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Environment and Development 1


Admission requirements

This course forms the basis of the MA specialisation Environment Anthropology and Development Sociology.
Only students who are admitted to the master’s programme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology can take part in this course.


The aim of the course is to equip the student with knowledge and skills that will enable her/him to analyze the interactions between societies and urban and rural environments and to formulate solutions for existing environment-and-development problems. Often these activities are implemented under the banner of development. Even projects in the field of nature conservation usually have strong livelihoods components. A critical assessment of development activities in relation to sustainable use and management of natural resources is necessary to unfold their long term impact on resources and their effects on existing and future power relations. Reflection on the development process itself (the world of projects), its normative motivations or justification (poverty alleviation, bringing justice), its prime actors (ranging from multilateral donor agencies to local NGOs), its key instruments (aid in all kinds of forms, conventions, trade related agreements), and its effects on various target groups will be part of the analysis. At the same time ‘development’ or ‘development aid’ may in itself become a contested resource. Special attention will be given to the position of indigenous peoples in relation to the management of natural resources and the protection of ‘wilderness’ areas. This is a field in which collective human rights issues are often in conflict with idealized images of what indigenous peoples could contribute to sustainability.

Course objectives

  • Becoming familiar with the major anthropological and interdisciplinary studies and theories on development policies and processes.

  • Analyzing development processes with the help of various anthropological or interdisciplinary perspectives.

  • Reviewing development policies and processes in terms of achieving its goals and bringing about justice in efficient and effective ways.

  • Gaining skills in drafting project proposals for the solution of a environment-and-development problems.

  • Gaining insight into the contribution that anthropology and development sociology can make to development policy.



All meetings will take place at the Pieter de la Court Building, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden.

Mode of instruction

Total 5 ECTS = 140 study hours (sbu):

  • lectures 4 × 3 h = 12 hours (18 sbu)

  • 2 group discussions 2 × 3 h = 6 hours (6 sbu)

  • study of literature (116 sbu)

Assesment method

  • Weekly assignments

  • Final paper

  • Active participation in class

Registration in uSis

All participants must register in uSis for the lecture series of this course. (Registration for the exam is not required since there is no classical examination.)


Blackboard will be used to spread course-relevat information, online articles and assignments.

Reading list

To be announced later on Blackboard.

Contact infromation