SOCY 3012 Women and Development

Instructor Contact:

Tracy Fehr, Sociology PhD Student, Master’s International Studies


About the Course:

This course provides a Sociological perspective on Gender and Development primarily in the Global South. It is based on a broad conceptualization of development including economic, social, cultural, and political, and an understanding that development encapsulates a variety of practices, ideologies, and projects rooted within a discourse and power system. Throughout the semester, we will examine a variety of topics, including feminist theories of development; gender and global inequalities; development strategies of gender equality and equity; critiques of development; and transnational women’s activism and feminism(s). Our readings will engage with key questions such as how contemporary developmental processes impact gender relations, how existing global and local gender norms and inequalities shape developmental trajectories, and how people act individually and collectively to challenge these possibilities.


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  1. Define and deconstruct the concept of development and how it relates to gender;
  2. Understand the different development approaches to gender equality and equity;
  3. Apply various theoretical perspectives to critically examine development practices in relation to gender and power;
  4. Engage with the central theoretical debate on universalism versus cultural relativism;
  5. Evaluate how social forces, institutions, and power dynamics are at play in constructing the concept and discourse of “development” and what it means to be “developed”;
  6. Critically analyze how development trajectories and shifting transnational gender norms impact global and local gender relations.

Required Texts:

Jaquette, Jane and Gale Summerfield. (2006). Women and Gender Equity in Development Theory and Practice: Institutions, Resources, and Mobilization. Durham; London: Duke University Press.  

Karim, L. (2011). Microfinance and Its Discontents: Women in Debt in Bangladesh. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press.

Saunders, Kriemild. (2002). Feminist Post-Development Thought: Rethinking Modernity, Post-Colonialism and Representation. New York: Zed Books.

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado