Semester Offering: August

This Course explores the different influential theoretical approaches within the field of Development Communication, paying attention to origin, application and strengths and weaknesses of various strategies & development campaigns in different parts of the world and current theoretical debates. Using an interdisciplinary lens and theories from cultural studies, feminist approaches, communication for social change, media studies and development studies, we will explore different campaign artifacts, practices  to critically analyze gendered (masculine and feminine) representations within the development media discourse. The purpose is to gain insights into how “development communication” both influence and are influenced by gender/ class/ race/ ethnicity/ nationality and other social categories and impact norms, cultural formations and development agendas. The “media” in all its myriad forms – mass media, folk media, social media – plays an important role in constructing gendered norms, communication patterns and are ultimately tied to notions of the self, nation, aspirations and social change. Throughout the semester we will be considering how gender is linked to notions of power, identity visibility, voice, participation and other important elements of identity formation and how these are reflected in different kinds of development communication campaigns. Concurrently we will also be examining how having a gendered lens helps address or orient issues in media and development praxis. 

We will be regularly looking at campaign examples from around the world, in the context of the week’s readings and in-class exercises. Students are encouraged to research and share media campaign examples to help facilitate these classroom discussions and add to the diversity and richness of multiple contexts.


  • Identify & critically analyze the main theoretical approaches and practical applications within the field of Development Communication
  • Articulate how a gender based approach is useful in Development Communication campaigns
  • Critically analyze communication campaigns
  • Understand the evolving role of information and communication technologies in the field of development and specifically their use in health communication campaigns and participatory social movements.




I.       Approaches to Development Communication
1.    Historical evolution of the field of Development Communication
2.    Diffusion of Innovation
3.    Social Marketing & Health Promotion
4.    Participatory Approaches and Media Advocacy
5.    Communication for Development (C4D)
II.      Gender and Development Communication
1.    Gender Power and Discourse
2.    Bodies of “Difference”
3.    Masculinity and media
III.     Popular Media, Participatory Communication & Social Change
1.    Entertainment Education
2.    Storytelling for social change
3.    Participatory Communication - frameworks and challenges
IV.     ICT for Development: (ICT4D)
1.    Approaches to ICT for development
2.    mHealth
3.    Transmedia and Transformative Politics




Silvio Waisbord “Family Tree of Theories, Methodologies and Strategies in Development Communication”

Collection of Readings made available by the instructor


  1. Cornwall, A., Harrison, E., Whitehead, A. (Ed.). (2007). Feminisms in development: Contradictions, contestations & challenges. London: Zed books
  2. Costanza-Chock, S. (2014). Out of the shadows, into the streets! Transmedia organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  3. Escobar, A. (1994). Encountering Development: The making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton University Press
  4. Wilkins, K. G., Tufte T. & Obregon R. (Ed). (2014). The Handbook of Development Communication and Social Change. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, UK.
  5. Kabeer, N. (1994). Reversed realities: Gender hierarchies in development thought. New York, NY: Verso
  6. Schech, S., & haggis, J. (2000). Culture and development: A critical introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing
  7. Servaes (Ed.). (2008). Communication for development and social Change. SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd; 2nd edition
  8. Singhal, A., Cody, M. J., Rogers, E. M., & Sabido, M. (2004). Entertainment-education and social change: History, research, and practice (Introduction). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.


Communication Theory

Journal of Communication

Gender & Society

Development and Change


Two lectures per week, plus one-hour student-led activity and discussion period. Students are expected to spend a minimum of 6 hours on self-study per week, including required readings.


Lectures (including guest presentations from field experts) and student-led presentations and discussions. 

The course will consist of lectures, class discussions, individual and group assignments and it is expected that learning will take place at multiple levels through assigned readings, class discussions, written assignments, empirical analysis as well as linkages that we draw from these to our own life experiences and realities and share with the class community.   


         30% Individual Assignment- Theoretical Lit Review. [Due Mid-Semester. Graded on: Quality of research and critical analysis, coherence, evidence used, citations and references, writing skills & formatting]

         30% Final Exam       - Closed book [During Finals Week; Entire course]

         25% Group/Class Project [Due: last two weeks of the Semester. Graded on: Quality of presentation and coherence, reference and evidence used, creativity & presentation skills; group participation and fostering of discussion]

·         10% Reading Responses [Due – throughout the semester. Choose any 8 articles from any 8 class week – one page double spaced response critically discussing some aspect of the reading (5 by mid-term). Graded on: Quality of critical interpretation, coherence and writing skill]

         5% Class Engagement & Participation [Evaluated across the semester. Graded on involvement in class, engagement with class reading materials and quality of overall participation and contribution to learning environment]

In the exam an ‘A’ would be awarded if student can contextualize the knowledge learned in class by presenting case studies from articles or class discussions and including theoretical perspectives from required readings in their analysis. A ‘B’ would be awarded if as student shows an overall understanding of all topics; a ‘C’ would be awarded if a student meets below average expectations in terms of analysis and understanding, and a ‘D’ would be awarded if a student does not meet basic expectations in analyzing or understanding the topics presented in the course.  

All assignments need to be completed for a passing grade in the class.