The Anthropology of Development
THIS IS A SAMPLE SYLLABUS, BASED ON SPRING 2014
Dr. Robert Shepherd
[email protected]
Office: 601-F, 1957 E Street
Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays, 1-3 pm; Tuesdays, 4-5 pm
This course examines the theoretical and practical implications of the process of
development as a planned intervention into the specificities of everyday life in
different places. Our readings and discussions are centered on the following
questions about development and the role it plays in contemporary life, both for
people in predominantly aid-giving states and residents of places targeted for
development:
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What are the historical origins of development practices?
What are the theoretical assumptions embedded within development?
What do critics mean when they speak of a “development discourse”?
How does the ‘doing’ of development intersect with the ‘making’ of a state?
What impact do dominant assumptions about ‘the market’ have on contemporary
development practices and how do these reflect other assumptions about human
motivation, interests, and action?
How has the widespread shift to NGO-directed development impacted the field?
What constitutes ‘sustainable’ development?
At the end of this course you should be able to:
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Understand the historical basis of contemporary international development;
Articulate how development practices have changed over time;
Explain the key concepts and assumptions that constitute an anthropological
approach to development;
Understand key terms including neoliberalism, discourse, agency, governmentality,
sustainability, and modernity;
Reflect on the meanings of sustainability in the context of development
interventions, and
Demonstrate an awareness of key debates within anthropology about the efficacy
of various development approaches including state, NGO and missionary-directed
projects.
Our discussions and readings are organized around three themes:
1. The history of development as an idea, ideology, and practice linked to and informed
by the political project of the nation-state.
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2. The links between ‘culture’ and ‘development’.
3. The implications of a growing emphasis on ‘sustainability’ within development
practices. We will study what constitutes sustainable development, how this term is
used among development practitioners, and the extent to which it challenges the
dominant discursive assumptions within development.
Required Texts:
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Bornstein, Erica. The Spirit of Development: Protestant NGOs, Morality, and
Economics in Zimbabwe. Stanford University Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780804753364
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Escobar, Arturo. Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the
Third World. Princeton University Press, 1995.
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Ferguson, James. The Anti-Politics Machine: “Development”, Depoliticization, and
Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho. University of Minnesota Press, 1994. ISBN:
9780816624379
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Karim, Lamia. Microfinance and its Discontents: Women in Debt in Bangladesh.
University of Minnesota Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780816670956
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Schertz, China. Having People, Having Heart: Charity, Sustainable Development,
and Problems of Dependence in Central Uganda. University of Chicago, 2014.
ISBN: 9780226119670.
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Scott, James. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human
Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780300078152.
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Vivanco, Luis. Green Encounters: Shaping and Contesting Environmentalism in
Costa Rica. New York: Berghahn Press, 2006. ISBN: 9781845455040.
In addition, the following articles are available on Blackboard:
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Luke, Timothy. “Environmentality as Green Governmentality” in Eric Darier
(ed.), Discourses of the Environment. Blackwell Publishers, 1999, 121-151.
Rostow, W.W. “The Stages of Economic Growth”. The Economic History Review.
12:1 (1959), 1-16.
Evaluation Criteria
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Your grade for this course will be based on three take-home essay examinations.
The first two exams each count 30% of your final grade, while exam III is weighed at
40%.
EXAMS I & II: For each essay, you will receive the guiding question one week in
advance, along with a grading rubric. Each of these essays will be 5-7 double-spaced
pages. A paper submitted one academic day after the due date loses one grade. A
paper submitted two academic days after the due date loses two grades. No papers
will be accepted after this date.
Paper due dates: February 11th & March 18th
EXAM III: You will receive the guiding prompt on the final day of class and this
paper will be due in the Department of Anthropology on the official exam date. This
assignment will require you to use both class texts and outside anthropological
sources, and will be approximately 7-10 pages in length.
Paper extensions: in order to accommodate your needs, I make sure you have
a full week to write each essay. Short of a documented medical emergency, no
paper extensions are possible.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: The GW Code of Academic Integrity states: “Academic
dishonesty is defined as cheating of any kind, including misrepresenting one's own
work, taking credit for the work of others without crediting them and without
appropriate authorization, and the fabrication of information.” For the remainder of
the code, see: http://www.gwu.edu/~ntegrity/code.html
SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM: Any student who may
need an accommodation based on the potential impact of a disability should contact
the Disability Support Services office at 202-994-8250 in the Marvin Center, Suite
242, to establish eligibility and to coordinate reasonable accommodations. For
additional information please refer to: http://gwired.gwu.edu/dss/
UNIVERSITY COUNSELING CENTER (UCC) 202-994-5300: The University
Counseling Center (UCC) offers 24/7 assistance for personal, social, career, and
study skills problems. Services for students include crisis and emergency mental
health consultations, confidential assessment, counseling services (individual and
small group), and referrals:
http://gwired.gwu.edu/counsel/CounselingServices/AcademicSupportService
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SECURITY: In case of an emergency, if at all possible, the class should shelter in
place. If the building that the class is in is affected, follow the evacuation procedures
for the building. After evacuation, seek shelter at a predetermined rendezvous
location.
