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Gender and Development




Admissions requirements

Introduction to Gender Studies; Global Challenges: Diversity and/or explicit permission of the Minor Convener (dr. Daniela Vicherat Mattar)


Global inequalities, transnational relations and international development are all crucial and increasingly important areas for analysis, research and political activism. While individuals in global, national and local discourses are often treated as neutral, sometimes even passive, subjects within a linear process of development, both inequalities and development need to be understood as reflecting and reproducing various structures of embodied unequal power dynamics. Gender represents one of the most crucial axes of analysis in this context. Different consequences for men and women, gendered understandings of aims, methods and practices of interventions and the reproduction of gender roles and stereotypes in debates are all inherent to the international development discourse.
In this course gender and embodiment will not only be seen as empirical realities but also used as specific lenses to analyse various fields of development. We will apply several concepts, theories and approaches of gender analysis in order to explore some key themes and debates within international development.

After a general introduction to Gender, Body Politics and Development we will focus each week on a specific theme and field of development. We will discuss the significance of a gender analysis, [incl. intersectionality, diversity] for researchers, policy makers, international and national NGO and political activists in the field. The discussion will also take different levels of analysis into account, moving from institutional examples, such as the new global Sustainable Development Goals, pronounced by the UN in 2015, to grass-roots activism by feminist and social justice groups in the field. It will become clear that applying gender as both an analytical lens and a political perspective is crucial for a productive and progressive discussion of international development. At the same time particular aspects and issues of (international) development will provide excellent case studies to identify the persistence of gendered structures, dynamics and processes, and to assess the scope for gender justice in the new Development Agenda for the Future.

Week overview

Week 1: Gender, Wo/Men and Development: theories, approaches, agencies, historic debates and current challenges
Week 2: Gendered Body Politics of Sex, Life and Death: the reproductive and sexual body in Development Policies
Week 3: Gender justice in Development domain of Poverty alleviation, Work and Care
Week 4: Gender justice in Development domains of Health and Education
Week 5: Masculinities and Questioning the culture of Sexual and Gender-based Violence Week 6: Gender, Biotechnology and the Marketisation of the Female Body
Week 7: Gender in the Development Agenda after 2015, the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and the future we want
Week 8: Reading week, group tutorials and writing analytical essay

Course objectives

After succesfull completion of this course, students are able to:

  • Define and review key concepts, fields, approaches and theories of gender & development

  • Understand and apply intersectional gender analysis in the various embodied contexts and discourses of “development” and demonstrate sensitivity to the ways in which development practices (re)produce, challenge or change gender structures.

  • Critically analyse and engage with the ways in which gender and embodiment shape discourses, structures, institutions and practices of international development


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

This course will be conducted as a seminar, with two 2-hour sessions per week, in lecture/film with discussion or workshop format. In each session we will discuss key readings and apply the insights to different textual and audio/visual materials provided. In weeks 2-6, the seminar discussion will be complemented by group presentations, in which a designated group of students presents a summary with discussion points in relation to the topic of the session. The lecturer will provide reading guidelines, clarify difficult terms, as well as contextualize the readings. Week 7 will include a synthesizing workshop with poster presentations, for which each group of students will prepare a creative visual representation of one particular/selected aspect of the Development Agenda for the Future, relating it to the key conceptual points of the course. Students are expected to participate actively in classroom discussions and to bring in materials relating to the topics addressed.


  • In-class participation – 15% – Ongoing Weeks 1 – 7

  • Individual paper: literature review/ reflection note (ca. 1000 words) – 15% – Once, related to readings of one session of your choice between weeks 2-6, to be submitted the day before the session, before midnight.

  • Group assignment: presentation and guided discussion in class (approx. 15 minutes) – 15% – Each student participates in a group designated to make a presentation in a selected session in one of the thematic weeks 2-6

  • Group assignment: Poster presentation – 15% – In week 7 each group presents a poster elaborating a particular selected aspect of the Development Agenda for the Future

  • Final analytical essay (ca 3000 words) – 40% – Optional (Group) Tutorials early in Week 8. Submission: Friday 25 March, midnight.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Students are required to purchase the course book:

Harcourt, W. (2009) Body Politics in Development: Critical debates in Gender and Development. London: Zed Books.
A list with further readings will be provided in the course syllabus.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Drs. Loes Keysers: