11.005
Introduction to International Development

This course introduces undergraduates to the basic theory, institutional architecture, and practice of international development. We take an applied, interdisciplinary approach to some of the “big questions” in our field: What does development mean? Why are some countries persistently poorer than others? How have different stakeholders sought to address the challenges of development in the past, and how are they approaching these challenges now? What are the avenues through which students can develop their own careers in the development field? This course will unpack these questions by providing an overview of existing knowledge and best practices in the field. The goal of this class is to go beyond traditional dichotomies -- such as government vs. markets, or structure vs. agency -- and narrow definitions of progress, wellbeing, and culture. Instead, we will invite students to develop a more nuanced understanding of international development by offering: i) an innovative set of tools, which will support the development of their critical thinking, reading, writing, and planning skills; ii) content flexibility, allowing students and the instructor to co-develop some of the class topics and activities according to their interest.