Anthropology in Developing Countries

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
ANTH 1170
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course provides a critical introduction to international development studies from an anthropological perspective. Modernization and development programs are examined through ethnographic research with peoples in places on the margins of global politics and economy. Ideological assumptions embedded in different iterations of international development from colonial empires, through the post World-War II Truman Doctrine era, up to contemporary BRICS led development are examined. Development is explored as a heavily contested, deeply political, symbolic, moral and social project.
Course Content

Theoretical Foundations in Anthropology and International Development Studies

This includes all or some of:

Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism

Historical development of the concept of culture in anthropology

Ethnographic methods

Ethics in research involving human subjects

Colonialism and Imperialism

Modernization Theory

Dependency Theory

World Systems Theory

Capitalism, Neoliberalism and Development

International Lending Organizations: World Bank; International Development Fund; Asian Development Bank

(Post) Socialist Development

Gender and Development

Post Development


Contemporary Issues and Ethnographies in ‘Developing’ Countries
This includes all or some of:

The Anthropology of Aid Work and Aid Workers / Voluntourism

Environmental Conservation and Development

BRICS led development programs

Decolonization movements


Learning Activities

The course will be presented mainly in lecture format, with the addition of class discussions, and the use of audiovisual aids.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College Evaluation Policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with section specific criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of a possible assessment scheme:
Reflection/Response Papers 30% (3x10%)
Research Paper 25%
Midterm 20%
Final 25%
Total 100%

Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with Douglas College Policy on ethical conduct for research involving human subjects.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe an anthropological perspective on culture, and the role of cultural research in international development studies and processes.
  2. Distinguish between international development studies, the anthropology of development, post development and anti-development.
  3. Describe some basic methods of ethnographic field research and their value for understanding the impacts of development programs.
  4. Compare and contrast the ideological assumptions and programs of post World-War II Truman era development and contemporary BRICS led development programs.
  5. Discuss some of the influences of colonialism, imperialism, nationalism and global markets upon social and economic inequalities in specific localities and on a global scale.
Textbook Materials

A list of recommended textbooks and materials is provided on the Instructor’s Course Outline, which is available to students at the beginning of each semester.

Possible texts include:

Edelman, Marc and Haugerud, Angelique. 2005. The Anthropology of Development and Globalization from Classical Political Economy to Contemporary Neoliberalism. Wiley-Blackwell.

Gardiner, Katy and Lewis, David. 2015. Anthropology and Development: Challenges for the Twenty-First Century. Pluto Press.




No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for ANTH 1170
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU SOC 211 (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU ANTH 1XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG ANTH 1XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU SA 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ANTH 1XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU ANTH 1XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ANTH 1st (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ANTH 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ANTH 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV ANTH 220 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC ANTH 2XX (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023