Village Earth

GSLL 1509 – Development and the Politics of Empowerment

Start Date

August 11, 2021

End Date

October 16, 2021

Registration Fee

September 9, 2021

Register Before

September 9, 2021

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About

“…development is a process of empowerment.” –Edwards, The Irrelevance of Development Studies

Over the last few decades, many scholars have begun to challenge traditional conceptions of development. Their work has generated an intense debate between those that attribute “underdevelopment” to cultural factors, and those that dismiss such ideas as racially motivated and instead recognize poverty and marginalization as primarily structural and systemic issues. Indeed, the concept of poverty itself has been challenged.

Employing this critical lens, the course will examine the assertion that development should not only be seen as an economic process of wealth accumulation, but rather as a socio-political process of empowerment. This realization has major implications for how NGOs approach development, as it brings to light the fact that this work has a substantial political component.

In order to overcome the disadvantages of poverty, structural barriers to success must be addressed. Through a careful investigation of the historical applications of development, we will explore the idea that development is an inherently political process and challenge the claim that any development NGO is apolitical. Additionally, we will strive to identify successful methods of community empowerment through political organization.

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the underlying political implications and perspectives of seemingly apolitical actions in development work
  • Apply and refine techniques of empowerment and advocacy
  • Understand the history of development thinking as it relates to politics
  • Articulate a broader understanding of key terms such as empowerment, participation, politics, and power

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.

Instructor

Cori Keene

Instructor Bio

International development consultant with experience in coordination, education, research, and advocacy.

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