Development Studies: The Anthropology of International Aid

Macquarie University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Development Studies: The Anthropology of International Aid

  • Host University

    Macquarie University

  • Location

    Sydney, Australia

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    ANTH150 Identity and Difference: An Introduction to Anthropology or 12 credit points / 4 courses completed at the undergraduate level.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Based on lessons from practical experience in development programs, this unit considers the question: why do aid programs designed to help people in the developing world often fall short of their intended goals? Students will come to understand donor-driven development as both a way of thinking and a set of practices that affect recipient populations in profound ways. We begin with theories of what makes 'development' take place and why some theorists believe development itself does more harm than good. We will examine different models for helping people in poor countries and show how the complexity of international and national relations at the macro-level and social relations at the micro-level makes this such a difficult process. We then explore specific themes in the contemporary practice of 'doing development' such as the changing rhetoric and practices of donor agencies, structural adjustment and China's increasing impact, debt crisis and poverty alleviation, NGOs and community empowerment, gender and social vulnerability, fair trade and sustainability, resettlement, and dealing with unforeseen circumstances.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.