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Unit information: Global Development in 2021/22

Unit name Global Development
Unit code HIST20126
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lewis
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

In this unit, we will explore the historical evolution of 'development' as an idea and an international project in the context of decolonisation and the global Cold War. We begin with the roots of development policy in Fabian Socialism and late colonial development plans. We then look at development in the context of the post-war liberal international order, including the creation of the United Nations system, including the World Bank and IMF. We examine development as an arena of competition for influence between the United States, the USSR, and China during the Cold War and beyond, from American initiatives around community development in the Philippines to Chinese railway projects in 1960s Tanzania. While this unit covers a broad range of development schemes – from housing the poor after the Korean War to hydropower dam projects in the world's most populous river basins – we also examine development from below, including the ways in which local actors responded and resisted these initiatives. In counterbalancing global narratives and local perspectives, this unit challenges us to think of development as a complex series of social and political processes, rather than as a purely economic process narrowly measured by wealth and growth.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse key themes in the history of global development
  2. Understand and use historical methods specific to the study of global development.
  3. Discuss and evaluate the historiographical debates that surround the topic.
  4. Understand and interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points.
  5. Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level I.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

1 x 3500-word Essay (50%) [ILOs 1-5]; 1 x Timed Assessment (50%) [ILOs 1-5]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HIST20126).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.