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Queen's University

Department of Global Development Studies

Global Development Studies Graduate Courses

Course Numbers
801 862 868
802 863
821 864
825 865
861 867


DEVS 801  The Political Economy of Development (Fall 2015) 

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the relationship between political economy and the ideas and practices of development.  The course grounds students in core theories, both classical and contemporary.  It then examines key themes and controversies to illustrate the relationships between political economy and development practice.


This is a mandatory course for all graduate students in Global Development Studies.


Three term hours; Fall. D. McDonald

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DEVS 802  The Cultural Politics of Development (Winter 2016)

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the cultural politics of development in historical and contemporary perspective.  The course focuses on narratives of development and their relationship to social and political movements in the South and North.  Themes include the ideas of tradition, modernity and progress; colonialism, nationalism and liberation; and the gendered and racialised politics of development.


This is a mandatory course for all graduate students in Global Development Studies.


Three term ‐ hours; Winter. R. Day

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DEVS 821  Qualitative Research Methods and Fieldwork (Fall 2015)

Daunted by the prospect of fieldwork? Unsure how to begin and what to expect? Not sure of how to collect the data or how to deal with the data you collect? The purpose of this course is to demystify qualitative research and the field experience.


It will introduce you to qualitative field research through a combination of course work, guest presentations and field work. The course will cover research design, proposal writing, research ethics, qualitative research methods – concentrating on interviewing and observation, and data analysis, in order to provide you with a grasp of important elements underlying fieldwork planning, design, implementation, and reporting and to help you develop research and fieldwork skills. The class will be divided into groups that will each set a research question, design a research project, gain ethical clearance for this project (in class), undertake the research, and analyze and present the results and lessons learned in a scholarly report.


There are six course goals:

(a) To familiarize you with the concepts, issues and processes in fieldwork; and to the epistemological issues at the root of field work processes;

(b) To introduce you to the pragmatic aspects of research through the hands-on experience of designing, and implementing a research project;

(c) To introduce you to team-based research work. This is a cornerstone of development research and work;

(d) To develop problem-solving skills in research, teamwork skills, writing proficiency and oral communication skills, through group work, individual work and presentations;

(e) To develop skills and practices that will enable you to do more effective research in the future;

(f) To provide a good toolbox of readings and resources for conducting effective qualitative research.


Three term ‐ hours; Fall. V. Jefremovas. 

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DEVS 825  Indigenous & Settler Affect: Unsettling~Writing~Feeling (Winter 2016)

This course will provide an overview of theories of affect from Indigenous, settler, and arrivant perspectives. In particular, we will examine how forms of affect, feeling and experience are articulated and translated through different forms of writing. We will cover a range of writing styles (manifesto, 'anecdotal theory', lyric and poetic forms, event scores), and other performative and arts-based forms (performative lecture, oration, sensory interventions from the kinetic, sonic, visual).


Cross-listed with CUST 892 and GNDS 821.


Three term ‐ hours; Winter. D. Robinson.



DEVS 850  Professional Seminar in Global Development Studies (Fall 2015/Winter 2015)

This course provides a forum to discuss practical, ethical and methodological issues in conducting development research and writing, including major research papers, thesis work, and grant applications.


All Global Development Studies MA students will be enrolled in this course.


Monthly meetings; Fall & Winter terms. M. Hostetler

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DEVS 861 Development and the Global Agro-food System (Fall 2015) 
There can be little doubt that the current era is witnessing dramatic change in the global production and consumption of food. In some respects this represents that continuation of previous trends. However, in number of important ways agricultural restructuring in the late twentieth century appears completely new. Using a diverse disciplinary perspective, this course analyses key aspects of contemporary changes in the global agro-food system. Topics covered will range from industrialization and corporate control of food and farming, the geography of more ‘flexible’ forms of manufacturing and service provisions, feminization of agricultural labour, localized and place-based agriculture, non-agricultural uses of agro-food resources, food democracy and sovereignty to new landscapes of consumption, changing forms of political organisation and protests and the relationship between food and culture, specifically how communities and societies identify and express themselves through food.


A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.Exclusion: DEVS 492.


Three term - hours; Fall. P. Kumar

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DEVS 862 Climate Change and Global Development (Fall 2015)

Climate change is a vital concern. Not only is it negatively impacting the environment that sustains all of human life, but the consequences of climate change are not distributed equally. While developed nations are primarily responsible for the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, the impacts of climate change are experienced disproportionally in the Global South. An increasing number of scholars and activists argue that climate change should be understood as an opportunity to engage with progressive social transformations that address the social, cultural, political and economic roots of inequality within and between nations.


