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Centre of Development Studies



 *Paper 3 will not be offered in 2020/21*

 *Paper 4 will not be offered in 2021/22*

Selecting Modules for the MPhil Programme

Out of the four full papers you are required to choose for the MPhil, two must be core papers from the list below.

You will choose the other two papers from the remaining core papers or from the list of optional papers and half papers (two half papers make up one full paper).

Examples of paper choices:

  • Paper 1, Paper 3, Paper 15, Paper 900 and Paper 340
  • Paper 1, Paper 2, Paper 4, Paper 400
  • Paper 2, Paper 3, Paper 4, Paper 14, Paper 370

There is also a selection of 'borrowed' papers from other Centres or Departments which you may choose in place of the optional papers we offer. The Centre Administrator will inform students of which papers they are able to borrow near the start of Michaelmas Term. Permission must be granted prior to confirmation of selection, and some papers may be subject to prerequisites.

Changes to the MPhil in Development Studies for 2020-2021

Due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and government guidance, we have had to make some changes to the programme in order to mitigate against risks to health and to give you the best possible academic experience in the circumstances. We will continue to monitor and respond to the changing public health situation. The changes are: students will attend a one hour lecture and a one hour discussion class per paper per week during Michaelmas Term. All lectures will be delivered online. Discussion classes for core papers (Papers 1, 2 and 4) will be delivered in-person subject to us being able to meet social distancing requirements; we will of course be led by the most up to date Government and University guidance on this. Should that guidance provide, discussion classes for core papers will be delivered online. Discussion classes for optional papers will be delivered online.

MPhil Core Papers 

MPhil Optional Papers

Although there may be some variation from year to year, we are currently planning to offer the following papers in 2020-2021:

Full Papers

Half Papers (two half papers make one full paper)

All half papers must be taken with another half paper to make the equivalent of one full paper. Some papers may be subject to prerequisites.

As paper outlines are updated, they will be posted below.


Core Papers

Paper 1: Development Economics

Co-ordinator: Dr Ha-Joon Chang

Teaching Assistants: Georges Quist and Mateus Labrunie

Updated for 2020/21:Development economics is being transformed and challenged from inside and outside. Reflecting the contested nature of the subject, this course covers a wide range of issues, from intellectual property rights to inequality, from international trade agreements to poverty, and from global financial crisis to agrarian change, to just name a few. We delve into the history of the discipline and revisit contrasting theories and debates. In order to do justice to these diverse thematics and approaches, the course combines formats (lectures, discussion classes) and is taught by a team of instructors with different expertise.

Assessment to be announced in Michaelmas Term.

Indicative reading:

  • Ang, Yuen Yuen. How China escaped the poverty trap. Cornell University Press, 2016.
  • Chang, H.-J., Kicking away the ladder: development strategy in historical perspective, Anthem Press, 2002.
  • Ang, Yuen Yuen. How China escaped the poverty trap. Cornell University Press, 2016.
  • Chang, H.-J., (ed.), Rethinking development economics, Anthem Press, 2003.
  • Kozul-Wright, R. & Rayment, P., The Resistible Rise of Market Fundamentalism, Zed Press, 2007.
  • Veltmeyer, Henry, and Paul Bowles, eds. The essential guide to critical development studies. Routledge, 2017.
  • Wolf, M., Why Globalization Works, Yale University Press, 2004.


Paper 2: Institutions and Development

Co-ordinator: Dr Shailaja Fennell

Teaching Assistants: Dr Albert Park and Dr Rekha Bhangaonkar

Updated for 2020/2021: This paper explores the role of institutions as formal and informal rules in social, economic and environmental aspects of development at multiple scales. It places people at the centre of development and examines the relationship between the individual and collective; private and public. Lectures are structured around core themes of historical change, and to examine the role of the state and markets using the key concepts of transaction and transition costs in the Michaelmas term. In the Lent term, lectures are structured around core themes of institutional change, and examine the role of local communities and of international organisations, using the key concepts of institutional design and global agendas.

Assessment to be announced in Michaelmas Term.

