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Research Globalisation Studies Groningen (GSG) Education

Minor Development Studies

ECTS: 30
Code: LETMIN05

Why do some countries and regions prosper while others are being left behind? How do migration, climate change and environmental degradation affect development and social transformation? How does ethnicity and culture affect the politics of development? What is the role of governments, NGO’s and global institutions in development and humanitarian aid in addressing global inequality?

For students from all backgrounds who are interested in big questions such as these the University Minor Development Studies offers a range of courses which approach these issues from a critical point of view.

The minor

In today’s world, richer and poorer countries share many challenges, such as inequality and poverty, marginalisation of minorities, limited access to health services and education, ecological degradation, climate change and failing democratic and political institutions. In some countries and regions these issues develop into outright political and humanitarian crises.

The Minor programme seeks to enable you to perceive these realities from the points of view of people living in it and to provide a conceptual framework to understand and reflect on global development issues.

The Minor Development Studies is a multidisciplinary, interfaculty minor. This means that its courses are taught by different faculties, and that the programme is open to Bachelor students from all faculties. All courses are offered in English and in the first semester only (early September to end of January).

The programme includes a compulsory introductory course and a number of electives on development economics, social change, anthropology, climate change, population, environment, culture, politics, and development cooperation. One course offers students the opportunity to write a research essay in a small thematic group or participate in a thematic summerschool.

Registration and enrollment

Registration for the minor as a whole is open from 18 May at 12.00 noon to 8 July 23.59.

Please note that students must register for the minor as a whole and, in addition, for each course separately (!!) on ProgressWWW taking into account the registration dates which differ for each faculty (see the table below).

The maximum intake for the minor is 120 students. Some courses also have their own maximum capacity, so the sooner you enroll the better.

Please note that registration for the following courses are very early.

• Rethinking Global Inequality (I-A) – until 8 July 2022

• Ethnicity, Culture and Politics (I-B) – until 8 July 2022

• Aid, Trade and Beyond (I-B) – until 8 July 2022

You can choose either 15 or 30 ECTS to compose your minor package out of the courses listed below. The first course, Rethinking Global Inequality: People, Power and Poverty is compulsory for all minor students. Apart from this course you are free to choose the courses which appeal to you most.

We recommend you to take 15 ECTs in both semester blocks. However, you can also take 20 ECTS in 1A, and 10 ECTS in 1B, or the other way around. To be admitted to Topical Themes in Development Studies you need to have completed at least 10 ECTS in semester block I-A.

Semester I-A: (5 September – 21 October 2022)

Course and enrollment period

Course code

ECTS

Status

Rethinking Global Inequality: People, Power and Poverty

Enrollment period: 20 June – 8 July

LBA038B05

Faculty of Arts

5

compulsory

Social and Institutional Change

Enrollment period: to be announced

SOBA904

Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences

5 elective

Inhabiting Cultural Worlds: Introduction to Anthropology

Enrollment period: to be announced

THMIN-ICW5

Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies

5 elective

Environment and Development

Enrollment period: to be announced

WBEE001-05

Faculty of Sciences and Engineering

5 elective

Climate Change, End Times and Sustainable Futures

Enrollment period: to be announced

THMIN-CC

Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies

5

elective

Migration and Development

Enrollment period: to be announced: to be announced

GEMIGRDEV

Faculty of Spatial Sciences

10 elective

semester I-B: (14 November – 13 January 2023)

Course and enrollment period

Course code

ECTS

Status

Global Development Studies

Enrollment period: to be announced

EBB921B05

Faculty of Business and Economics

5 elective

Topical Themes in Development Studies (only students taking the full minor; entrance requirement!)

Enrollment period: to be announced

EBB922A05

Faculty of Business and Economics

5

elective

Trade, Aid and Beyond: Dutch international development policy, past and present

Enrollment period: 20 June – 8 July

LBA039B05

Faculty of Arts

5

elective

Ethnicity, Culture and Politics

Enrollment period: 20 June – 8 July

LBA025B05

Faculty of Arts

5

elective

Population and Development

Enrollment period: to be announced

GEPOPDEV

Faculty of Spatial Sciences

5

elective

Summer School: information to follow

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Organised by:

Globalisation Studies Groningen

Course Descriptions

Rethinking Global Inequality: People, Power and Poverty

In a world defined by extraordinary levels of wealth and breath-taking scientific progress, why does poverty, marginalisation, and vulnerability continue to destroy so much human potential – and why are so many countries and people being left behind? Is globalisation a force for shared prosperity or a driver of rising inequality? Are our global institutions equipped to respond to the defining challenges of the 21st Century, including the eradication of poverty, the climate crisis, and pandemic preparedness? Do people in rich countries have a moral responsibility to provide development assistance to poor countries – and does aid help or hinder development?

