Africa: Environment, Development, People

Subject DEVT30001 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

One 2-hour lecture (including multimedia) and one 1-hour tutorial per week

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Usually 50 points of first and/or second year geography/anthropology/development studies or approval of the subject coordinator.


Recommended Background Knowledge: N/A
Non Allowed Subjects: Students who have completed 121-494 Africa: Environment, Development, People may not enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Simon Batterbury



Phone: 8344 9319

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to the physical environment, history, and development challenges facing contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. Students will examine in detail intellectual and ethical debates surrounding the strategies undertaken by postcolonial African states and the overseas development "industry" to tackle poverty, environmental change, and the colonial legacy. Students will consider how Africa's problems are portrayed and understood by the rest of the world. Topics may include: the physical environment and competing understandings of environmental change; the history and governance of the continent; regional case studies (West Africa); agrarian transformations and rural livelihoods; development projects and rise of the NGO; military conflict and mineral wealth; hunger, famine, and the controversies of the relief industry; and urban geographies.

Objectives: N/A

Submission totalling 4000 words comprising of book reviews or reading assignments of 1000 words 20% (due mid-semester), an open essay of 2000 words 50% (due end of semester), a class test 25% (at the end of semester) and tutorial attendance 5%.

Prescribed Texts: N/A
Recommended Texts: Stock R. 2004. Africa south of the Sahara: a geographical interpretation. Guilford Press.
Moseley, W.G. (ed.) 2009. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on African Issues. McGraw-Hill.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Understand contemporary challenges facing Africans in their historical, political, and environmental context.

  • be able to conduct independent research on African topics, using a variety of media.

  • be able to exercise critical judgement in written assignments and tutorial discussion.


Students who have completed 121-494 Africa: Environment, Development, People may not enrol in this subject.

Students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 degree and new degrees), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc) may receive science credit on the completion of this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology and Development
Anthropology and Development
Development Studies
Development Studies
Development Studies
Development Studies Major
Environmental Geographies, Politics and Cultures
Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies Major
Geography Major

Download PDF version.