Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Development has been subject to an array of critiques in the last few decades; in this course, we explore alternatives. This course critically evaluates the nature and direction of a range of pathways and conceptions of development. Using a range of theoretical approaches and case studies, we participate in and assess new approaches to development and review their enactment in real world settings. As part of these enactments, we distinguish how we might adapt these alternative approaches in a range of fields. The course looks at contemporary theories and practices of community development and social change, with a focus on Indigenous peoples, knowledges and practices, including yarning circles. The course includes an option for fieldwork guided by Indigenous custodians on Country.

Availability2022 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

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

1. Discuss and evaluate key debates about the theory and practice of development and underdevelopment;

2. Analyse the complexity of majority and minority worlds, including accounts of power, resistance, contingency, locational specificity and scalar perspectives;

3. Recognise and anticipate the implications of development policies and practices for Indigenous peoples and other affected groups in a variety of contexts;

4. Synthesise research and data from a variety of sources, including reflections on participation in group exercises, to individually develop tailored resources for future professional practice transferable to other subject and employment areas;

5. Interpret and integrate theoretical understandings of development to ethical practice;

6. Work collaboratively with peers to critically examine and evaluate concepts related to development and underdevelopment.


This course focuses on contemporary thinking in development studies. Topics addressed could include:

  • The need to re-think development
  • Post-development and post-colonialism
  • Social movements
  • Understanding power and resistance
  • Thinking and working relationally: Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing
  • Race and identity  
  • Borders, asylum seeking and migration in Australia
  • Emotional geographies   
  • Strategies in community development
  • Strategies for change 

Assumed knowledge

Either GEOG2080 or GEOG2130.

Assessment items

Portfolio: Practical Portfolio

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial review and discussion assignment

In Term Test: Take Home Examination

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Computer Lab: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory fieldwork induction.

Contact hours


Computer Lab

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

Field Study

Face to Face Off Campus 8 hour(s) per Week for 1 Weeks

More information regarding additional field trip hours can be obtained from the course coordinator.


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

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.