Fall 2014



Tuesday and Thursday 10:00-11:15

Bailey 201


Human development, as an approach, is concerned with what I take to be the basic development idea: namely, advancing the richness of human life, rather than the richness of the economy in which human beings live, which is only a part of it."

Amartya Sen
Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1998

Teaching Team:

Instructor: Professor Rose-Marie Chierici

Office: Bailey 107

Office hours: T-Th: 1:00- 3:00 pm



-Librarian: Kim Davies Hoffman


-Teaching Intern:

Tushara Surapaneni




What is development? What is the Third World? What are the dominant paradigms and ideologies, relationships or assumptions reflected in the oppositions between First World: Third World, Global North: Global South, developed: developing world? What are the political, economic or cultural implications of these oppositions?  What is the “cost” of development for developing nations? What roles can anthropologists play in development programs? What is globalization really about? These are some of the themes that will be explored during the semester. Case studies as well as analyses and critiques of development programs will be used to sort out the dynamics between dependency, gender, politics, economic models, power relationships, and poverty. Students will apply what they learn through the readings, lectures and discussion on a semester long group research and creative activity.  Development work is collaborative by nature; therefore we emphasize this strategy in this class.




  • Students will learn and demonstrate their writing competency through written s based on readings, lectures and individual research focused on the process of development and the effects of globalization on developing countries.
  • Students will be able to analyze and interpret issues facing developing and underdeveloped countries and the dynamics between wealthy and poor nations using Development Anthropology in essays, reports and oral presentations based on readings, lectures, group and individual research projects.
  • Students will understand theoretical perspectives and models of Development Anthropology in essays and class discussions using materials from readings, lectures, group and individual research projects.
  • Students will demonstrate critical thinking in their evaluation of the relevance of Development Anthropology relative to other models of development in essays drawn from readings, lectures and individual research projects.
  • Students will demonstrate oral competency, library competency and writing skills relative to the study of third world development in the presentation, discussion and classroom defense of their research projects.



This course uses an experiential and collaborative approach to learning. Half of your grade will come from team work and half from individual work. Therefore, class participation, individual and group work, and research are stressed. In order for you to get the most from this class, it is important that team members share the work equally and complete their share of each assignment. It is as important that each of you participates in class discussions and completes readings on time. Take it as a given that your contributions are valued and that your opinions will be respected.

A detailed outline of the group project with milestones due dates will be posted in the Course Materials section of the myCourses page for this class. You will be responsible to follow them and meet each deadline. Time will be set aside for group work during regular class periods.


Portfolio and Project Evaluation (50%).

Students will work in teams throughout the semester on a substantial project which includes a case study of a region that the group will select and an evaluation and critique of development strategies. Teams will design their group’s own NGO and projects, and a rationale for choosing the model and strategies that this virtual NGO will adopt.

            Breakdown of Portfolio and Project Evaluation (on team website) grade:

  • 50% for team work
  • 25% for group work
  • 25% for participation


We will discuss this project at length and will guide you throughout the semester. Specific guidelines will be posted on myCourses.


Individual Paper: Critique of Development models and approaches (30%).

This is a formal, 6- 7 page double-spaced paper plus bibliography.

You will review and evaluate the approaches to development that the readings for this class offer. Your evaluation of these works should reflect your understanding of development theory and your ability to analyze class material. The paper should include: a definition of development from your own perspective; a summary of the main arguments developed by each author and your evaluation of their contributions; and what you believe is/would be the best model and why. To make this a richer paper you will support your analysis with appropriate references to class readings and four additional readings from scholarly sources. No more than two of these additional sources can be accredited web sites. You can add articles from major newspapers or magazines but these will not count as additional sources. Make sure that you cite all your sources; consult a style guide if you are not sure of the format you are using. While I prefer the Chicago style, I will accept others as long as you follow a format.


Individual Submissions (10%)

Once a week, you will post comments on the readings and other assignments for that week. Your entries should be about 200 words and address a topic/ an aspect of the readings or discussion that you find particularly challenging or thought provoking. This is an opportunity to express your opinion or suggest a different way of addressing an issue. To receive full credit, you will need 10 entries. Drop your entries in the folder entitled Individual Submissions on myCourses.


Participation (10%)

This includes participation in class, in discussions, and on projects. Regular attendance and preparation are good indicators of your level of participation.


Extra Credit option: You can earn 2 extra credit points by attending four (4) events related to the topic of this class and writing a 200 words description of each event and what you learned from it.


Accommodations:  SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities.  Accommodations will also be made for medical conditions related to pregnancy or parenting.  Students should contact Dean Buggie-Hunt in the Office of Disability Services ( or 585-245-5112) and their faculty to discuss needed accommodations as early as possible in the semester.


Plagiarism policy: Plagiarism will not be tolerated and may result in failing the class. Read Geneseo’s Plagiarism Policy on the College’s website.




Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, eds. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking Of The Way To Fight Global Poverty. Public Affairs, 2011

Jessica Alexander. Chasing Chaos : My Decade In And Out Of Humanitarian Aid. Broadway Books, 2013.


You will find all other readings under Class Materials on myCourses.



** Keep up on development news and job opportunities on Devex, an international development website:




Week 1

8/26                 Introduction of the course and themes for the semester: Sustainability and empowerment.


                        Define the Third World and its characteristics

The face of poverty: “In One slum: Misery, Work, Politics and Hope”


Check this site and think about the implications of these figures from the

Population Institute :



8/28                 Discuss group work and form groups

                        Why team work? Check this site:



                        Introduction of Librarian Kim Hoffman who is going to assist with this class


                        Form teams and get to know your partners and team leaders.


