Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 1 hour
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours. (8 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam  60%
Supplementary Exam Exam  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1.Analyze how knowledge and power interconnect and how they are linked to inequality.
2. Assess the differences and similarities of colonial experiences in Latin America and Africa.
3. Evaluate the legacies of colonialism in the First and Third Worlds.
4. Discuss and interrogate the ideas underpinning notions of development.
5. Critically assess the impact of attempts to encourage development in the Third World.
6. Analyze the politics of ideas like 'liberal democracy' and 'corruption' and their implications for policy practice.
7. Evaluate the political importance and impact of social movements.
8. Identify and analyze gendered and racialised dynamics of inequality in Third World politics.

Brief description

This module begins by discussing how we know what we know about the Third World as a way of revealing some key assumptions about Third World places. It will show how power inequalities operate through ways of thinking about ‘different’ places and will include an examination of the term ‘Third World’. This discussion will focus on gendered and racialised ideas about the Third World, and indeed these dynamics of inequality will arise as core themes throughout the module. The lectures for the module as a whole will focus on Latin America and Africa, and the section on colonialism begins with a critical historical overview of colonialism in these two regions. The lectures then move on to consider the profound way in which Europe was framed by the colonial experience, showing the connectedness of First World/Third World. This is also a key theme of the lecture on decolonization which will look critically at continuities, as well as discussing the status of independence. The module then discusses two key contemporary issues: development and democracy. The development lectures discuss what development means and question the effectiveness – and indeed the legitimacy – of western efforts to develop the Third World. Similarly, the democracy lectures ask whether models of democracy developed in the First World are really universal and it takes a critical look at the idea of corruption. The participatory practices of social movements – so important in Third World politics – are then discussed, exploring strategies of resistance and organization in a wide range of social groups. The module ends with two concluding lectures which attempt to sum up the key arguments developed throughout and to shine a spotlight on the key question – how might inequality really be tackled?


1. Introduction
Theory: whose knowledge, whose power?
2. Power
3. Knowledge
4. Difference and universalism
5. Latin America
6. Africa
7. Europe
8. Decolonization(?)
9. The idea of development
10. Politics of Aid
11. The role of INGOs and NGOs
12. Is development necessary?
13. The liberal democratic model
14. The trouble with corruption
15. People power: social movements and participation
16. People Power: social movements in practice
17. Knowledge, assumptions and the struggle from below
18. Can the world be a more equal place?


This module introduces students to some of the key issues in Third World studies (colonialism, development, democracy), taking a critical perspective from the outset. It will ask students to consider key ways in which power operates in international relationships between the First and Third Worlds, and how inequalities are generated and perpetuated through ideas and practices. It will urge students to challenge widely held assumptions about the Third World by encouraging them to take a perspective located in the Third World. Moreover, it will highlight connections between the First and Third worlds, and will explore continuities as well as differences between politics and society in these two realms so often seen as separate.

Transferable skills

Study skills will be taught to students by active participation in seminars, backed by a web-based curriculum on the Departmental intranet (Intranet Skills Resource). Four main topics will be covered: sources (printed and web-based); seminars and small group work; essays; examinations. The skills teaching will be practical and geared to the tasks which students encounter during their studies, and as such they will be linked into the module'r academic content and to student assessment. As such, seminar tutors will engage in skills teaching as and when appropriate to that particular group, rather than employing a rigid regime. Thus discussions about group work might take place early-on, discussion of sources might occur throughout the module while the topic of essay writing would take place closer to the deadline. The less structured approach to skills teaching will be backed up by the Intranet Skills Resource which will feature notes on various skills topics, a reading list plus links to other College resources (such as Information Services) and to pre-existing skills sites available on the web. It should be noted that the Department has tried many strategies to teach skills, but the results have been disappointing, and it is hoped that incorporating these into the student'r daily academic routine will prove effective.

Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills which will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the course, students should practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as basic numeracy skills and self management skills. In lectures students will develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars students will enhance their analytical skills and will practice listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as team work and problem solving. Essay writing will encourage students to practice their independent research, writing and IT skills, and the examination will test these skills under time constraint conditions.


This module is at CQFW Level 4