Indicative reading:

  • Fennell, S. 2010. Rules, Rubrics and Riches: the interrelationship between the legal reform and international development, Routledge.
  • North, D.C., 1990. Institutions, institutional change & economic performance, CUP.
  • Polanyi, K, (1944) 2001, The Great Transformation, The Political and Economic Origins of our time, Beacon press, Boston, 2001 edition
  • Ostrom, E., 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge University Press.
  • Chambers, R., 1997. Whose Reality Counts: Putting the Last First. Practical Action.
  • Hickey, S., Sen, K. and Bukenya, B. (eds.) (2014). The Politics of Inclusive Development: Interrogating the Evidence. Oxford University Press
  • World Development Report, 2019. The Changing Nature of Work
  • World Development Report, 2016. Digital Dividends.


Paper 3: Sociology and Politics of Development

Not being offered 2020/2021

Co-ordinator: Dr Maha Abdelrahman and Dr Graham Denyer Willis

This paper deals with the configuration, practice and politics of power, broadly defined. It explores the social and political contexts of development theory, the kinds of empirical problems that tend to matter for policy and efforts to ‘practice development’. The paper move critically towards a central objective to fruitfully bringing together canonical debates about the dilemmas of development, with critical assessment of the assumptions of who should benefit - and who might not - from development, broadly defined.

Assessment is by means of one 4000-word essay and one two-hour examination.


Paper 4: Globalisation and Development

Not being offered 2021/2022

Co-ordinator: Dr Graham Denyer Willis

Teaching Assistants: Niyousha Bastani and Surer Mohamed

Updated for 2020/21: What is globalisation? Is it new? What drives it? How has it changed the world? Why does it matter now?

Assembling the specialities of different lecturers, this paper sketches the various processes, actors, practices and structures that underpin the historical and ongoing nature of globalisation, considering its varied impacts on ‘development’ -broadly defined.  Amidst a globe-spanning political economy, we will approach globalisation as a set of processes that can be (and indeed should be?) seen from many perspectives. Here, the material will consider a key selection of some that matter with a particular kind of distinction: empires, profit-seeking firms, migrants, and states -each of which play roles in the dynamic or static patterning that accompanies a given moment.

Through this material we will asks critical questions about what has changed in globalisation, why, how and through what means change has happened. The paper will attend to a series of big questions, concerning itself with structures, patterns and power while also attending to the humanistic ways that people live, work and reproduce or contest global flows. All of this then works a basis for thinking about ‘development’, who shapes it, how and under what conditions.

This is a reading intensive paper guided by lectures and small group discussion. Students should use lectures as the basis for deepening their reading into the extended lists - forthcoming before term.

Assessment to be announced in Michaelmas Term.

Indicative reading:

  • Beckert, S. (2015). Empire of Cotton: A Global History. Vintage.
  • Castells, M. (2011). The rise of the network society (Vol. 12). John wiley & sons.
  • Chang, H. J. (2002). Kicking away the ladder: development strategy in historical perspective. Anthem Press.
  • Clancy-Smith, Julia (2011) Mediterraneans : North Africa and Europe in an age of migration, c. 1800-1900, Berkeley : University of California Press
  • Davis, D. E. (2009). Non-State Armed Actors, New Imagined Communities and Shifting Patterns of Sovereignty and Insecurity in the Modern World. Contemporary Security Policy, 30(2), 221-245.
  • De Genova, N (2005). Working the boundaries: Race, space, and “illegality” in Mexican Chicago, Durham, London, Duke University Press
  • De Noronha, L, 2020, Deporting Black Britons. Portraits of deportation to Jamaica, Manchester: Manchester University Press
  • Engels, F. (1987). The Condition of the Working Class in England. London: Penguin UK.
  • Fromm, E. (1992). The anatomy of human destructiveness. Macmillan.
  • Gillespie, T. (2018). Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, content moderation, and the hidden decisions that shape social media. Yale University Press.
  • Hoffmann, A.L., Proferes, N. and Zimmer, M., 2016. “Making the world more open and connected”: Mark Zuckerberg and the discursive construction of Facebook and its users. New Media & Society,
  • Holston, J. (1989). The Modernist City: An Anthropological Critique of Brasília. University of Chicago Press.
  • Leeson, P. T. (2007). An-arrgh-chy: The law and economics of pirate organization. Journal of political economy115(6), 1049-1094.
  • Lomborg, B. (2003). The skeptical environmentalist: measuring the real state of the world (Vol. 1). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Menjivar, Cecilia, and Kanstroom, Daniel (eds.), 2014, Constructing immigrant "illegality". Critiques, experiences and responses, New York, Cambridge University Press
  • Milanovic, B. (2016). Global inequality: A new approach for the age of globalization. Harvard University Press.
  • Mintz, S. W. (1986). Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. Penguin.
  • Moran, D. (2015). Carceral Geography: Spaces and Practices of Incarceration. London: Routledge,
  • Nolan, P. (2009). Crossroads: the end of wild capitalism. Marshall Cavendish Business.
  • O’Donnell, G. (1993). On the State, Democratization and Some Conceptual Problems: A Latin American View with Glances at Some Postcommunist Countries. World Development, 21(8), 1355-1369.
  • Smith, N. (1996). Spaces of Vulnerability: The Space of Flows and the Politics of Scale. Critique of anthropology, 16(1), 63-77.
  • Sudbury, J. (2002). Celling black bodies: Black women in the global prison industrial complex. Feminist Review, (70), 57-74.
  • Weinstein, L. (2008). Mumbai's Development Mafias: Globalization, Organized Crime and Land Development. International Journal of Urban & Regional Research, 32(1), 22-39.
  • Wolf, Martin. (2004) Why globalisation works. Yale University Press. 



Optional Papers


One full optional paper may be replaced with a 12000-word dissertation. For more information, click here.


Paper 13: Financial Organisation and Economic Growth

Co-ordinator: Mr Michael Kuczynski

Updated for 2020/2021: This paper is concerned with themes in the two-way relationship between the performance of national economies (‘economic growth’ but also income and wealth distribution) and the functioning of monetary and financial systems (‘financial organization’).

The central themes are:

  • how and why financial activity matters in economic growth and in national economic performance, and vice versa how and why growth and economic performance matter in the evolution of financial activity;
  • basic differences between different types of financial activity, mainly market-based and intermediary-based;
  • interaction between processes of price- and quantity-competition in financial activity and processes of price- and quantity-competition in the ‘real’ economy;
  • inkages between household, private or corporate, external, and public finance;
  • cross-border investment flows and national asset positions;
  • the influence of financial activity on the design of optimal economic policy, including monetary policy and taxation.

Particular topics covered under these various headings include:

  • ‘financialization'
  • interest rates, the distribution of income, and Islamic finance
  • ‘key’ currencies
  • primary commodity prices
  • financing of infrastructural activity
  • micro finance
  • externalities
  • debt and crises

The paper draws on national growth and financial experience over the last ¾ of a century. It does not assume particular prior training in technical economic or financial ideas, nor in statistics or technical quantitative methods.

This paper is assessed by means of one 4000-word essay.

Indicative reading:

  • Jonathan Temple, “The new growth evidence”, Journal of Economic Literature, 1999;
  • Jean Tirole, “On banking and intermediation”, European Economic Review, April 1994; Gerald Davis and D. Kim, “Financialization of the economy”, Annual Review of Sociology, 2015;
  • Carlos Diaz-Alejandro, “Good-bye Financial Repression, Hello Financial Crash,” Journal of Development Economics, 1985;
  • Joseph Stiglitz, “Capital Market Liberalization, Economic Growth, and Instability,” World Development, 2000;
  • Angus Deaton, ‘Commodity prices and growth in Africa’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 1999;
  • Stanley Fischer, Modern central banking, Bank of England Tercentenary symposium, 1994; Adam Tooze, Crashed: How a decade of financial crises changed the world, 2018;
  • Thomas Dufhues, G. Buchenrieder, D. Euler, and N. Munkung “Network Based Social Capital and Individual Loan Repayment Performance” Journal of Development Studies, 2011.