Week 2


                        Reading: Isbister, A World of Poverty from Promises Not Kept


Evolution of thinking about development and development models:

Watch this podcast from the Institute for Policy Studies: John Cavanagh and

Emira Woods on “What are the IMF and the World Bank?”


General discussion: Working in small groups, consider the following questions: How do you feel about the term “Third World” to describe certain countries? Why? What are alternative terminologies? What do you think about them? Reflect on the impact of these labels and find some examples on how they are used in newspapers, journals, the web, etc.

Summarize your group’s discussion and Drop your comments in the folder “Questions and Comments”.



9/4                   Meet in Milne 121   

Team Work - This week teams will work on selecting a country/region and assign tasks and areas of research to their members.



Week 3

9/9                   MACROPERSPECTIVES



Readings: Complicated vs Complex Systems:


Banerjee and Duflo, Chapters 1 and 2


Food, population and the post-2015 development agenda

By Robert Walker17 July 2014:


Team work: For next week, small groups will bring an article about their country/region that highlights some of the issues we have discussed so far. They will summarize their article and prepare a question for class discussion next Thursday September 18.


9/11                 Team Work- Meet in Milne


                        ***Milestone 1: Country selection



Week 4

9/16                 Reading: Jeffrey Sachs, “A Global Family Portrait” and “The Spread of

Economic Prosperity” (Reserve)


Goldstein, “Is It Nuts to Give to the Poor without Strings Attached?”          


Discussion: these readings suggest various ways for the poor to get out of the poverty trap. What do you think? Outline pro’s and con’s.


9/18                 Milestone 2: Draft your NGO’s Mission Statement

                        Begin shaping your NGO and its goals and objectives


Team work- Consult the calendar that Kim prepared to know where your team is supposed to be. When uncertain, contact your team leaders.



Week 5

9/23                 ECONOMY

Reading: Bodley, excerpts from “Poverty and Conflict in the Global Culture”

Banerjee and Duflo, Chapter 10


                        Film: The Price of Aid


9/25                 Banerjee and Duflo, Chapters 4 and 5


Team work



Week 6

9/30                 HUNGER AND DEVELOPMENT

                        Reading: Robbins, “Hunger, Poverty, and Economic Development”

Marks, “Human Rights in Development”


                        Discussion: Bring questions on readings and films from the previous 2 weeks. How do the alternatives presented in the readings for today reflect issues and concerns outlined in the material discussed thus far and how do they reflect what you are learning about your own region. Drop your questions and short answers in the folder “Questions and Comments”


10/2                 Update on Projects I will meet with each group to review progress on your portfolio. Come prepared to give me a good overview.


Milestone 3 due: identify gaps in information



Week 7

10/7                 A CASE STUDY

                        Discussion of Banker to the Poor (Excerpts)

                        What are the basic premises of the book? How does this particular case study illustrate the struggle of the poor to get out of poverty; the constraints and barriers to individual development; and the potential for solving global problems? Do Yunis and Sachs have a common goal? How do they envision solutions to poverty?

Banerjee and Duflo: Chapters 8 and 9


Individual assignment: Formulate a thoughtful question based on these

readings and analyze these questions in a short reaction paper (500 words)

***drop your reaction paper in the folder entitled “Individual Submissions” on myCourses by Thursday Oct 16, no exceptions.


10/9                 Team work: begin building your website.




Week 8

10/14              FALL BREAK




Reading: Alexander, Chasing Chaos, Read about a third of the book and be ready to discuss the first 4 chapters.


Can you make a distinction between disaster relief and development? Is Alexander helping you to understand the complexity of “doing” development? What does that work involve?


Team work



Week 9

10/21               Reading: Alexander, Chasing Chaos, the second third and be ready to discuss the chapters that deal with India, North and South Darfur and Sri Lanka.

                        What is Alexander experiencing? What is she saying about development? How does she see her role and contributions? What is she learning?

10/23               Team Work



Week 9

10/28               Reading: Alexander, Chasing Chaos,~ Finish reading the book and come prepared to discuss it and explain what Alexander’s message is to you.



10/30               Team work



Week 10

11/4                 Discussion: Today we will try to put Alexander’s book in the larger context of disaster relief work. The following links offer some interesting perspectives, what else can you find on line about current disasters and humanitarian responses to disasters (identify at least 3)?           

                        Bring challenging questions for class discussion


What it's like to be an aid worker in Gaza now


A career in emergency response: Is it for you?


Start thinking about your essay which is due November 25. Check the description on pp. 1-2 of this syllabus.


11/6                 Group work



Week 11

11/11               Discussion From Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid: A Brief History of Aid, Aid is not Working, and The Silent Killer of Growth


What is Moyo’s thesis? How realistic are her premises? What are the strengths and weaknesses of her argument? Where does she fit in the range of models/strategies to end poverty? What do Banerjee and Duflo say about her model?


Polak, excerpts from Out of Poverty.

How realistic is Polak’s model? Would it be useful at the site of your NGO?



11/13               Group work



Week 12

11/18               Reading: Some additional and very relevant issues to think about:


“A Drop of Life” by Shalini Kantayya about a water project in developing world.


India is Building New Toilets Every Second –but Hardly Anyone is Using Them



11/20               Team Work

                        Milestone #4: completed drafts of NGO sites




Week 13

11/25               Discussion

                        A borderline where women Bear the Weight--Morocco


Bill Gates on global health and development




Protecting the health of mothers when they need it most



****All essays are due today at start of class. Late submissions will be penalized****


11/27               THANKSGIVING



Week 14

12/2                 Presentation of NGO


12/4                 Presentation of NGO



Final Exam Period

Tuesday December 16, 8:00-11:00