These are among the big questions at the heart of this introductory module. The course will not offer easy answers, but will challenge students to reflect critically on the world and the issue at the heart of development studies – namely, the human condition. Adopting a cross-disciplinary approach, it will appeal to students taking majors in all faculties.

The lectures will guide students through some of the central themes in international development which will discussed in depth during the seminars. The aim of the course is not simply to transmit evidence and information, but to engage students in dialogue and debate. Beyond a guided reading list, the course will draw on wider materials, including film, audio-recordings of contemporary voices, and literature.

Lecturer: TBA

Course coordinator: Drs. I.D. Sennema

Social and Institutional Change

This course focuses on the emergence and development of formal and informal institutions and their effects on behavior as well as on individual integration processes into society. We will explore how various forms of institutions influence each other and the extent to which institutions have desired or undesired effects. Moreover, we will focus on the conditions under which institutions lead to coordination and cooperation. Several examples will be given from the field of migration and integration. Special attention will also be paid to the role of the state in a market economy, and the effect of cultural norms on economic development.

To this end, we will discuss classical theories (Weber, Durkheim, Smith) that have been used to explain social institutions. Examples will be based on current empirical research studying inequality and the interplay between migration, integration, and welfare states. We will debate among others how migration leads to institutional change and how formal and informal institutions shape integration chances of migrants.

Coordinator: dr. B. Bilecen.

Environment & Development

This course studies the relation between environment and development in developing (and developed) countries. The focus is on a natural science approach linked to societal issues, such as poverty, population, migration, and a weak institutional and political structure. Possible strategies for environmental improvement are reviewed using case-studies from different countries and sectors. The causes of environmental problems are analyzed on the local, national and international level.

The following issues will be touched upon: the depletion of natural resources; energy; climate change; land use and food; water use. Each week is organized around one particular theoretical or thematic topic of environment and development.

The course consists of lectures and group assignments. During class key concepts and theories related to the topic will be explained.

Coordinator: drs. M.R. Berger.

Inhabiting Cultural Worlds: Introduction to Anthropology

Anthropology addresses humans as social and cultural beings. All over the world, people organize themselves empirically—giving rise to various forms of social structure, which anthropologists study under rubrics such as kinship, age, gender, caste and class. Such structures are continually expressed, reproduced and modified in meaningful ways. Not only do people arrange themselves in various ways, they also devise a wide array of rules to regulate social interactions in the natural and supernatural (spiritual) worlds. Anthropologists study and compare how all of this is achieved—and contested—around the globe, in the present as well as in the past.

Students will be introduced to the field of cultural anthropology and to how it relates to other fields of anthropology—linguistic anthropology, physical anthropology and anthropological archaeology. We will discuss crucial concepts and methods in the field, and students will engage with some of the key themes of anthropological research, such as Indigeneity, decolonialization and local worldviews.

Course coordinator: Dr. P. Berger

Climate Change, End Times and Sustainable Futures

Climate change is arguably one of the greatest challenges facing the planet in the 21st century. How to effectively respond to climate change and prepare for new social, political, economic, moral and environmental realities are urgent issues that need to be addressed across all levels of society. What are the visions and resources available across different theological, philosophical and spiritual traditions for understanding and responding to climate change? How do these different visions influence the ways in which various groups and actors interpret climate change and the solutions they offer (or don’t offer)? This course explores these and other questions through a consideration of eschatological end times visions, the promotion of technology and economy as effective solutions to the climate change challenge, alongside ethical and existential questions regarding humanity’s relationship to and responsibility for nature and future generations.

Course coordinator: Dr Erin Wilson

Migration and Development

Migration is a powerful mechanism in the social and economic dynamics both of migrants themselves and of the places that are involved in migration. At the regional level, for example, we observe that human capital is an increasingly important determinant of economic development. Migration of skilled employees therefore importantly shapes regional differences in economic growth. At the other end, we see places that lose people as a result of migration and suffer the social and economic consequences. At the individual level, migration may be a means to improve your socio-economic position, for example when searching for a new job, or perhaps when running from harsh political circumstances. Migration thus plays a key-role in the lives of people as well as for the regions people live and work. Understanding process of migration is therefore key in understanding the socio-economic development of people and places.

