Development- an Introduction to International Studies lecture

Ruined palace from the mid-fourteenth century in Fez, Morocco.

This is a lecture on development for an “Introduction to International Studies” course. It was last updated about 2012, so it would need to be adapted with more current materials for today’s classroom. I also haven’t provided citations. But some of this material actually draws on notes from my own undergraduate classes, so one old friend may recognize some of these points. I should also caution that I am not a development scholar, so this lecture only touches on key issues and theories. It was also first taught in an “Introduction to Latin American Studies” class, so there are more references to that region in it. But I hope that some faculty may find some inspiration here, and be able to adapt this for their own classes.



Modernization Theory






  • one of the first things everyone learns about Latin America or Africa is that they not as economically developed as other countries
  • these regions are very wealthy in some respects
  • major industry, rich natural resources, critical number of engineers and technical experts in many countries
  • yet large numbers of people live in extreme poverty
  • why have these regions not succeeded in developing their economy as other areas have?
  • why are so many people there so poor?
  • wide range of theories to address this question
  • today: lecture about different theories of development
  • effort to explain the difference between developed countries and less developed countries
  • lets look at the characteristics of the two levels of development

Sumner and Tribe’s International Development Studies

"View Of Kaeng Krachan Dam,petchaburi Province,thailand" by cbenjasuwan at
“View Of Kaeng Krachan Dam, Petchaburi Province, Thailand” by cbenjasuwan at

Andy Sumner and Michael Tribe’s International Development Studies: Theories and Methods in Research and Practice is a brief overview of the field in a textbook format. The author’s intent is to introduce the reader to key ideas and debates in development studies. The study begins by asking what is the meaning of development, and then discusses the history of the term. Subsequent chapters are concerned with large questions, such as “What can we `Know’ in Development Studies?” Because the book has a focus on research and methods, the book includes a chapter on how we should define rigor, and how research should shape practice. The chapters follow a standard format, which includes numbered sub-headings and brief summaries at the end of every chapter. …

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