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GEOP3040 – Asia-Pacific Development

2020 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor, lecturer
Fiona Miller
Contact via Email
By appointment only
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
40cp at 2000 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

The Asia-Pacific region is highly differentiated and dynamic and undergoing rapid social, economic, environmental and political transformation. This unit engages with the uneven processes and consequences of development in the Asia-Pacific region and provides an historically-informed and critical perspective on contemporary development challenges. The unit particularly focuses on how concepts of sustainability, equity, ethics and justice can inform our understanding of development in the Asia-Pacific region. Government, private, community-based, not-for-profit and educational organisations across the Asia-Pacific region require graduates with the appropriate knowledge and professional skills to work towards more sustainable, equitable, ethical and just development practices. The unit prepares students to work professionally within international and cross-cultural contexts by gaining critical thinking, communication, research and negotiation skills, and an appreciation of cultural differences and ethical approaches.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Apply an advanced understanding of critical development theory to the study of development in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • ULO2: Evaluate the sustainable, ethical and justice dimensions of development practice in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • ULO3: Identify and discuss how development has uneven consequences for people and places in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • ULO4: Identify, evaluate and synthesise information on development actors, processes and practices in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • ULO5: Communicate clearly using written, oral and visual formats.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Assessment Information

Assignment Submission All students must keep an electronic copy of all assignments (preferably as a PDF) submitted for assessment. All assignments must be submitted via Turnitin. You will be able to access the result of the Turnitin scan and be able to review your assignments in light of this result. Not everything that Turnitin picks up as comparable to other work is plagiarised. Use this process constructively to ensure you are referencing correctly and effectively. Instructions for submitting assignment to Turnitin can be found at: http://mq.edu.au/iLearn/student_info/assignments.htm

Late Penalties and Grading Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. No late submissions will be accepted for timed assessments – e.g. quizzes, online tests.

Each assignment will be marked and commented upon before it is returned to you. Feedback will include a mark, a grade, extensive in-text comments, overall comments and a detailed rubric. 

Further Guidance on Assessments More detailed instructions, rubrics and marking criteria for all assessments, as well as some samples of assessments, will be available on iLearn.

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Lectures Internal Students: There will be one two-hour lecture session every week on Thursdays 2:00pm-4:00pm in 25aWW (25a Wallys Walk) Tutorial Room 209. External Students: This unit is available fully online. Lectures will be recorded using Echo-360 and can be accessed through iLearn.

Each two hour lecture will be recorded using screen capture technology to enable external students to easily follow the slides and visual aids. The lectures are designed to integrate theory with case studies and discussion of development practice. Lectures will also make use of videos.

Tutorials Internal students: One hour tutorials will be held every week on Thursdays 4:00–5:00pm 12SW (Second Way) Tutorial Room 404 and 5:00-6:00pm 12SW Tutorial Room 307. Internal students are required to register for one of these two time-slots by the beginning of semester. The tutorials build upon the theory and case studies presented in the lecture, so it is expected that students attend/listen to the lectures prior to participating in the tutorial. Each tutorial is designed around a set of core readings. Tutorials offer an opportunity, either in class or online, for students to develop professional skills in the area of development practice through role plays, active learning activities and so on.

iLearn It is very important that all students are familiar with the iLearn site for GEOP3040 and check it on a regular basis. Please see the unit convenor immediately if you foresee any problems.

Required and recommended resources There is no required text for GEOP3040, however, the required weekly tutorial readings are available on Leganto via the Library's homepage (http://www.mq.edu.au/on_campus/library/) or via the link off the unit’s iLearn site. There are several books that will be useful as general reference and background reading. 

The following text is recommended reading for gaining an overview of contemporary development issues in Southeast Asia:

  • McGregor, A., Law, L., and Miller, F. (editors) (2018) Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Development, Routledge, Oxon. Full-text available online via MQL.

The list below provides recommended general resources for the course. Macquarie University Library (MQL) call numbers are indicated in italics.

  • Adams, W (2001) Green Development: environment and sustainability in the Third World 2nd ed. HC59.7.A714 2001
  • Connell, J. and Waddell, E. Eds. (2007) Environment, development and change in rural Asia-Pacific: between local and global, London, Routledge. HC460.5.Z9 E544 2007
  • Connors, M, Davison, R. and Dosch, J. (2004) The new global politics of the Asia Pacific, New York and London, Routledge. DS35.2.C68 2004
  • Crump, T. (2007) Asia-Pacific, Hambledon Continuum, London and New York DS35.C78 2007
  • Kothari, A., Salleh, A., Escobar, A., Demaria, F., & Acosta, A. (Eds.). (2019). Pluriverse: A post-development dictionary. Tulika Books and Authorsupfront (available online).
  • Rahnema, M. and Bawtree, V. (2003) The post-development reader, London, Zed Books. GN448.2.P67/1997
  • Sachs, W. (2010) The development dictionary: a guide to knowledge as power London & New Jersey, Zed Books. HC60.D398/1992 2nd ed 2010 available online via MQL
  • Simon, D. (2006) Fifty key thinkers on development, London & New York, Routledge. HD87.55.F53 2006
  • Willis, K. (2011) Theories and Practices of Development, London & New York, Routledge. Full-text available online via MQL

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status





Module I – Introduction – rethinking development in Asia and the Pacific



Introduction to development in the Asia-Pacific


No tutorial - Reading time and online introduction



Post-colonial and post-development perspectives on development

Orientation to post-colonial and post-development theory



Political ecology perspectives on development


Orientation to Political ecology

Module II – Connections with place



Water and rivers – rights and access


Water rights



Land and food – commons vs commodity


Land and food



Community economies


Community economy keywords

Module III – Regional connections



Australia’s relations with the region – aid, trade, oil and coal

Australia and the region









Migration and displacement



Module IV – Connections with change



Anticipating and recovering from disasters


Vulnerability assessment



Adapting to climate change


Negotiating retreat



Transitioning to low carbon futures


Beyond carbon

Module V - Overview and Revision



Unit Overview and Revision

Hopeful geographies of development and unit overview

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

Based on student feedback from previous offerings, the unit has been significantly redesigned for 2020. Key changes include the inclusion of a new introductory section on theory, new lectures on Australia's relations with the region and low-carbon transitions as well as new assessment tasks to encourage student reading and engagement with key concepts.