Paper 15: Human Development and Education

Co-ordinator: Dr Tadashi Hirai, and Dr Albert Park

Updated for 2020/2021: Education is one of the key dimensions of human development, but grasping its full meaning and scope is not an easy task. Like development, education is a multidisciplinary field, ranging from the politics and philosophy of education to school management and education policy. This paper covers key issues in the ensuring nexus between education and human development. It consists of four modules: (1) Human development, (2) Economic, social and cultural aspects of education and development, (3) The politics of development, and (4) Case studies. Each module explores education within different facets of development. It starts with human development as an alternative to conventional economic growth models. It moves into an analysis of the role of education in economic, social and cultural spheres of development. Education is then resituated within the larger politics of development. Finally, case studies of this development-education nexus complement these theory-driven lectures to illustrate their practical implications in real-world contexts.

Assessment is by means of two 4,000 word essays.

Indicative reading:

  • Fennell, S. and M. Arnot. (eds.) (2009) Gender education and equality in a global context: conceptual frameworks and policy contexts. London: Routledge.
  • Freire, P. (2018) Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Khôi, L.T. (1976) 'Aid to education—co-operation or domination?' Prospects 6(4): 583-94.
  • McCowan, T. and E. Unterhalter. (eds.) (2015) Education and international development. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Mkandawire, T. (2011) ‘Running while others walk: knowledge and the challenge of Africa’s development.’ Africa Development 36(2): 1-36.
  • Nussbaum, M. (2010) Not for profit: why democracy needs the humanities. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Packenham, R.A. (1973) Liberal America and the Third World: political development ideas in foreign aid and social science. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Sen, A. (1999) Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • UNDP. (1990) Human development report: concept and measurement of human development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Paper 30: Justice and Development

Co-ordinator: Professor Barry Rider

Updated for 2020/2021: The paper examines what justice means in the context of sustainable development from a legal perspective. However, no knowledge or experience in the law is necessary for this course. After exploring concepts such as the rule of law, access to justice and legitimacy, the course focuses on a number of topics that are in practical terms important for maintaining sustainable development. These include, for example, the efficacy of legal institutions in developing and particularly smaller states, the threat to stability presented by corruption, economic and organised crime and terrorism, the impact (both positive and negative) on institutions and economies of measures adopted (internationally and domestically) to address these and other threats; governance and corporate social responsibility in the context of multinational enterprises; environmental protection; human rights and the role of international law; exploitation and slavery in the modern world and the practicalities of fashioning and implementing systems that seek to promote and protect integrity and stability.

Assessment is by means of two 4,000-word essays.

Indicative reading:

  • Alston P., ed., Peoples' rights, 2001, Oxford University Press, chs 1, 6.
  • Clayton, M. and Williams A., Social justice, Blackwell, 2004, chs 3, 4, 5 and 12.
  • Cockcroft L., Global Corruption, Money, Power and Ethics in the modern world, IB Tauris, 2012
  • Dworkin R., Law’s Empire, Hart,1998
  • Eatwell J. and Taylor, L., Global finance at risk: the case for international regulation, Polity Press, 2000, chs 1, 4, 5 and 6.
  • Fisman R. and Miguel E., Economic Gangsters, Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations, (2008) Princeton
  • Kerusauskaite I., Anti-Corruption in International Development, 2018, Routledge
  • King R. and Kendall G., The state, democracy and globalization, Palgrave, 2004, chs 2, 3, 4, 6 & 7.
  • Kingley D., Civilising Globalisation, Human Rights and the Global Economy, 2010, Cambridge University Press
  • McLeod I., Legal Theory, Palgrave, 2003, chs 1, 2, 10 and 11.
  • Rider B., International Financial Crime, Edward Elgar, 2016
  • Sen  A., The Idea of Justice, 2010, Penguin, Pts 1 and 3
  • Sharman JC., The Despot’s Guide to Wealth Management, Cornell, 2017
  • Stiglitz J., Making Globalisation Work, 2007, Penguin


Paper 43: Political Economy of Development in Africa

Co-ordinator: Dr Helena Pérez Niño and Dr Jon Phillips

Updated for 2020/201: This Paper examines the history and trajectory of development in Africa from a political economy perspective. Students will be introduced to theories of how African societies have been transformed in the process of capitalist expansion and will develop skills to analyse the development challenges of today. Focusing primarily but not exclusively on sub-Saharan Africa, the paper emphasises the historical roots of social and political institutions such as state, market and society, as well as covering periods of political turmoil, state formation and economic development. Throughout the Paper, students will be encouraged to explore how knowledge about African development is constructed and assess the possible implications for how development is understood.