This course draws from a range of academic disciplines including history, sociology and science studies to engage with the ethical, political and philosophical issues pertaining to contemporary responses to climate change. The course begins with the history of climate science and the politics of North American media coverage of climate change. Then, to understand the multiple ways that climate change is impacting the Global South as well as how dominant actors, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are responding to such impacts, the course addresses the discourse of resilience, adaptation and vulnerability. The course concludes by focussing on case studies of impacts and issues related to climate change and global development, including food security, migration, and the global climate justice movement.


A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses. Exclusion: DEVS 496.


Three term - hours; Fall. M. Vardy 

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DEVS 863 The Global Insurrection (Fall 2015)

From the ‘Arab Spring’ to the suburbs of France, from the Gezi Park encampment in Turkey to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, people all over the world are taking to the streets in defiance of their governments, in actions that go beyond mere protest in intensity, duration, and effects upon the societies in which they occur. Although these insurrections only rarely result in ‘the people’ taking state power, as in the classical understanding of insurrection, they do point the way to new ways of organizing our lives, based on decision-making through assemblies, horizontal structures of power, and meeting basic needs without the ‘help’ of states and corporations. They propose, and experiment with, concrete alternatives to the discourse of development, in general, and global neoliberalism in particular.


A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.


Three term - hours; Fall. R. Day

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DEVS 864 The Political Economy of Debt and Development (Fall 2015)

This seminar will examine one of the most enduring problems of global development finance, namely: debt and debt crises. Theoretically, the course would be guided by analyses from Critical Political Economy and Development Studies to help unpack the ‘common sense’ and mainstream representations of credit and debt as apolitical, technical, and neutral to reveal the complex and contested social relations of power between various private and public actors. In so doing, the course is aimed at examining and understanding questions of power and contestation inherent to debt relations across a variety of national spaces and temporal frames. In this sense, the analytical foundations of the seminar will build on and extend the content of DEVS 230.


The theoretical framing of the seminar will then be used to explore various topics of debt and development, which will include:

  • The Global Governance of Finance and Poverty: Shifting Roles of the IMF and World Bank
  • Managing Sovereign Debt Crisis and Vulture Funds in the New Millennium: The Case of Argentina
  • Neoliberalism and “Accumulation by Dispossession”: Understanding the Geographies of Financialization
  • The Sub-prime Housing Crisis in the United States, with a gender and racial focus
  • The Politics of Austerity and its Social Implications
  • The Triple Dimensions of the 2008 ‘Great Recession’: Food, Fuel and Financial Crises
  • The Politics of Financial Inclusion in the global South: Microcredit and Microfinance
  • The Politics of Financial Inclusion in the global North: Payday Lending
  • The Sovereign Debt crises of the Eurozone, with a focus on Greece.

A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses. 


Three term ‐ hours; Fall. J. Hembruff

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DEVS 865 A Critical Examination of Global Health Interventions (Winter 2016)

This course is a critical examination of global health development interventions. Global health is the area of study, research and practice that places priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. The course will begin with a review of the principles of global health (definitions, underpinning values and concepts). It will then move on to look at global health development actors, key organizations and the structures in which they work. The field of global health intervention is diverse and can be contentious. After reviewing principles of intervention science and various evaluation lenses, students will select a specific global health intervention to critically examine in more detail.


A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.


Three term - hours; Winter. C. Davison

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DEVS 866 Degrowth in Africa: Thinking Outside the 'Development Box' (Winter 2016)

The concept of degrowth is generally applied to “overdeveloped” countries in the Global North. It suggests strategies to bring down greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental stresses in a democratically managed, globally co-ordinated manner while improving people’s quality of life in non-consumerist terms. The assumption is that degrowth focused in the Global North will offset growth needed in the Global South if the latter is to catch up in basic infrastructure and safety nets. In the long-term, reducing global inequalities will then allow mutual, fair degrowth towards a steady state economy for all (no depletion of non-renewable biophysical resources). This course challenges us to consider how degrowth may be applied in African contexts immediately.


It begins with an examination of the complexities of degrowth theory and a short history of growth/development in Africa. It then asks students to assess case studies of specific African cities facing some of the most extreme development challenges in the world today. The goal is to creatively design plausible degrowth initiatives for those cities using appropriate technological, political, cultural or other available resources.


A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.


