GI411      Half Unit
Gender, Post/coloniality and Development: Critical Perspectives and New Directions

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sumi Madhok Pankurst House, 11.01G


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Gender, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender (Sexuality), MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Peace and Security 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 coloniality, gender and developmentalism at various postcolonial sites.  It provides an opportunity for students to encounter and critically engage with canonical works within postcolonial and decolonial theories 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, critical race theories, coloniality, decoloniality, 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.


This course runs in Michaelmas Term. It contains both asynchronous and interactive teaching and learning elements.

In line with departmental policy, there is a reading week in week 6.

Formative coursework

A formative essay (1500 words) that will be workshopped in online peer group work.

Indicative reading

  • Fanon, Frantz. (1963) The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Inc..
  • Rodney, Walter ( 1972) 'How Europe Underdeveloped Africa', Verso.
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. (2003) Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practising Solidarity, Duke University Press, Durham
  • 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.
  • Mignolo, W.D. and Walsh, C.E., (2018) 'On Decoloniality: Concepts, analytics, praxis' Duke University Press.Moraña, M., Dussel, E.D. and Jáuregui, C.A. eds. (2008) Coloniality at large: Latin America and the postcolonial debate. Duke University Press.
  • Mahmood, S. ( 2005) The Politics of Piety, Princeton University Press.  


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2019/20: 40

Average class size 2019/20: 13

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

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