Feminist Political Economy and Global Development

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Development Studies

Module overview

This course explores feminist and gendered approaches to political economy and globalisation. First, the course analyses key insights on gender and globalisation, highlighting feminist contributions to the study of inequality, trade, and poverty. It illustrates feminist analyses of the global assembly line; it reviews debates on labour feminisation, and explores the features of women’ employment across global factories and homes incorporated into global production circuits. Second, the course introduces social reproduction debates. It analyses feminist understandings of capitalist development and dispossession across the world economy; and it illustrates processes of commodification of social reproduction under neoliberalism, also examining debates on global care chains, sex work, and global surrogacy. Third, the course explores the links between accumulation, gender and race, by introducing theories of intersectionality, as well as approaches to racial capitalism and its gendered features. Finally, the course explores debates on militarism and gendered violence, and on population control and reproductive justice. It introduces feminist analyses of nature and the ecology; and it analyses feminist movements and struggles in developing and developed countries.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module


At the end of this module, a student should be able to demonstrate:

  • Critically evaluate the theoretical & empirical basis of varied feminist critiques of political economy
  • Clearly assess the contributions of feminist and race theories to the study of globalisation
  • Develop analytical and critical skills, through ideas discussed in seminars
  • Develop an ability to review distinct feminist authors’ viewpoints and identify their difference
  • Develop an ability to synthesise & critically assess complex theories and arguments
  • Develop knowledge of feminist methods for the study of the social sciences
  • Develop knowledge of key policy debates in feminist political economy
  • Develop strong presentation and writing skills, through written coursework




Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour seminar


Scope and syllabus


Topics include:

  • Gender and Globalisation: Inequality, Trade, Poverty
  • Gender & Labour in the Global Assembly Line
  • Capitalism & Social Reproduction
  • Global Care Chains, Sex Work & Surrogacy
  • Genealogies of Intersectionality
  • Gendering Racial Capitalism
  • Gender & the Environment
  • Population & Reproductive Justice in the Global Economy
  • Militarism, Violence and Gender
  • Feminist Movements

* Please note that the list of topics is indicative and some may change based on expertise and the evolution of the literature and/or key debates.


Method of assessment


100% Coursework. Each student will be required to submit:

  • Book review, 1000 words worth 40% of final mark
  • Essay, 2000 words worth 60% of final mark

Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Suggested reading

  • Kabeer N. (2015) ‘Gender, poverty, and inequality: a brief history of feminist contributions in the field of international development’. Gender & Development, 23:2, 189-205.
  • Mendoza, B. (2016) ‘Coloniality of Gender and Power: From Postcoloniality to Decoloniality,’ in L. Disch and M. Hawkesworth (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory.
  • Vora K. (2019) ‘After the Housewife. Surrogacy labour and human reproduction’. Radical Philosophy 2.04. available at https://www.radicalphilosophy.com/article/after-the-housewife
  • Winders J and Smith B. E. (2018) ‘Social reproduction and capitalist production: A genealogy of dominant imaginaries’, Progress in Human Geography. Online version




Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules