Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: Anthropology


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Module Cap
Tied to L6K407


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To give students advanced subject-specific knowledge which is core to development anthropology. The course is seminar-based, giving students the opportunity to read, synthesise and present recent primary literature and major review within the full range of development anthropology. Students prepare presentations individually and collaboratively. Thus, students are brought to contact with up-to-date research, are encouraged to evaluate it critically, and gain practice in presenting relevant material to others.


  • A broad range of critical themes, including:
  • Participation
  • Local community reference
  • Tackling practical development problems
  • Poverty focused development
  • Gender equity
  • Governance issues
  • Ethics in development
  • Power relations in field enquiry
  • The dangers of a 'tyranny of participation'
  • The potential for community integrated information technologies
  • Sustainable development

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a) Historical background and current literature in development anthropology
  • b) Methodological issues in participatory applied anthropology
  • c) Theoretical underpinnings of development anthropology
  • d) Areas of debate and controversy in contemporary development anthropology
Subject-specific Skills:
  • a) Practical and theoretical training to enable continuation to PhD level research in development anthropology, with appropriate support and facilities, or to carry out applied anthropological research in development contexts.
  • b) Ability to synthesise, critically evaluate and present complex anthropological material, including data, models and theoretical arguments.
Key Skills:
  • a) Students should be able to express themselves clearly and concisely on technical topics, and explain why particular issues are important and/or controversial.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Mode of Teaching and Learning:
  • This is an intensive seminar-based course. Seminars provide an opportunity for students to read, synthesize and present recent primary references and major reviews within the full range of development anthropology (Learning Outcomes 1a-1d). Students prepare presentations individually and collaboratively. Thus students are brought into contact with up-to-date research are encouraged to evaluate it critically and gain practice in presenting relevant materials to others and in learning collaboratively (Learning Outcomes 2a, 2b, 3a).
  • Assessment:
  • Summative assessment is by means of a combination of a 2 hour exam, requiring students to write two essays, and an essay of 3,000 words for submission at end of Epiphany Term. This dual mode of assessment has been chosen because we wish to ensure that students have a good knowledge of the range of material covered in the course. The examination will assess the skill of effective communication in a limited time span, to complement the substantive content coverage within learning outcomes.
  • Formative assessment will be an essay (1,500-2,000 words, submitted at the end of Michaelmas Term), which will assess the subject and key skills learning process and one or more of the subject knowledge and learning components. Further feedback will be given in response to student presentations at seminars.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 11 fortnightly 2 hour 22
Preparation and Reading 278
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100%%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Feedback from a 1,500-2,000 word essay and student presentations at seminars.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University