This course is dedicated to the mutual relationship between migration and the economic and social development of people and places. It offers theories to understand why people migrate and the outcomes of migration. At the same time, theories that highlight the role of human capital and migration in regional development are explored. In addition, the course aims at providing the latest research and trends about migration flows within and between countries as well as the changing economic and social framework in which migration takes place.

Course coordinator: prof. dr. C.H. Mulder.

Ethnicity, Culture and Politics

The course discusses political, social and cultural aspects of globalisation and of development problems, focusing especially on societies outside the North-Atlantic world. It discusses questions such as: Which processes have led to the development of the modern state, democracy and civil society? What is the historical, social and cultural basis of nationalism and ethnicity? How can identity be understood, what is identity politics and how does it operate in contemporary conflicts in developing countries as well as in our own? What approaches are available in the analysis of contemporary globalisation?

Political, historical and cultural dimensions of development and globalisation are central in this course. It applies innovative anthropological, political and philosophical theories of identity, nationalism and globalisation from the last few decades and discusses several case studies from Africa.

The course is part of the Minor Development Studies but can also be followed separately. It provides students with a good background to further specialise in development related aspects of their own main field of study.

Lecturer: F.H. (Flávio) Eiró de Oliveira.

Global Development Studies

This course is about the main determinants of socio-economic development in developing countries. Students learn about the similarities and differences in the socio-economic development of various regions in the world such as China, India, South-East Asia, Latin-America, Eastern Europe and Africa. In the course, the role of trade, technology, health, education, structural change, and foreign aid on socio-economic development is explained. The usefulness of various empirical methods to measure socio-economic development and its determinant is discussed, and theories of socio-economic development are evaluated. Throughout the course, national and international policies to generate socio-economic development are discussed and evaluated.

Lecturer: dr. Gaaitzen de Vries.

Trade, Aid and Beyond: Dutch international development policy, past and present

This course introduces you to the historical and political development of the international system of development cooperation as it evolved from 1945 onwards, taking Dutch policy development and execution and Dutch perspectives as a starting point. We will discuss the “aid or trade” dilemma that was (and to a point still is) central to Dutch development policy and how this translates into international relations and policies. We will also discuss how the epistemology of the concepts of development and international development relations changed over time and what this means for our current understanding. Special attention will be given to debates on the post-colony, the continent of Africa, and the role of international organizations

Lecturer: dr. M.R. Doortmont.

Population & Development

This is a taught course that aims at understanding differences in fertility, mortality, and migration across regions and countries, taking an interdisciplinary approach (biological, socio-cultural, and economic). Topics include: health, poverty, urbanisation, nutrition, culture, ageing, HIV-AIDS and population policy.

Coordinator: dr. Billy de Haas.

Topical Themes in Development

This course aims at providing an in-depth understanding of a particular set of problems in development, working in a small-group setting with a mentor-lecturer. The core of this course is to write your own research essay. Students can choose from a number of theme groups which change every year. Last years the themes were Sustainable Health; Education and Development; Local Sustainable Development; Gender, Masculinity and Development; Security, State and Development.

This is an advanced course. Students are only admitted after having completed at least 10 ECTS in block I-A. There is also a limited intake.

Subject to prior approval from the course coordinator, this course can be exchanged for participating in a thematically relevant summer school and writing an academic paper.

Course coordinators: dr Bartjan Pennink (Faculty of Business and Economics); Prof. dr. Josje van der Linden (GSG); Drs Ingrid Sennema (GSG)

Summer School Programmes

These Intensive Programmes bring together students in the summer break at the end of the academic year (July or August). After solid preparation during the minor, summer schools offer lectures, seminars, excursions and fieldwork, thus allowing students to experience developing problems first hand. Any of the programmes organised by our team can be followed as an optional form of the Topical Themes course. Students have to make their own travel arrangements and pay a fee for upkeep and local transportation.

More information.

More information

Future career options

Knowledge of global development issues may be required or relevant in many career options, such as government and banking, working in international organisations or a local or international development NGO, in health care or in a water or energy company.

For those who want to continue in a Master programme in Development Studies or International Humanitarian Action (NOHA), this minor will be an important first step.

Contact

Globalisation Studies Groningen, University of Groningen

Email: i.d.sennema@rug.nl or gsg@rug.nl

Last modified:28 April 2022 11.33 a.m.