BSc International Disaster Management & Humanitarian Response

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Disasters and Development

Unit code HCRI20011
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course conceptualises disasters as a symptom of underdevelopment and links key development theories, issues and challenges to the causes and solutions to disasters. The first half of the course focuses on exploring what development is and how to go about ‘doing development’. Students will look at whether or not development should focus on economic growth or inequality, on state-led or market-led development and the role of communities in their own development The second half of the course goes in depth to explore key challenges to development, and illustrates these themes through case studies. These themes include migration, urbanisation, rural development, gender and other marginalised groups.



Available on which programme(s)?

BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response

Available as Free Choice (UG) or to other programmes (PG)?

This is a core unit in semester 2 of level 2 for BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response


Not available to PG

Pre-requisite units

Level 1 BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response courses


Co-requisite units

As above.




  • To understand the changing definitions of development over the course of the twentieth century to the current day;
  • To understand of the different ways in which poverty has been understood and the implications of those differences;
  • To understand of the different roles of development actors, and the debates about their role and impact;
  • An ability to used empirically formed analysis to identify gaps and tensions in the literature and academic debates;
  • An ability to engage in critical discussion and debate in a group, and to formulate ideas based upon key readings.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, a student will be expected to be able:

  • To understand the difference between local and international approaches to building peace
  • To interrogate what the liberal peace means as a dominant peacebuilding paradigm
  • To understand how local populations engage with conflict and peace interventions
  • Understanding the intersection between different causes of conflict
  • To discuss how international peacebuilding can be made more people-centric

Knowledge and understanding

  • Knowledge of specific case studies (for instance Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Northern Ireland)
  • Knowledge of key concepts in the peacebuilding field such as power, agency and resistance
  • An understanding of the interplay between international and local approaches to peace
  • An understanding of what the everyday means and why it is a political concept
  • Develop an understanding of how people cope with and react to conflict in their societies

Intellectual skills

  • Deepen critical appraisal
  • Appreciate differing methodological/conceptual perspectives
  • Link theoretical/conceptual material with case study material

Practical skills

  • Writing academic essays
  • Preparing and delivering presentations
  • Debating and discussing

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Working autonomously
  • Working in teams
  • Respecting different views
  • Giving feedback to others


Employability skills

- Editorial and analytical skills - Evidence-led decision-making - Putting together and maintaining arguments (useful for a marketing/awareness campaign or business case) - Oral and communication skills ¿ especially in terms of comprehending large amounts of information and drawing reasoned conclusions - Meeting deadlines - Working autonomously and in groups

Assessment methods

Presentations 30%
Essay 70%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

  • Informal verbal feedback during lectures and workshops.
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during office hours or by making an appointment)



  • Written feedback on the presentations
  • Written feedback on the essay assignment




Recommended reading

Allen, Tim and Thomas, Alan. 2000. Poverty and Development into the 21st Century Oxford: Oxford University Press

Cowen, M.P. and R.W. Shenton 1996. Doctrines of Development. London: Routledge

Chari, Sharad, and Stuart Corbridge. 2007. The development reader. Routledge

Deaton, Angus. 2013. The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality.

Princeton: Princeton University Press

Desai, Vandana and Potter, Robert eds. 2002. The Companion to Development Studies. London: Arnold Krishna, Anirudh, ed. 2008. Poverty, Participation and Democracy: A Global Perspective.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

UNISDR 2000: Living with Risk, A global review of disaster reduction initiatives.,


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ayham Fattoum Unit coordinator

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