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Gender and Development




Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 200-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


How can we understand gender in our contemporary globalized world? How and why do gender-related issues matter to development policy and practice? What is the role of “culture” in understanding and addressing gender issues? In this course, you will learn to develop answers to these complex questions through readings, discussion, and research on a topic of your choice. Readings are drawn from a variety of disciplinary traditions, including anthropology, sociology, women’s studies, law, development studies, and ethnic studies.

Course Objectives

Successful completion of this course means that:

  • you have developed a critical understanding of “gender” and “development”

  • you are able to approach historic, contemporary, and emerging issues from a gender perspective

  • you are able to analyze how gender intersects with other categories of difference

  • you are able to clearly articulate your arguments on gender and development issues, both in written form as well as in oral presentation

Mode of Instruction

The class meets two times a week, with Tuesday sessions devoted to an introduction of the week’s theme and Thursday sessions reserved for student-led discussion of the assigned reading. Weekly reading responses/discussion questions are due on Wednesdays, which will be used by the team of students preparing the discussion for that week.

You will also have an opportunity to select and research a topic of particular interest to you in the general field of Gender and Development. In consultation with the instructor, you will formulate a specific question on your topic of choice, which you will address in a final report.


Assessment: In-class participation, including presentation/ leading discussion session (in teams of 2-4 students)
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Weeks 1 – 7; sign up for leading discussion session on first day of class

Assessment: Weekly web-postings (discussion questions on the readings for Thursday sessions)
Percentage: 10%
Deadline: Weeks 1 – 7; due Wednesdays at 12 noon

Assessment: Final take-home exam
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Week 8 (Wednesday, October 17, at 5PM)

Assessment: Final research report (2200 words)
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Week 8 (Friday, October 19, at 5PM)


The required textbook is Raewyn Connell, Gender (Polity Short Introductions), 2nd edition, 2009.

Additional readings will be made available electronically via the course website on Blackboard.

Contact Information

For further information about this course, please feel free to contact the instructor at: j.h.j.florusbosch@umail.leidenuniv.nl

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Gender and Development—an introduction to two key concepts
Week 2: Where are the women—a brief history of feminist anthropology
Week 3: Engendering development—contemporary issues
Week 4: Sperms, eggs, and other objects—the politics of representation
Week 5: Women’s bodies—(in)fertility, reproduction and health
Week 6: Global connections—female migration and “care work”
Week 7: Towards a unified analysis of gender and kinship
Week 8: preparing for final exam and writing final report

Preparation for first session

Please bring your copy of Gender to the first class session.