This course is an introduction to international development history and theory, through the lens of population. “Overpopulation” has been seen as an impediment to nations’ economic and social development and a global environmental and security crisis requiring an emergency response on an international scale. This course will challenge this account of population and explore notions of modernity, environmental sustainability, gender, race and place in international development theory.
We will look at the history of population control and trace the international shift toward sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). We will also look at current issues in SRHR, the so-called “rebirth of family planning,” the large youth population in the global South, and on-going population control abuses, including forced sterilization and mass-dissemination of long-acting contraception. Finally, we will investigate how the population “problem” has served as a model for subsequent international development issues, like AIDS and climate change.