GI411      Half Unit
Gender, Postcoloniality, Development: Critical Perspectives and New Directions

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sumi Madhok COL 5.01E


This course is available on the MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Media and Culture and MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


While there are no specific requirements, it is preferred that students have a background in social science or the humanities.

Course content

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the growing body of scholarship that critically interrogates gender and developmentalism at various postcolonial sites.  It provides an opportunity for students to encounter and engage with canonical works within postcolonial theory alongside those of gender and feminist theory in order to examine the historical and contemporary policy and practices in relation to gender and development.  As such, the course combines a study of the historical/textual/cultural/political and philosophical in relation to and alongside the political-economic  in order to explore  questions of developmentalism, subalternity, orientalism, representation, agency, neoliberalism, globalisation, human rights and humanitarianism. Finally, the course also introduces students to new directions in contemporary theoretical thinking that are either explicit critiques of postcolonial scholarship, i.e. texts such as ‘Empire’ and ‘Ethics’ or are critical engagements and even critical extensions of postcolonial thinking into new directions  e.g. Transnationalism.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Essay (1500 words) to be presented in a workshop.

Indicative reading

  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. (2003) Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practising Solidarity, Duke University Press, Durham
  • Bhabha, Homi, Location of Culture (1994) Routledge, London: New York
  • Escobar, Arturo, (1995) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World, Princeton, N.J, Princeton University Press
  • Kapoor, Ilan, (2008) The Postcolonial Politics of Development, Routledge, London: New York; Mignolo, Walter, (2000), Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J;
  • Said, Edward. (1985, 1995) 'Orientalism', Penguin, Harmondsworth;;
  • Spivak, Gayatri. Chakravorty (1999) A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, Harvard University Press.
  • Grewal, Inderpal  and Caren Kaplan ( 1994) Scattered Hegemonies
  • Mbembe, Achille ‘Postcolony’, University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Comaroff, Jean and John L. Comaroff ( 2012)  Theory From the South’, Paradigm, Boulder, London.
  • Butler, Judith and Athena Athanasiou ( 2013) Dispossession: The Performative in the Political, Polity.
  • Lughod, Lila Abu. Do Muslim Women Need Saving ( 2013) Harvard University Press.


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 31.7
Merit 48.3
Pass 18.3
Fail 1.7

Key facts

Department: Gender Institute

Total students 2015/16: Unavailable

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 94%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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