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Race, Environment and International Development (Level 7)


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Dr Kalpana Wilson
  • Assessment: a 3000-word critical annotated bibliography (30%) and 5000-word essay (70%)

    Module description

    In this module we look at how constructions of race are inscribed within the institutions, policies and practices of international development, with a particular focus on environment and climate change. We will examine how racism shapes, and is in turn shaped by, changing global structures and relationships.

    We will trace how notions of race have been central to development discourses, from the colonial idea of 'trusteeship' and the 'white man's burden' to contemporary approaches to climate change, population, gender and property rights, and how these approaches have been challenged and resisted by people’s movements.

    We then explore how dominant understandings of the Anthropocene, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development are racialised, and the possibilities for anti-imperialist, decolonial and abolitionist visions of climate justice.

    Indicative syllabus

    • Race, capital and international development
    • Race, empire and the Anthropocene
    • Colonialism, gender and sexualities
    • Representing the ‘other’ in development and aid
    • Population policies and eugenics in development
    • Race, patents and pandemics: HIV/AIDS and Covid-19
    • Colonial and decolonial environmentalisms
    • Race and climate justice

    Learning objectives

    By the end of this module, you will be able to critically apply key concepts, theories and methods used in debates around race, environment and international development.