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Gender, Imperialism and International Development



Tutor: Caroline Wright


Unequal lives and growing disparities are primary features of the contemporary world, within which gender relations remain embedded. This module looks at how gender articulates with development within the context of the international political economy, as a means of understanding the distinct analyses and forms of resistance developed by feminists from the majority world. Early sessions are designed to provide a historical, discursive and political context, examining, for example, imperialism and orientalism; women‟s movements for change; measures and methods of gendered development. Thereafter sessions engage with feminist theories critical of the major approaches to development, including modernisation theory, Marxist perspectives, ecological approaches and post-modernism, and assess approaches based around rights, entitlements and justice. The final part of the module enables students to address one of the following contemporary issues: climate change; the economic crisis; peace-building.

The module aims:

to provide a critical understanding of gender divisions and their impact on processes of development in an international context;

to provide exposure to issues and debates developed by women activists, practitioners and researchers from within the majority world itself;

to facilitate communication, learning and teamwork in a diverse international group through an awareness of the educational process and the use of group work.

Module Schedule

  • Week 1 Introduction – Categories, Objectification and Ways of Seeing
  • Week 2 Historical Contexts - Gender and Imperialism
  • Week 3 Discursive Contexts - Feminism and Orientalism
  • Week 4 Political Contexts - Women‟s Movements for Social Change
  • Week 5 Accounting for Gender: Measures and Methods
  • Week 6 Liberal and Marxist Paradigms of Women/Gender and Development
  • Week 7 Ecological and Postmodernist Paradigms of Gender and Development
  • Week 8 Rights based Paradigms of Gender and Development
  • Week 9 Entitlements and Capabilities: A Feminist Economics of Development
  • Week 10 Key Issues in Gender and Development: Climate Change; Peace-building; the Economic Crisis

Core Readings

Core readings are identified for each week and need to be read before the relevant class. All the core readings are available electronically as well as in hard copy in the Library. There are three types of electronic resources that are accessed via the Library: scanned in extracts; e-journal articles and e-books. Other resources can be accessed directly from the internet using the link provided.

You will need Adobe Reader to access resources electronically, and you can download it free if you don‟t already have it on your machine:  

Scanned in Extracts

These are chapters of books available via the Library‟s dedicated site for e-resources for this module:  

You will need to ensure that you are registered for the module in order to have access, and you must also complete Web Sign-on. Then you simply look for the reference you require (they are arranged alphabetically by author‟s surname). It will open as a pdf and the chapter follows on from the Copyright Notice. You can read it on screen but you will also need to print a copy to bring to the class and you might also want to save a copy (for your own personal use only).

E-journal articles

Where possible the link provided after the reference in the reading list will take you to a WebBridge page that enables you to click for the full text of the article as a pdf, which you can then read on screen and save and print for personal use. Where this is not possible the link provided will take you to the Library Catalogue site for that e-journal. You will then need to select a database to access it through, checking that it has the relevant year. You will need to be logged in and then the database archive will open and you need to select the Vol. and/or No. of the journal and page down for the article. You can click to open the pdf, which may take a few seconds, but the interface and reliability does vary. It is recommended instead to save the pdf to your hard drive or data-stick (right click, select „save target as‟, then choose a directory and give the file a meaningful name). You can then open the saved document, print it, search it etc.


The link provided after the reference in the reading list will take you to the Library Catalogue site for that e-book. If you are on campus you click for access. If you are off-campus click „Log In‟ (top left of the page), then „Athens Users, log in here‟ (bottom of screen at the left) and you should be prompted for your normal Warwick login. Once you have opened the book you need to search for the relevant chapter. You can read this on-screen but if possible you must also print a copy to bring to the class. To print a Netbook make sure you have searched for the chapter using the box at the left-hand side, expanding sections as necessary to find it. Then select Print from the top banner and choose the option „Pages starting with the current page‟, inserting the number of pages in the box and clicking OK (where possible, the number of pages is provided in square brackets as part of the reference in this reading list). This will prompt the creation of an 3

Adobe document so click to Run and the chapter will then come up on your screen with an option to print. You can also save a copy using File, Save a Copy. You will notice that under the terms of University Access to Netbooks only a limited number of pages can be printed each hour, so you may need to access the e-book again later if other library users have used the quota.

Additional Readings

All the additional readings listed below for each topic are available in the library and should be used when doing more in depth work, eg. for your assessed essay.

Class Essay

You are required to do the following piece of formatively assessed written work during the module, by way of practising your writing skills. No formal mark will be assigned to it but you will get some written feedback. The work is due to be submitted at the start of the class in week 5 (Thursday 4 November 2010)

Write a 1,500 word summary and analysis of Mohanty’s 1988 article ‘Under Western Eyes: feminist scholarship and Colonial Discourses’ (core reading in week 3).

Write in your own words, paraphrasing Mohanty‟s article and bringing your own analysis to it. A few selective quotes may be used, and should be clearly marked as such using quotation marks and giving the page number. Make sure you follow the guidelines on presentation and referencing in the MA Handbook.

Assessed Essay

You are required to write one 5,000 word summatively assessed essay, the mark for which will be your mark for the module. The essay is not due until the Spring term at the earliest; the deadline and submission procedures are according to the MA Handbook. Titles for the assessed essays will be circulated no later than week 5 of the module.