Teaching Programme

Masters in Politics, Development and the Global South

1-year MA (2 years part-time) from 2017/18


How can (and should) we talk about the challenges and possibilities for development in the 21st century?

Mainstream degrees in development presume that what is meant by development is uncontroversial, and the task is to consider the best means towards this end. By contrast, this programme begins by showing that in the 21st century ‘development’ – what it means and how it is to be achieved – has become a site of struggle, one where new forms of politics and of theory have emerged. Major changes in recent decades, including the emergence of new geopolitical powers on the international stage, growing challenges to neoliberal dogmas, heightened concern with increasing global inequality, and recognition of the danger of ecological devastation, have meant that the study and pursuit of development cannot take its traditional or mainstream forms. This programme is distinctive in that, it treats development as a site of contestation; it treats the Global South as a producer, and not simply a consumer, of theory, and as a site where novel forms of political struggle are emerging ; it is strongly interdisciplinary, and draws upon expertise in the Centre for Postcolonial Studies, as well as in the Politics and IR department, and other departments; examines novel forms of political struggle emerging in the Global South; is taught by scholars with an international reputation, and with expertise on Latin America, India, China, Japan, the Middle East and Africa; Running alongside the core modules will be a series of industry and activist seminars under the title of Development, as Vocation. The speakers and organisations invited to speak will be determined in consultation with students, and will cover different facets of the realm of development: politics, activism, policy, journalism, charities, consultancy, and NGO´s. This seminars will be prearranged in with the help of a series of institutional partners. Students enrolled in the MA Politics, Development and the Global South will have an active role in designing the format and content of these vocational seminars.

Core Courses

  • Development for the 21st Century (30 credits)
  • Decolonising Politics: Actions and Ideas from the Global South (30 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional Courses

60 credits to be taken from a wide range of choices from the Politics department and other departments in Goldsmiths, including Anthropology, Cultural Studies, History, Media and Communications, and Sociology.

Descriptions of Core Courses

Development for the 21st Century

The module studies with some of the most important topics in contemporary development studies, including: is development another name for “modernity”?; what are the differing (and sometimes opposing) definitions of development?; development and the politics of knowledge; the developmental state; development and the global civil society: NGO´s, celebrities and the power of philanthropy; sustainability and democracy; entrepreneurs from below; ecological concerns; gender questions; post development and de-growth.

There are two components of assessment: a briefing report consisting of a short, critical, report on a recent experience of development policy in the global South; and a research essay designed to allow students to develop a series of arguments around set core topics of the module based on extensive archival or theoretical research.

 Decolonising Politics: Actions and Ideas from the Global South

The core aim of this course is to provide an understanding of the processes, actors and ideas that are shaping radical politics in the so-called Global South. We will trace the murky contours that separate politics from lawlessness, political ideas and ideals from empty rhetorical gestures, international cooperation from imperialism, and political activism from violence. It is designed to encourage students to think critically and creatively about the study of politics and political ideas, and to provide the intellectual foundations that enable them to develop their own research agendas.

There are two components of assessment: a presentation to peers (with accompanying written report) on an aspect of politics in the global south; and a research essay allowing the students to develop more specialized understandings of emerging political movements and concerns in the non-Western world.



Or email: postcolonial@gold.ac.uk