Development in Historical Perspective

HISTORY 103U.002

Fall 2015
Instructor (text): 
Nils Gilman
3205 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
W 2-4
In 1961, in his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy declared that the coming decade would be “The Decade of Development,” signaling a commitment to augment US foreign aid budgets and to produce a comprehensive, integrated approach to promoting development in what was then widely called the underdeveloped or “Third” World. But what was development? Was it primarily about economic growth? About social and institutional change? About individual psychological disposition? More than half a century later, historians are increasingly cognizant of the diverse ways that development has been conceived and applied, tracing the origins of development policy and practice back to the 19th century and forward to the present day. This course will be provide a global survey of “the development of development” as ideology, policy, and practice, with a view to critically assessing the practice and significance of development today. The first part of the course is loosely chronological, running from origins of development thought in the Enlightenment down to our present neoliberal order; the approach will be to conduct close readings of primary texts that continue to be touchpoints for contemporary debates, but placing them in their historical moment rather than treating them as timeless (social scientific) arguments. The second part of the course adopts a thematic approach, introducing and interrogating a series of concepts that have become increasingly central to contemporary development theory and practice, including globalization, sustainability, governance, and security.
Nils Gilman is currently serving as the Associate Chancellor of Berkeley and Chief of Staff to Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks. Nils holds a BA (1993), MA (1995) and PhD (2000) in history from UC Berkeley. He is the author of Mandarins of the Future: Modernization theory in Cold War America, and the co-editor of Deviant Globalization: Black Market Economy in the 21st Century as well as Humanity: An Int'l Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development. Before returning to Berkeley two years ago, he spent 13 years in industry, first in enterprise software companies like, and then as a research director at Monitor Group, where he served clients focused on security and economic development.