Assessment is by means of two 4,000-word essays.

Indicative readings:

  • Arrighi, G., 2002 The African crisis: world systemic and regional aspects. New Left Review 15:5-36.
  • Boone, C., 2014. Property and political order in Africa: Land rights and the structure of politics. Cambridge University Press.
  • Cooper, F., 2002. Africa since 1940: the past of the present. Cambridge University Press.
  • Cramer, C., Sender, J., & Oqubay, A. (2020). African Economic Development: Evidence, Theory, Policy. Oxford University Press.
  • Freund, B. (2016). The making of contemporary Africa: the development of African society since 1800. Macmillan International.
  • Jerven, M. (2015) Africa: Why economists get it wrong. Zed Books.
  • Mamdani, M., 2018. Citizen and subject: Contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism. Princeton University Press.
  • Mkandawire, T. (2015). Neopatrimonialism and the political economy of economic performance in Africa: Critical reflections. World Pol., 67, 563.
  • Padayachee, V. ed., 2010. The Political Economy of Africa. Routledge.
  • Young, C., 2012. The postcolonial state in Africa: Fifty years of independence, 1960–
  • 2010. University of Wisconsin Press.


Paper 320: Concepts and Lineages of the Developmental State in China, East Asia, and Beyond

Co-ordinator: Prof William Hurst

Updated for 2020/2021: Beginning in the 1980s, social scientists looked to the idea of the “developmental state” to understand and explain what they saw as great success stories of economic and social change in parts of East Asia. By the 1990s, many saw shades of similar structures and processes in Southeast Asia, even as Northeast Asian states undertook sweeping political change and democratization. In the new Millennium, many have looked for signs of the paradigm in China. Meanwhile, whatever had been there of a coherent model has become less clearly relevant, problematized to a greater degree even in the countries of its birth. Some have even begun to suggest that the very concept of the developmental state is either outdated or perhaps was never even very useful.

Assessment is by means of one 4,000-word essay.


Paper 330: Whither Police? Critical Questions for Global Development

Co-ordinators: Dr Graham Denyer Willis and Mr Emilio Garciadiego Ruiz

Updated for 2020/2021: Are police necessary? What is the function of policing? In a moment where all public services must justify themselves, and in a moment of unprecedently low crime, how do police do it? 

If development is freedom, is freedom possible with, or without, policing? Are policing and democracy antithetical?

This half paper critically examines longstanding empirical and theoretical questions about development, inequality, security, race and freedom by reflecting on police as institution, power, law and everyday actor. Police, intertwined but separate in crucial ways from the ‘policing’ of social order, are a format of ordering that has accompanied and been transfigured by ante-colonialism, colonialism and post-colonialism. The police of badges, uniforms and batons are about a particular kind of historical moment, a contemporary one, and can be studied in this light. Similarly, though, they can be seen as just one institutional permutation of an enduring political order, under the ethics of capitalism.

Police are, today, the subject of great scrutiny across class and race, globally. And not for the first time. What does this mean? How might this crucial juncture matter and what does a deliberate interrogation of the roots, politics and ethics – the ways of being and doing - of policing reveal about the possibility or impossibility of development and actual emancipation?

Assessment is by means of one 4,000-word essay.


