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Health and Development: A Critical Global Health Perspective


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

It is recommended that students take one 100 and one 200 level course in the Global Public Health major. The course is also explicitly open to other majors. If you do not meet this requirement contact the instructor prior to the course to discuss your background.


This course seeks to discuss health in development from a critical global health perspective comparing and contrasting epidemiological, political economic and anthropological modes of knowledge production. The course critically analyses how diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis have evolved in the global development arena but also how understandings of these diseases in the less developed world are part of the broader histories and societal developments of the societies in which people affected and infected are part.

By contextualizing different diseases in people’s everyday lives, we will study how people live with a disease and in doing so, we will critically examine public health interventions. Students will be encouraged to locate interventions addressed to combat the diseases discussed in particular historical, politico-economic and ideological timeframes. While we will discuss interdisciplinarity and use several readings from other disciplines (such as epidemiology, development studies and political economy), students must take note that the core approach to the study of health in the context of development is a Critical Global Health approach grounded in Anthropology. We will in class, reflect on the value, power and use of the various knowledges that different disciplines produce about health in less developed settings.

The class consists of three modules. Module one focuses on the history of health, disease and healing. Here, we will explore colonial legacies in a post-colonial development world. We will also explore historical paradigm shifts in health conceptualization within the global development arena. Module two will focus on reducing health inequities through development and governance. Here, we will explore the intersections between health, poverty and development, the role of science and technology in health development and the role of governance. Lastly, in module three, we will conclude the course by empirically reviewing problems that arise in promoting health in development such as ethical issues and data availability. Through out the course, we will use case studies to aid our understanding of the different issues that will be discussed.

Course Objectives


  • Have acquired insight into the core components of a critical global health approach to diseases prevalent in less developed settings which they can apply in in-class debates.

  • Locate the emergence of specific global public health approaches and interventions to HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis historically and ideologically.

  • Compare and contrast the knowledge produced on health in development by different disciplines and different publics.


  • Think critically and analytically by comparing and contrasting evidence from different disciplines.

  • To be able to use course literature and other literature to develop a line of reasoning from the perspective of designers and users of interventions.

  • Will experiment with different presenting styles.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2021-2022 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course will use a seminar style of learning. The course will be taught through a mix of mini lectures by the instructor, student presentations, group discussion, and class discussions facilitated by students. Students will take a major facilitation and critical discussion role during seminars. Thorough preparation and understanding of assigned texts and independent research, therefore, will form the basis of the interactive discussions.

Assessment Method

  • 15% participation (assessed continually through participation in seminars and in-class activities).

  • 15% Seminar facilitation (each student will facilitate at least one seminar session)

  • 2x15% Simulation Exercise (30% total weight): Students will prepare weekly and submit the line of reasoning for their characters in writing for a graded assessment (Deadline for written assignment: Week 6).

  • 40% Final assignment (Deadline: Week 8)

Reading list

A reading list will be made available at a Brightspace site for this course before the course begins.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Davina Osei


As a 300-level, this course expects a substantial amount of student interaction, initiative and creative and/or analytical thinking. Students are also expected to want to experiment with different presentation styles.