Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course analyses contemporary development issues from an historical and geographic perspective. The development issues covered may include food and nutrition, access to land and water, management of mineral resources, situations of conflict, and health concerns such as HIV/Aids. The course examines the ways in which historical events such as colonialism and imperialism have shaped these issues in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It also explores the role of current international, national and sub-national factors and institutions in shaping and responding to development issues, as well as the role played by non-governmental actors and social factors (such as gender, age and ethnicity). Different theoretical approaches that underpin understandings of and responses to contemporary development issues are explored. Students also undertake practical exercises to develop skills in analysing and communicating development issues.

Availability2022 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify contemporary development issues and their historical and geographical dimensions.

2. Describe 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. Discuss different theoretical approaches which are used to define, analyse and respond to development issues.

4. Apply 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

2. 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

3. The role of international institutions (chiefly the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation) in shaping and responding to the development issues

4. The role of national factors (historical and current) in shaping and responding to the development issues

5. 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)

6.The role of non-governmental actors (including civil society organisations) in shaping and responding to the development issues

7. 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: Portfolio of writing exercises

Formal Examination: Examination

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.