I teach a number of (short) courses or units in the Master Programmes in Development Studies at the University of Antwerp or partner institutes in the Global South.
In a first unit, called "Research in a development context", I focus on the foundations of research and knowledge construction in a development context/for development. The learning outcomes are that students become able to understand and explain the different roles of (applied) research in development, linking them to own experience in development interventions. Students are able to critically reflect upon different epistemological stances and research paradigms such as (post-)positivism, critical theory or constructivism. Students are also able to engage with notions such as positionality, reflexivity as well as ethics and are able to compare and argument for/against different sorts of research methods (quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods).
A related unit, called "People as Informants", is hands-on and focuses on the collection of qualitative data during fieldwork. Students are able to understand the nature and use of qualitative research methods, primarily interviews (including focus group discussions and life history interviewing). They are able to take into account the practicilaties and challenges of designing qualitative interview guides and organizing interviews during (qualitative) fieldwork.
I teach or thought a variation on the above units during short courses at the Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB), DRCongo or Mbarara University of Science & Technology (MUST), Uganda as well as in the PhD program in Development Studies at the Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG), Lisbon, Portugal.
Theories of Development
I teach a unit called 'Culture, Agency and Development' in the course 'Theories of Development' that presents – mainly - an anthropological perspective examining and scrutinizing the means and ends of development. After a historical overview of the relationship of anthropology and development, we progressively zoom on interrelated themes, namely agency (and structure), power and culture-indigenous knowledge. In conclusion we pay attention to what lies beyond Big-D development: decolonial and post-development perspectives or (other) alternatives to “development”.
State, Governmentality & Development
The state is the central analytical category in this unit that is part of the course 'Governance for Development'. The state is a prime mover of (under)development. The unit first focuses on the nature of the state: what is a state? The state’s attributes (such as government, territory, law, nation, power, sovereignty, …) as well as its actions (such as legitimation, providing security, accumulation …) are examined. Processes of state formation and the evolving role of states in the postcolony form the background against which the unit examines situations of state under-reach (as in fragile states or underdevelopment), state reach (as in developmental states) or state overreach (as in state crime).
A focus on the state is also a focus on different sorts of (political) violence ranging from anarchic violence or rebellion over symbolic or structural violence to categorical violence and genocide.
Overall, the objective is to develop an understanding of states at work for (under-)development. After familiarizing ourselves with historical process of state formation and the attributes and imperatives of the states, we will focus on three major themes: developmental states, states at work for development (governmentality) and the nation-state.
Peace and post-conflict reconstruction: micro-dynamics and local dimensions
This unit that is part of the course entitled 'From Violent Conflict to Peace and State Reconstruction' focuses on the localized and/or interpersonal dynamics and processes of conflict resolution, peace-making and reconciliation. Against the theoretical background of the ‘liberal peace-building”-paradigm we situate, explore, examine and analyse alternative approaches that are rooted in and shaped by cultural contexts, custom and the dynamics of everyday life. In doing so, we equally assess so-called hybrid forms and situations when and where liberal and other, global and local meet and interact. A thematic approach is combined with and illustrated through case-studies.
Political & Social Anthropology-Development Studies-Mixed Methods-Life Stories-Africa's Great Lakes-Rwanda-Burundi-Uganda-DRCongo-Tanzania