Three term - hours; Winter. M. Epprecht 

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DEVS 867 Privatization and its Discontents (Winter 2016) 

This course reviews the theory and practice of public versus private provision of essential services such as water, electricity and health care, with a focus on countries in the South. It begins with a theoretical examination of the meanings of public and private, followed by a review of the history of networked services in the North and South, examining their initial transition from private to municipal and national ownership, followed by a conversion back to private ownership beginning again in the 1970s. We explore the rationale for this latest round of privatizations (and its various manifestations) and the institutions and mechanisms behind this trend. This is followed by a survey of critiques of privatization, and a review of emerging public alternatives for service delivery, ranging from ‘the commons’ to contemporary forms of socialism, as well as the people and organizations driving these developments.


A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.


Three term - hours; Winter. D. McDonald 

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DEVS 868 Rural Development (Winter 2016) 
What is the role of rural development in the development process? The importance of agriculture and natural resource management in transforming society has been an on-going debate historically, academically, and has been central to development thought.


  • Starting from the premise that the definition of development determines the nature of the interventions in rural development, we will delve into the role of theories and assumptions in delineating the nature of the problems to be solved by ‘development.’
  • We will consider the role of theory and assumptions in constructing policies and interventions and in outlining the geographic and political arena within which those projects are effected.
  • We will explore the ways in which the role of the beneficiaries of development/policy and the role of the state, as well as the roles of individuals, communities and NGOs in development, are shaped by theory and assumptions.
  • We will investigate the outcomes of these interventions -intended and unintended- looking at successes and failures.
  • We will reflect on the limits of decision and choice, drawing from commonalities and differences over time and place.
  • Finally we will look at these issues and examples in the context of the interactions between economics, politics, society, and culture using a political economy perspective, that is to say, in terms of the relationships between the Global North and the Global South, between genders and between people of different socio-economic and culturally defined strata.
This course will not view development as if it began in 1945, but will see it as beginning in the late 18th c in Europe, the expansion of the colonial world and with the development of capitalism, during which time the first purposive plans to transform society were implemented in Europe, North America and in the European colonial empires, so colonial policy as well as post-independence policies will be an integral aspect of our discussion, as will the central role of European social, political and economic thought.


A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for graduate students. Graduate students may not take more than three such mixed courses. Graduate enrolment opens after the undergraduate enrolment period (consult Graduate Assistant). Exclusion: DEVS 499.


Three term - hours; Winter. V. Jefremovas 


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DEVS 869 Cities and Urbanization in the South (Winter 2016)

Over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, up from less than 15% in 1900.  This rapid urbanization is expected to continue for several decades, with the majority of urban growth taking place in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Cities have also become engines of economic growth and social pluralization, acting as conduits for – and generators of – larger global transformations.  From music to foreign investments to infrastructure development, cities are key sites of socio-economic and political change (and resistance) and will continue to grow in importance in the future.


This course examines cities and urbanization in countries in the South, looking at similarities and differences between and across regions, and the extent to which they connect (or not) with urban areas in the North. We begin with an historical and comparative overview of the meaning of, and trends within, urbanization. This is followed by a review of the main theoretical frameworks used to understand urbanization and urban policy. From these conceptual lenses we move to more concrete debates about the emerging phenomenon of ‘global cities’, planning and informality, urban ecologies and environmental justice, gender and racialized dynamics in cities, and the privatization of city space and services. We conclude with a look at growing efforts to (re)claim the city and debates around the meanings and forms of ‘public’ alternatives to urban development strategies.


A mixed senior undergraduate/graduate level course with limited space for DEVS MA graduate students who may not take more than three such mixed courses.  Exclusion DEVS 491.


Three term ‐ hours; Winter. D. McDonald.

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DEVS 890  Directed Reading Course

Students whose proposed research lies outside the realm (thematic or regional) of regular course offerings may choose this option. In consultation with a willing supervisor, students must develop a unifying title, course description, and reading list of 2‐4 key texts for each of 5‐6 set topics leading toward an agreed upon set of assignments.  There is an expectation that a minimum of one substantive written assignment will be required.

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DEVS 898  Master's Research Paper

Students will complete a library‐based major research project (MRP) of 40‐60 pages. The MRP will deal with a specific interdisciplinary question directly relevant to Global Development Studies, which may be thematic or theoretical in nature or focus on peoples or places generally associated with the Global South in the context of relations with the Global North.


PREREQUISITE: Permission of Graduate Chair in consultation with a willing faculty supervisor, plus completion of two mandatory and four elective DEVS

or DEVS‐ eligible courses.

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DEVS 899  Master's Thesis

Research leading to a dissertation of 70‐100 pages will usually involve the collection and analysis of primary data and be of publishable quality. Such data could include oral interviews, archival and other documentary sources, in some cases collected through field work.


PREREQUISITE: Permission of Graduate Chair in consultation with a willing faculty supervisor, plus completion of two mandatory and two elective DEVS or DEVS‐eligible courses.

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