Instructor: Professor Audra Diptee

Course Description:  This course explores the ways in which particular understandings of the past have influenced the shaping of development policy, humanitarianism, and human rights discourses.  One of the objectives will be to introduce students to theoretical and methodological approaches that will enable critical and sophisticated analyses of discourses produced in various public arenas.  The course will interrogate key concepts such as progress, development, and globalization (among others).  Throughout the term, students will also analyze specific case studies in Africa and the Caribbean.   There will be two writing assignments for this course.  The first essay will be a concept paper.  For this assignment, students will be required to critically engage with one of the concepts or theories addressed in the course.  The second longer assignment will require students to offer a critical assessment of the ways in which the methods of critical applied history might engage with discourses produced in the development, human rights, and humanitarian sectors.  During the seminar, students will also be required to facilitate discussions and make short presentations on the readings each week.

Class Format: Each week students will be expected to attend a three-hour seminar in which there will be discussion about the course readings.  The expectations will be as follows:

  • Discussion Questions: Each week, students are required to come to class with at least three (3) discussion questions that are grounded in the assigned readings.  The questions should reflect some analytical considerations and will be used to guide the seminar discussion.  The questions are to be submitted to the professor by midnight of the day before class (e.g. midnight on Sunday, if class is on Monday).
  • Student Participation: During the seminar, students must demonstrate that they have read and contemplated the assigned readings.  You will be assessed on the quality of your comments (not merely the quantity …)
  • Weekly Presentation & Class Facilitator: Each week, the professor will assign one student to give a ten (10) minute presentation on the readings.  The same student will also be responsible for facilitating the class discussion that week.

Assessment:  Students will be assessed on their written work and their participation in the class seminars.  There will be two written assignments for this course.