• Class Number 5003
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Sverre Molland
    • AsPr Sverre Molland
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

In this course we will examine several key concepts pertaining to the anthropology of development. We will carefully scrutinise how anthropologists tackle a range of analytical tools and "buzzwords" that are ubiquitous in development and, and explore how they are related to understandings of social organization, society and culture, relationships, networks and institutions in the social sciences. This course is designed taking into account (a) students' own participation and contribution to curriculum design, (b) diverse students' interests straddling academic and applied, policy-orientated analysis and, (c) students freedom (and responsibility) to develop an independent research project that can either take the form of an academic research paper or a policy position paper. The course is structured in three main parts. Part I (week 1-4) serves as a primer for key theoretical debates within the discipline. This equips students with the necessary tools to to critically analyse key concepts in development . Part II ( week 5 onwards) covers several key concepts in the anthropology of development. Students are given the opportunity to vote for which topics to cover in class. This presents students with an opportunity to take ownership of the curriculum and select key concepts students deem central to grasp contemporary and emerging development aid processes. Part III endows students the opportunity to develop an independent research project in relation to one key concept. Two scaffolding workshops are provided throughout the semester in order to assist students with developing their research project.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. explain the social science background to a number of key development concepts;
  2. critically evaluate the use of particular concepts in development projects, policy, and practice;
  3. write a critical case study of the role of a key development concept, exemplifying ability to use primary sources; and
  4. evaluate the differences between social science and specifically development-related perspectives on the concepts and practice.

Research-Led Teaching

This course combines critical, theoretical perspectives on development aid, with an applied focus on aid work and policy interventions. Throughout the course, the convenor will draw on his own research and work experience as an aid consultant and former staff member of the United Nations Development Programme. The course is highly suitable for any intellectually curious student who either wants to pursue a career in development aid, develop a critical appreciation of international development (broadly denied), or both.

Required Resources

Students must have access to necessary computer equipment as classes involve the use of various collaborative online tools (such as Padlet) which requires either a computer (laptop), tablet, or smartphone. Students who have difficulties accessing such tools must contact the convenor immediately at the beginning of the semester.

We will read Katy Gardner, and David Lewis. 2015. Anthropology and Development: Challenges for the Twenty-First Century (London: Pluto Press) the first weeks of the semester (available as ebook through the ANU library).

In addition, the following textbooks are also highly recommended as background readings:

Crewe, E. and Axelby, R., 2013. Anthropology and Development: Culture, Morality and Politics in a Globalised World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Olivier de Sardan, J.P., 2005. Anthropology and development: understanding contemporary social change. London: Zed Books.

Edelman, M. and Haugerud, A., 2005. The Anthropology of Development and Globalization From Classical Political Economy to Contemporary Neoliberalism. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

Students may also familiarise themselves with the following journals: Development & Change, Third World Development, Oxford Development Studies, Development in Practice, and many others.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • marking rubrics
  • verbal comments
  • feedback during seminars

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

This course is designed taking into account:

  1. students' own participation and contribution to curriculum design
  2. diverse students' interests straddling academic and applied, policy-orientated analysis
  3. students freedom (and responsibility) to develop an independent research project, which can either take the form of an academic research paper or a policy position paper.

The convenor has only set topics for the first four weeks, where we will be covering foundational key concepts and anthropological theories and analysis pertaining to development (based on Katy Gardner and David Lewis's foundational text book on the Anthropology of Development). At the end of week 1, students will vote on which topics to cover for the remaining weeks from the following list (in alphabetical order):

  1. Anthropocene, anthropology and aid
  2. Anthropological approaches to corruption (and its applicability to aid and governance)
  3. Anthropology, development and Decolonization (localisation agendas)
  4. Behavioural change
  5. Community
  6. Covid impacts (the triple crises of epidemiology, economy and epistemology)
  7. Crisis (politics of disaster, catastrophe and ruins)
  8. Degrowth
  9. Neoliberalism
  10. Resilience
  11. Securitization of aid and governance
  12. Tech utopias, surveillance capitalism and big data (humanitarian drones, blockchain, and 'application' of aid and policy)

Student may suggest additional topics to vote for. Once the topics are finalised, students must propose at least one selected reading for any of the weeks, including providing a rationale for why the reading is suitable for all students in class (this is an assessable item due in week 3). The convenor will select suitable readings based on students' suggested readings and other additional weekly readings as appropriate (by week 4).

In addition, two weeks during the semester will take the form as dedicated scaffolding workshops for students final research paper, with associated milestone assessments (i.e. developing of research topics and annotated bibliography, and preliminary articulation of research/policy problem).

Although this class affords considerable flexibility in terms of class attendance, it is important to stress that continuous engagement with the course throughout the semester is essential for academic success. If you have been ill or unable to engage studies for more than 14 days and/or continued difficulties with completing assignments on time, we advise you to carefully consider whether you are capable of successfully completing your courses this semester. You might be eligible to withdraw without academic penalty (deadline: Monday 2 October, week 9).