Paper 340: Gender and Development

Co-ordinator: Dr Maryam Tanwir and Dr Nitya Khemka

Updated for 2020/2021: In our world today, gender inequality remains pervasive. Gender inequality has a high economic, moral and social cost. It translates into poverty and perpetuates inequality. Gender bias not only affects women and men but also structures the household and society. Therefore, any development agenda that is not informed by the gender asymmetries at play will remain fundamentally flawed. Men and women both create and maintain society and contribute to development. They have separate and distinct (yet interdependent) roles, and they profit and suffer from the development trajectories disproportionately. This paper equips students with the theoretical and analytical skills required to understand gender issues in policymaking and development practice. It includes multidisciplinary perspectives from development economics, law, public policy, religion and culture, supported by case studies from developing countries across south Asia, Africa and Latin America. Informed by interdisciplinary gender studies, international development practice and feminist theory, students will gain an understanding of how gender relations are core to ideas of development policy and implementation, and how a gender lens is critical to understand dynamics of development. The paper is taught by Dr Maryam Tanwir and Dr Nitya Khemka along with contributions from external specialists with practical field-level experience in gender mainstreaming across a range of social science disciplines and geographies.

Assessment is by means of a 4,000 word assessed essay.

Indicative readings:

  • Fukuyama, Francis (2011) The Origins of Political Order: From Prehumen Times to the French Revolution (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Potts, M and Hayden, T (2008) Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World (Dallas, TX: BenBella Books)
  • Wilson, Edward (1978) On Human Nature (Harvard University Press)
  • Fukuyama, Francis (1998) "Women and the Evolution of World Politics," Foreign Affairs 77 no. 5 (Sept.-Oct. 1998).
  • Kabeer, N (1994) Reversed Realities: Gender Hierarchies in Development Thought (Verso, 1994)
  • Moser, C (1993) Gender Planning and Development: theory, practice and training (Routledge)
  • Nalini Visvanathan et al. (eds.) (1997) Women, Gender and Development Reader (Zed Books)

Paper 360: Social Movements and Development

Co-ordinators: Dr Graham Denyer Willis and Dr Joshua Platzky Miller

Updated for 2020/2021: Who does ‘development’? In this half-paper, we will explore how social movements and anti-systemic actors create alternative models of development, or even abandon ‘development’ as a framework altogether. Paying particular attention to theories and practices emerging beyond the ‘WENA’ region (Western Europe and North America), we will examine how social movements challenge existing patterns of social organisation globally, while imagining and realising alternatives.

This interdisciplinary paper presents selected topics highlighting interrelated and intersectional struggles of movements across the world. These include early anti-systemic movements, particularly the socialist revolutions of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and anti-colonial struggles in the global periphery, focusing on African decolonisation from the 1950s-60s. We then turn to the global uprisings of the 1960s-70s, and the emergence of the alter/anti-globalisation movement in the 1990s-2000s in the wake of neoliberal reforms and the end of the USSR. We conclude the course focusing on two anti-state polities emerging in the last decades, in Chiapas and Rojava, while also looking at the ‘Springtime revolutions’ and Occupy since 2010, alongside contemporary anti-capitalist, feminist, anti-racist, indigenous and environmental movements.

Drawing on these cases, we consider the historical role of social movements prompting systemic change and how they could do so in the future. The course offers students a set of historical and conceptual resources to think through broader forms of collective self-organisation than what is generally offered by the idea of ‘development’. In doing so, it also encourages students to examine critically the power relations underlying the ‘development’ pathways that have shaped our world.

Assessment is by means of one 4,000 word essay.

Indicative Readings:

  • Babones, S. (2018) The world-systems perspective. In: H. Veltmeyer and P. Bowles (Eds) The Essential Guide to Critical Development Studies. London: Routledge. P109-117
  • Wallerstein, I. (2016) Antisystemic movements, yesterday and today. In: Social Movements and World-System Transformation. London: Routledge. pp. 15-24
  • Chibber, V. (2015) Development From Below. Jacobin. Available Online:
  • Malatesta, E. (2014). “I. ‘Whoever is Poor is a Slave’: The Internationalist Period and the Exile in South America, 1871–89”. In: D.  Turcato, and P. Sharkey (Eds) The Method of Freedom: An Errico Malatesta Reader. Oakland, CA: AK Press
  • Marx, K. and F. Engels (1848) Manifesto of the Communist Party. Available Online:
  • Prashad, V. (2007) The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World. New York: The New Press
  • Gunderson, C. (2019). Cycles of Accumulation, Cycles of Struggle: The Zapatista Revolt in World-Systemic Perspective. Critical Sociology, 45(4–5), 667–681.
  • Moghadam, V. M. (2017). The Semi-Periphery, World Revolution, and the Arab Spring: Reflections on Tunisia. Journal of World-Systems Research, 23(2), 620-636.
  • Dirik, D. (2018) “Overcoming the Nation-State: Women's Autonomy and Radical Democracy in Kurdistan” (p145-164). In: J. Mulholland et al (Eds) Gendering Nationalism: Intersections of Nation, Gender and Sexuality. Cham: Springer
  • Satgar, V. (2018) “The Climate Crisis and Systemic Alternatives”. In The Climate Crisis: South African and Global Democratic Eco-Socialist Alternatives. Johannesburg: Wits University Press
  • Harcourt, W. (2013). The future of capitalism: a consideration of alternatives. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 38(6), 1307–1328.


