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GEOG 2105

Geographies and Discourses of Development

  • Credits: 3
  • Level: Undergraduate, Year 2
  • Semester: 1
  • Status: Elective course for BSc/BA major (Geography) and BSc Geography.
  • Pre-requisites: GEOG 1901; or GEOG 1131,and GEOG 1132,or HOD permission (from 2013/14).
  • Course coordinator:Dr. Levi Gahman
  • Note: replaces GEOG 2008. Students who have already completed that course may not additionally take this one.

Course coverage

Theories, institutions and discourses of development, historical precedents, development in Small Island Developing States, sustainable and rural development, alternative approaches to development.


A background in human geography is incomplete without attention to uneven processes of development in time and space. The course builds on concepts introduced in GEOG1131 and GEOG1132 (Human Geography), such as the applicability of sustainable development (which will be further covered in GEOG3102 Caribbean Geography), and draws from ideas explored in other geography courses such as Geopolitics and Political Geography (GEOG2107) and Geographies of Equality and Social Justice (GEOG3109). The course introduces students to basic qualitative aspects of economic geography. It introduces a critical perspective on economic development, providing students with the skills, knowledge, theories and concepts to engage in meaningful debates regarding relationships between rich and poor places within and between countries. The course prepares students for independent research and analysis, with methods and theories generally used across the social sciences. It continues to shape the critical capacity of students developed in Level I, including competent oral and written skills and self-motivated learning.

Course description

A geographical understanding of the global economy requires a thorough comprehension of the way policies and discourses of development have affected and are affecting societies and environments at various levels and locations. Critical perspectives on development must incorporate social, cultural, political, and local understandings of human-environment interaction, meaning notions of development cannot simply be applied to economies and nation-states. In light of this, ‘development’ is rendered a highly contested and complicated term. The course is thus designed to assist students in understanding and explaining ‘development’ by engaging with both the historical and most cutting-edge theories and concepts of development, with specific relation to sustainability, community, and social justice. In addition, the course will maintain a situated focus on critical approaches to development via regional case studies that illustrate how socio-economic disparities continue as a result of ongoing colonial social relations, as well as how alternative notions of development are applied and practiced.

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