Global Development Studies
J. Montgomery Roper (Anthropology)
Development is an effort to create positive change to enhance people’s lives. It is a concept whose meanings and goals are hotly debated. Nonetheless, two ideas promoted by the United Nations Development Program guide the GDS concentration: sustainable development and human development. Sustainable development explicitly recognizes the constraints imposed by the natural environment by calling for development that meets the needs of the present without decreasing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Human development links development and human rights by regarding development as the expansion of human freedoms. Under this approach, income, education, and health are all viewed as keys to expand human capabilities.
The GDS concentration focuses on these processes in the world’s developing countries. Furthermore, it is founded on the principle that understanding development requires work in more than one discipline and meaningful dialogue between the disciplines.
The mission of the GDS concentration is to provide students with the following:
- Critical understanding of the concept of development, as well as the core theories, actors, and issues in development. In particular, all students should have an understanding of the interactions between the natural environment and development.
- Recognition that there are different sides to debates on the nature of development and underdevelopment.
- Recognition that there are different disciplinary methods, concepts, and theories concerning development that commonly underlie debates.
- Recognition that different arguments are affected by development experience and standing (e.g., national, ethnic, gender).
- Ability to ask key questions for solving problems in development issues.
- Hands-on experience working in or with a developing country or with an organization that does such work.
- Knowledge of a developing region of the world and alternative worldviews.