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Course Outline
Part I: Development as a State Project & Discourse
Week I: The Anthropology of Development vs. Development Anthropology
1/12: Course Introduction & Expectations
1/14: Beginning Assumptions (Walter Rostow, “The Stages of Economic Growth”,
Blackboard)
Week II: Development and the Nation-State
1/19: MLK Holiday
1/21: James Scott, Seeing like a State, Part I (1-84)
Week III: Development and the Social Engineering of Life
1/26: Scott, Seeing like a State, Part II (85-146)
1/28: Scott, Seeing like a State, Part IV & Conclusion (307-358)
Week IV: The Discourse of Development
2/2: Escobar, The Discourse of Development, Chapters 1 & 2 (1-54)
2/4: Escobar, The Discourse of Development, Chapter 3 (55-101)
Week V: Discursive Travels
2/9: Escobar, The Discourse of Development, Chapters 4 & 5 (102-211)
2/11: Imagining a Post-Development Era? (Escobar, Chapter 6 & Conclusion)
PAPER I DUE IN CLASS
Part II: Culture, Politics, and ‘Development’
Week VI: Culture & Development
2/16: Presidents Day Holiday
2/18: Crewe & Harrison, excerpt (Blackboard)
Week VII: Development as a Political Project
2/23: Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine, Introduction & Chapters 1-2 (1-74)
2/25: Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine, Chapters 3-4 (75-134)
Week VIII: Development as an Apolitical Project?
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3/2: Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine, Chapter 5 (135-166)
3/4: Ferguson, 251-288
March 9th-15th: SPRING BREAK
Part III: Sustainability and Development
Week IX: Development thru Self-Development: The Grameen Bank Model
3/16: Grameen Bank, “Sixteen Decisions” (Documentary)
3/18: Karim, Microfinance and its Discontents, Introduction and Chapters 1-2 (1-64)
PAPER II DUE IN CLASS
Week X: Debt as Development?
3/23: Karim, Chapters 3-4 (65-132)
3/25: Karim, Chapters 5-6 & Conclusion (133-205)
Week XI: Green Governmentality and Sustainability
3/30: Timothy Luke, “Environmentality as Green Governmentality” in Eric Darier
(ed.), Discourses of the Environment [Blackboard]
4/1: No Class
Week XII: Conservation as Development, or Conservation vs. Development?
Raquel Machaqueiro
4/6: Paul Robbins, 'Conservation and Control' [Blackboard]
4/8: Paige West, 'A Land of Pure Possibility' [Blackboard]
Week XIII: Tourism & Development:
Jorge Benavides Rawson
4/13: Luis Vivanco, Green Encounters, Chapters 1-4 (pp. 1-104)
4/15: Vivanco, Green Encounters, Chapters 5-8 (pp. 105-190)
Week XIV: Faith and Development: Missionary Work
4/20: Bornstein, The Spirit of Development, Chapters 1-3
4/22: Bornstein, The Spirit of Development, Chapters 4-6
Week XV: Charity and Sustainability, or why ‘Sustainable’ is not always the
Answer
4/27: Schertz, Having People, Having Heart, Chapters 1-4 (pp. 1-97)
4/28: Schertz, Having People, Having Heart, Chapters 5-Conclusion (pp. 99-141)
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4/29: Final Thoughts.
Final Weeks
Week XI: Green Governmentality and Sustainability
3/30: Timothy Luke, “Environmentality as Green Governmentality” in Eric Darier
(ed.), Discourses of the Environment [Blackboard]
4/1: No Class
Week XII: Conservation as Development, or Conservation vs. Development?
Raquel Machaqueiro
4/6: Paul Robbins, 'Conservation and Control' [Blackboard]
4/8: Paige West, 'A Land of Pure Possibility' [Blackboard]
Week XIII: Tourism & Development: A Win-Win for People & Nature?
Jorge Benavides Rawson
4/13: Luis Vivanco, Green Encounters, Chapters 1-4 (pp. 1-104)
4/15: Vivanco, Green Encounters, Chapters 5-8 (pp. 105-190)
Week XIV: Faith and Development: Missionary Work
4/20: Bornstein, The Spirit of Development, Chapters 1-3
4/22: Bornstein, The Spirit of Development, Chapters 4-6
Week XV: Charity vs. Sustainability: Direct Cash Transfer Payments and the
Way Forward
4/27: Hanlon, Barrientos, and Hulme, Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development
Revolution from the Global South (selections, on Blackboard)
4/28: Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South
(selections, on Blackboard)
4/29: Final Thoughts.
FINAL PAPER DUE:
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The Anthropology of Development