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introducing key concepts in anthropology of development
2 Development and anthropology: theories and historical legacies
3 Anthropology of development and development anthropology Assessment 1: student-selected reading rationale statement
4 Buzzwords, fuzzwords and an anthropological inquiry (access, effect, control): gender, participation and empowerment
5 Student-selected concept 1
6 Student-selected concept 2 Assessment 2: reflective essay
7 Student-selected concept 3
8 Student-selected concept 5
9 Workshop A: identifying a research topic
10 Student-selected concept 4 Assessment 3: student research topics and annotated bibliography
11 Workshop B: moving from topic to research question Assessment 4: articulating a research question
12 Wrap-up

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Student-selected reading rationale statement 10 % 10/08/2023 1
Minor Essay 20 % 31/08/2023 1,2,4,5
Workshop A: identifying a topic and annotated bibliography. 10 % 13/10/2023 1,2,3
Workshop B: moving from topic to research question 10 % 20/10/2023 1,2
Research paper/policy response paper 50 % 01/11/2023 1,2,3,4,5

* 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


Although this class does not have a separate participation grade, the seminar is crucial for scaffolding students' research projects and overall learning. Attendance is highly recommended. The class is designed to accommodate both on-campus and online students through real-time interaction in a 'zoom room.' All seminars are recorded and made available to all students. While attendance in seminars is highly recommended, students can also choose to participate asynchronously. Pre-recorded lecture content is provided via wattle for students to review before weekly classes.


Students should manage their time effectively. Students with work commitments or extracurricular activities should have made prior arrangements with their supervisors to allow time for studies, including seminar attendance, and timely submission of assignments.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 10/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1

Student-selected reading rationale statement

Students must choose one reading and explain why it is suitable for all students to read in relation to one of the given student-selected concepts. The rationale should discuss why the reading is beneficial and how it will help deepen all students' understanding of the key concept. Maximum word count: 250 words. Detailed marking rubric available in wattle.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 31/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Minor Essay

This reflective essay allows students to delve deeper into the foundational theoretical and conceptual material covered in class during weeks 1-4. The essay must solely rely on Katy Gardner and David Lewis's foundational textbook that was assigned for week 1-4. Students will choose one essay question from a selection provided. Detailed assessment criteria can be found through turnitin in wattle. The essay should be a maximum of 1000 words, including the bibliography.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 13/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Workshop A: identifying a topic and annotated bibliography.

During the scheduled teaching hours, students will share their research topic and an annotated bibliography with their peers for discussion. Students can also participate asynchronously by posting comments on wattle before class. Along with posting their topic and annotated bibliography, students must comment on at least two other student projects (either verbally in class, or in writing via wattle by the end of the teaching week). The annotated bibliography should include a brief description of the research topic (approximately 100 words) and 2-3 key sources. Total word limit: 500 words. Marking rubric available in wattle. For guidance on writing an annotated bibliography, visit this link: https://www.anu.edu.au/students/academic-skills/writing-assessment/other-assessments/annotated-bibliography

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Workshop B: moving from topic to research question

This workshop will help students turn their research topic into a research question. Students will share their research question (in a 250-word statement) with their peers for discussion. The workshop will take place during the scheduled teaching hours, but students can also participate asynchronously by posting comments on wattle before class. Students are encouraged to provide constructive feedback on their peers' projects. Word limit: maximum 250 words. Marking rubric available in wattle.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 01/11/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research paper/policy response paper

The major essay allows students to explore a topic of their choice. Students can choose to write either an academic research paper or a policy response paper that argues for or against a specific development-related policy. The paper must relate to one or more of the key concepts covered in class and be supported by academic research and evidence relevant to the topic. The paper should clearly articulate a research problem or question and present a strong argument for a particular theoretical, analytical, or policy position. While 'grey literature' can be included, the majority of sources should be academic and peer-reviewed, focusing on literature related to anthropology of development or development anthropology. Word limit: maximum 3000 words, including the bibliography.


Detailed assessment criteria can be found in wattle.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.

The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

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

Assessment tasks submitted late without an extension will be penalized at a rate of 5% of the available marks per working day or part thereof. Late submission is not accepted after 10 working days from the due date, or as specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.


Extensions should be requested in advance of the due date/time. Retroactive extensions are only allowed in cases where the student could not reasonably be expected to have applied by the appropriate date due to illness or other medical conditions (see extension policy #11). It is expected that even with a medical or other condition, students will apply for an extension by the due date. If an extension is requested after the due date, documentation (e.g. a medical certificate) must explain why it was impossible to apply for an extension and obtain a medical certificate by the due date. If an extension beyond 10 working days is required, it must be submitted through an Extenuating Circumstances Application process.

The following reasons are not grounds for an extension:


-      Computer or internet problems

-      Holiday arrangements (including overseas travel)

-      Misreading an assignment due date or time

-      Unexpected events causing a loss of study time close to the due date

-      Difficulty studying effectively or adjusting to university life

-      Normal levels of stress or anxiety associated with study (accommodations can be made for students with a mental health condition)

-      English language difficulties

-      Visa problems

-      Moving house or changing address (exceptions may exist for house or changing address (exceptions may exist when the move is sudden and involuntary)

-      social or leisure events (other than sporting or cultural activities at an elite level)

-      minor events or accidents

-      ordinary family events or commitments, or

-      normal pressures relating to study or employment (including assignments in other coursework).


Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Students will receive essay feedback via turnitin. Late essays will be graded but may receive no comments.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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).

AsPr Sverre Molland

Research Interests

Associate Professor Molland has close to two decades of research and programme experience on human tracking, development and mobility in the Mekong region. Associate Professor Molland's research examines the intersections between migration, development and security in a comparative perspective, with specific focus on governance regimes and intervention modalities in mainland Southeast Asia. Associate Professor Molland is a former advisor on anti-tracking interventions with the United Nations Development Programme (Mekong region) and continues to engage the aid sector through consultancy work relating to development and migration.

AsPr Sverre Molland

By Appointment
By Appointment
AsPr Sverre Molland

Research Interests

AsPr Sverre Molland

By Appointment
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