think-Tanks: Examines the World Bank's "World Development Reports" and their significance for global development practice (with Guest lecturer Filer)
4 Country Partnerships and Global Governance: This lecture explores how country-level engagements with global governance institutions "work", using insights from ethnographies of World Bank and Asian Development Bank projects.
5 Poverty Alleviation and its discontents: Explores how the World Bank approaches its core mission of poverty alleviation, and how this can have unexpected side-effects. Guest Lecturer J. McCarthy provides an Indonesian case study.
6 Contemporary development finance, and the role of China: Discussion about development finance and its modalities, with a focus on Chinese sources (with Guest lecturer Denghua Zhang)
7 Infrastructure: Examines recent World Bank experiences with dam construction, and connects insights to Chinese-backed infrastructure development through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
8 Safeguard policies: Examines the vital role of social and environmental safeguards in development practice, and current changes that are underway, especially within the World Bank
9 Justice accorded? A look at Grievance Mechanisms: Focuses upon the unique mechanisms available to project stakeholders to register complaints about Bank projects, including the World Bank's Inspection Panel. A case study of complaints over palm oil investments is provided (Guest Lecturer Potter)
10 Indicators and 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? Financing global public goods: Considers the role and influence of the Bank this century, as global-scale problems like climate change and biodiversity loss need to be addressed. (Featuring Q&A with a biodiversity practitioner in the World Bank.)
12 The future of development finance and MDBs: A Q&A will be held with a senior practitioner in the aid industry. Students will prepare questions beforehand, in keeping with course themes.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
First Essay 25 % 31/03/2020 05/04/2020 1
Reading Reflection Forum 5 % 06/03/2020 08/04/2020 1, 2
Group Statement 20 % 17/04/2020 24/04/2020 3
Second Essay 40 % 05/06/2020 02/07/2019 2
Short presentation 10 % 29/04/2020 02/07/2019 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: 31/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 05/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1

First Essay

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

Assessment Task 2

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 06/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 08/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Reading Reflection Forum

Weeks 2-6. A short summary and discussion about one class reading. Occurs weekly - students must choose which week they will participate. Assignment instructions and assessment criteria will be available in Wattle.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 17/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 24/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3

Group Statement

Weeks 2-6. Group analysis of one World Development Report (or other report from ADB), along with a "personal reflection statement" about the assignment. Assignment instructions and assessment criteria will be available in Wattle.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 05/06/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2

Second Essay

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

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Short presentation

Weeks 8-12. A short presentation about your country case study (see Second Essay). These presentations will run weekly - students choose which week they will present. 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; environment 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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