SOS592 - International Development Theories & Practices

International development is going through a paradigm shift. It is moving away from the conventional, top-down approach to a collaborative partnership approach that is also environmentally sensitive and socio-culturally inclusive and responsive. This graduate seminar explores international development theories, development challenges, institutional arrangements, and practices. Taking an interdisciplinary model, this course seeks to prepare graduate researchers for potential collaborative international development opportunities offered, in partnership with ASU, by The USAID Global Development Lab through its Research and Innovation Fellowships. This course combines a comprehensive set of reading and other learning materials focused on the fundamentals of international development with lectures, case examples, and project management tools of the USAID and host countries

Course objectives and learning outcomes

The main goal of the course is to provide a general survey of key international development issues to students and get them familiar with a broad range of development challenges in which their critical thinking and research or technical expertise will be valuable for host country organizations. Students in this class are potential Global Development Research Fellows, who are expected to have adequate expertise to design a responsive and complementary project that can address complex development challenges by properly incorporating the needs of the hosting organization. If necessary, the Fellows should be ready to re-examine the conventional knowledge and engage critically with the key tenets behind the theories and policies covered in this class. By the end of the semester, students should be able to:

  1. be familiar with the theoretical foundations of international development and related them in a host country;
  2. apply the core concepts and tools of sustainability within a development project specific setting;
  3. develop collaborative research/learning strategies to untangle the complex and inter-connectedness of local to global development challenges and actors;
  4. design a complete project plan, starting from a proposal and an IRB application to the final project reporting, including a monitoring and evaluation plan; and
  5. learn an innovative set of research techniques and project management tools designed to advance students’ critical thinking, planning, and communication skills.

Required textbooks and readings

  1. Thomas-Slayter, B. (2003). Southern Exposure: International Development and the Global South in the Twenty-first Century. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press. ISBN: 9781565491748
  2. Gardner, K. & D. Lewis (2015). Anthropology and Development: Challenges for the Twenty-first Century. London, UK: Pluto Press. ISBN: 978-0745333649.