Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module ANTH44215: Anthropology and Development

Department: Anthropology

ANTH44215: Anthropology and Development

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap


  • 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. 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:
  • Trends in development theory and practice
  • Poverty
  • Neoliberalism and globalisation
  • Indigenous and local knowledge
  • Participatory development (opportunities and dangers)
  • NGOs and civil society
  • Governance
  • Anthropology’s contested relationship to/with development practice
  • Sustainability and post-development
  • Gender equity
  • Global health
  • Ethics and development

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a) Historical background and current literature in development and the anthropology of development
  • b) Theoretical underpinnings of development anthropology
  • c) 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:
  • 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

  • This is an intensive seminar-based course. Contributing teaching staff set out the broad contexts and key issues. Seminars provide an opportunity for students to read, synthesize and present recent primary references and major reviews within the full range of development anthropology. 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.
  • Summative assessment consists of an essay of 3,000 words. The essay topic will be chosen specifically to encourage students to draw on concepts from throughout the module, rather than being able to use material from only one or two sessions, demonstrating knowledge of technical expertise and controversy.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 8 Every 1-2 weeks 1.5 hours 12
Preparation and Reading 138

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment will be a book review (1,500 words), to encourage ‘close reading’ of a key text and ability to situate an argument within the context of a wider theoretical debate. Informal feedback on student presentations / discussions within seminars will also help students to hone their communication and critical evaluation skills.

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