UCL Department of Geography
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Convenor: Dr Charlotte Lemanski 

Unit value: 0.5 unit                                        Year 2 Term 2


Brief Course Description

The course reviews the nature and extent of poverty and development theory, practice and policy, with case studies from the world’s poorest regions.


Course Aims

To provide a broad awareness and understanding of the key theories and policy debates which inform poverty and development ideas and strategies, as well as the empirical context of different regions of the world. The course also encourages critical thinking and wide reading.


Course Content

The course covers the following key topics: introduction to development theories, understandings and measurements of poverty, key institutions involved in formulating and implementing development policy, current policy debates regarding development (e.g. NGOs, civil society, aid, participation, environment, gender), with regional case studies highlighting the applicability of these theoretical and empirical topics.


Method of Teaching

Two hours of lectures per week.


Form of Assessment

100% Exam (3hrs)


Relationships to other Courses

No pre-requisites. This course will introduce mostly new material to students (though it will build on some aspects of GEOG1007 Global Geographies and GEOG1004 Human Ecology).


Preliminary Reading

Desai, V. and Potter, R.B. (eds.), 2008, The Companion to Development Studies, London: Arnold.

Kothari, 2005, A Radical History of Development Studies, London: Zed Books

Potter, R.B., Binns, T., Elliott, J.A. and Smith, D.W., 2008, Geographies of Development, Pearson Prentice Hall.

Willis, 2011, Theories and Practices of development (2nd edn), London: Routledge.


The following websites also offer a useful introduction to the course:

World Bank www.worldbank.org

ID21 Research www.id21.org

Institute of Development Studies http://www.ids.ac.uk/ids/researchgateway/index.html

United Nations Development Programme http://www.undp.org/

Department for International Development http://www.dfid.gov.uk/

Overseas Development Institute http://www.odi.org.uk/

DFID Developments Magazine http://www.developments.org.uk/

Eldis Gateway to Development Information http://www.eldis.org/