Paper 370: Natural Resources and Development

Coordinators: Dr Helena Pérez Niño and Dr Amir Lebdioui

Updated for 2020/2021: This paper examines the political economy of natural resource-based development with special reference to extractives (oil, gas and mining) and renewable energies. The paper draws on long-standing debates in development studies, economics and political ecology to address current discussions about commodity cycles, economic diversification, the ‘Green New Deal’, green growth and the question of energy transitions in the broader context of economic development.

The paper will introduce students to the theory and history of resource-based development, with a particular emphasis on the relations and conflicts in society, states and markets in the processes of local value addition, technological upgrading and diversification policies.

The half paper will be divided into three sections. The first introductory section will provide a broad theoretical framework and history of resource-based development as well as introduce students to the relation between primary commodities, resource mobilization and state formation. The second section will focus on the political economy and developmental challenges facing economies that depend on the extraction of metals and minerals (including oil and gas). The third section focuses on renewable resources and climate change. It will examine the politics of "green industrialization" and discuss strategies that aim to mitigate climate change.

This paper relies on a collaboration between lecturers from across the University of Cambridge, other universities and international development institutions (such as the International Monetary Fund and the International Renewable Energy Agency).

Assessment is by means of one 4000-word essay.

Indicative readings:

  • Ascher, W. (1999) Why Governments Waste Natural Resources: Policy Failures in Developing Countries, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.
  • Chang, H-J. & Lebdioui, A. (2020) “From fiscal stabilization to economic diversification: the developmental management of resource revenues”, UNU WIDER working paper series
  • Di John, J. (2009) From Windfall to Curse? Oil and Industrialization in Venezuela, 1920 to the Present. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press.
  • Fouquet, R. (ed.) (2019) Handbook on Green Growth. Edgar Publishing
  • Humphreys, M., Sachs, J., & Stiglitz, J. E. (2007). Escaping the resource curse. New York.
  • International Renewable Energy Agency (2020) Global Renewables Outlook: Energy transformation 2050. Abu Dhabi: IRENA.
  • Mitchell, T. (2011). Carbon democracy: Political power in the age of oil. Verso Books.
  • Ovadia, J. S. (2016). The petro-developmental state in Africa: Making oil work in Angola, Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. Hurst.
  • Ross, M. (1999) “The Political Economy of Resource Curse”, World Politics, 51 (January), 297-322.


Paper 390: Migration, Human Trafficking and Development

Coordinator: Dr Saradamoyee Chatterjee

Updated for 2020/2021: This half paper critically engages in the discussion of migration, forced migration, and human trafficking from a developmental perspective. The course provides a distinctive focus on each and culminates in examining the link between these three issues.

The lectures on migration discuss trends, patterns, theories (how migration and migrants are conceptualised and researched in and across different disciplines), and the migratory experiences of people from different parts of the world. The key focus is the developmental factors that influence migration, the patterns of climate change that influence migration, the border control policies that both assist and restrict migration, and issues surrounding forced migration, including the refugee crisis, and forced labour. This year there will be a particular focus on COVID-19 related vulnerabilities of migrant workers and refugees. 

Human trafficking is examined from a developmental perspective, and the course covers the different types, approaches, and theories to study human trafficking. Some of the key questions addressed in these lectures include how human trafficking is a development issue; how migration, forced migration, and human trafficking lie along a continuum; how the illegal traffic in human organs has a gender and ethical dimension. Linked to human trafficking, this year there is a guest lecture entitled, ‘Black Lives Matter and the long tail of slavery’.

