Geographies of Development


Provides an introduction to Development Geography from the North-South perspective (First World/Third World). Colonialism and imperialism are discussed with respect to social, cultural, economic and environmental development in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The course introduces concepts and theories that explain uneven development and its consequences, and debates how recent trends of globalisation and neo-colonialism affect economies and societies in developing countries. Sustainable and alternative approaches such as popular, participative and bottom-up development are evaluated. Students will undertake practical exercises to develop their skills in critically analysing and evaluating policy documents, development indices and measurements, statistics and reports on development.



  • Semester 2 - 2015

Learning Outcomes

1. An in-depth understanding of contemporary development issues and their historical and geographical dimensions.

2. A grounding in the social, economic and environmental factors and structures that operate at international, national and sub-national scales to impact on the geographies of development.

3. An awareness of different theoretical approaches which are used to define, analyse and respond to development issues.

4. Acquired a range of skills and methods for analysing and communicating development issues and for critically interrogating development measures, indicators, reports and policies. These skills and methods (including seminar presentation skills, report and essay writing, critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of data) are transferable to other courses and employment areas.


In order to develop an in-depth understanding of the geographies of development, this course focuses on specific development issues (e.g. food and nutrition, access to land and water, management of mineral resources, situations of conflict, health concerns such as HIV/Aids) and examines the issues in terms of the following topics:

  1. The contemporary nature and geography of the development issues
  • Defining and describing the issues, including the use of development models, indicators and measurements
  • The multiple perspectives that come into play when defining and describing development issues
  1. Different development theories used to interpret development issues
  • Economic and political development theories
  • The contested nature of these economic and political development theories and alternative theories of development that have arisen in response
  1. The role of international institutions (chiefly the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation) in shaping and responding to the development issues
  2. The role of national factors--historical and current--in shaping and responding to the development issues
  3. The role of sub-national factors in shaping and responding to the development issues (e.g. the role of urban and rural patterns of development, the role of state/regional political institutions)
  4. The role of non-governmental actors (including civil society organisations) in shaping and responding to the development issues
  5. The role of specific social factors in shaping and responding to the development issues (e.g. gender, age, family status, ethnicity, religion).

Assumed Knowledge

GEOG1020 or GEOG1030

Assessment Items

Quiz: Online quiz

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Studies

Written Assignment: Critical Film Review

Formal Examination: Examination

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term