The Global Context of Development

This course examines the meanings and history of the process known as globalization, locating the present moment in a longer history of capitalism, colonialism and neo-colonial governance.

National development trajectories, policies, discourse and choices cannot be understood in isolation from the global political-economic structures, institutions and geo-politics creating enabling and disabling conditions and pressures that shape these choices. Thus, not only does the experience of colonial underdevelopment and a post-independence developmentalist state have long-term impacts on development in countries like India, the more recent changes in a capitalist world economy, and financial and global governance structures (such as multilateral treaties) also play their role in intimately shaping national development possibilities.

The course will ask questions like: What does it mean to think globally”? What issues do we define as global” and why? What are global” problems and what does global justice” mean? How can a global perspective enable a better understanding of key developmental issues? This course will demonstrate the complex and contradictory connectivities that exist across societies and national borders. Students will gain an understanding of the global origins and dimensions of problems such as increasing inequality, volatile and diminishing livelihoods, environmental degradation, international debt, structural austerity, displacement and migration, in India, but also elsewhere in Asia, Africa & Latin America, and as they affect marginalized populations in advanced capitalist countries.