Different individuals with their own area of expertise teach the course.

The method of assessment is by means of one 4,000 word essay.

Indicative Reading:

  • Betts, A. (2009) Forced Migration and Global Politics. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.
  • Gazzotti, L. (2018). From irregular migration to radicalization? Fragile borders, securitized development and the government of Moroccan youths, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 45(15). 2888- 2909
  • Kothari, U. (2003). Staying put and staying poor? Journal of International Development. 15: 645–657.
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Paper 400: Development of Central Asia and the Caucasus

Co-ordinator: Dr Siddharth S. Saxena

Updated for 2020/2021: The Silk Road region has both contemporary and historical relevance when it comes to understanding development in Asia and Eurasia. This paper addresses political, economic, cultural and industrial development in Central Asia, the Caucasus and also broadly in the connected realms of Eurasia. Standard reading of economic and political theories tend to be unsatisfactory in engaging with this vast and dynamic geography. Central Asia has a mystical resonance in the world imagination carved by the writings of the Orientalists and the biographers of the Great Game. Following that, the Soviet period, in contrast to a millennia old ‘globalised’ connectivity of the region, signalled a substantial shift in political and economic systems and focused more on internal development. Region also became part of a larger structure of the apparatus of the Cold War. Relatively recent dissolution of the Soviet Union and emergence of sovereign Central Asian and Caucasus nation-states has again pushed the re-set button. The new resurgence has given rise to high rates of growth in some of the countries, partly fed by discovery of the very large reserves of oil, natural gas and rare-earth metals, together with blooming agricultural production, manufacturing and transport hubs across all countries point to new development configurations in the 21st century. However some of the countries drastically lag behind. Also of interest is how Central Asia and Eurasia is responding to the current changes in global political order and resultant economic implications.

The content of paper is developed as the term proceeds, shaped around the interests of each cohort. Weekly 2-hour lectures are complemented by weekly 2-hour seminars delivered by guest academics and researchers, ambassadors, industry specialists, or representatives of civil society or NGOs with experience in the region.

No previous knowledge of the Central Asia/Eurasia region is necessary to take this option.

Assessment is by means of two 5,000 word essays.

Indicative Reading: 

  • E. Allworth, ed., Central Asia: One Hundred Twenty Years of Russian Rule, rev. ed. (Durham, NC: Duke U. Press, 1989)
  • Thomas Barfield, The Perilious Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China. (Basil Blackwell 1989) 
  • V.V. Barthold and T. Minorsky, Four Studies on the History of Central Asia. ( Brill 1958) 
  • Robert Canfield, Turko-Persia in Historical Perspective. (Cambridge University Press 2002)  
  • Sally Cummings, Understanding Central Asia: Politics and Contested Transformations (Routledge 2012)
  • Nicola Di Cosmo, Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History. (Cambridge University Press2002)
  • Dadabaev, Timur. Transcontinental Silk Road Strategies: Comparing China, Japan and South Korea in Uzbekistan. (Routledge 2019)
  • Renee Grousset, The Empires of the Steppe: A History of Central Asia. (Rutgers University Press 1970)
  • Kalra, Prajakti. The Silk Road and the Political Economy of the Mongol Empire / Prajakti Kalra. (Routledge Studies on the Chinese Economy. 2018)
  • Khalid, Adeeb. Islam after Communism : Religion and Politics in Central Asia. ( U of California Press 2007).
  • Khazanov, Wink, Khazanov, Anatoly M., Wink, André, and International Institute of Administrative Sciences. Nomads in the Sedentary World. (Curzon, 2001)
  • Neumann, Iver B., and Einar Wigen. The Steppe Tradition in International Relations : Russians, Turks and European State-building 4000 BCE-2018 CE. ( Cambridge University Press 2018)
  • Pomfret, Richard. "The Central Asian Economies in the Twenty-First Century: Paving a New Silk Road," (Princeton University Press 2019)
  • Soucek, Svat. A History of Inner Asia. (Cambridge University Press, 2000)
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