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Race, Environment and International Development


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Kalpana Wilson
  • Assessment: a 1500-word critical annotated bibliography (20%) and a 3000-word essay (80%)

Module description

This module looks 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. It examines how racism shapes, and is in turn shaped by, changing global structures and relationships.

You 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.

You will 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.


  • 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.