Information Technology and Global Development



Instructor: Joyojeet Pal




Students working in technology are increasingly likely to find themselves in a work environment involving new cultures and geographies where an appreciation of contemporary and historical issues in technology and society can be very valuable.   This is especially true for the global south, which is rapidly seen through not just an emerging market for goods and services designed for primary markets in the West, but as an active partner, producer, and participant in the international technology economy and information society. More importantly, beyond markets, our political and social economies are increasingly tied in with the ways technology is used, adapted, and developed elsewhere in the world.


This course will introduce students to issues around the use of technology in its global context, with an overview   of debates in international development, contemporary scholarly research works, and case studies of real world technology us on issues such as growth, infrastructure, culture, environment, citizenship, and healthcare. This course is largely readings and discussion-based, and the deliverables in the class are mostly class papers.





Week 1: Development and Technology


Session 1: Class Intro

  • -Rostow, W.W. “Marx was a city boy or, why Communism may fail” Harper’s Magazine, Feb 1955, Pg 25-30
  • Andre Gunder-Frank, “The Development of Underdevelopment,” in J. Timmons Roberts and Amy Bellone Hite, eds. The Globalization and Development Reader: Perspectives on Development and Global Change pp 76-
  • -Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time (Penguin Books: New York, 2006), pp 226-287.
  • -Barker, T. (2021) The End of Development. Dissent. Volume 68, Number 2, Spring 2021, pp. 22-32



Session 2: Thinking about Technology

  • -Gunergun, F. (2021) Timekeepers and Sufi Mystics: Technical Knowledge Bearers of the Ottoman Empire. Technology and Culture, Volume 62, Number 2, pp. 348-372
  • -Burrell, J., Fourcade, M. (2021) The Society of Algorithms. Annual Review of Sociolology 47:23.1–23.25
  • -LaFrance, A. (2020) Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine. The Atlantic
  • -Harvey, David (2003) “The Fetish of Technology: Causes and Consequences,”Macalester International: Vol. 13, Article 7.


Week 2: Development and Dependence


Session 1: Defining Development

  • -Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (Anchor Books: New York, 1999), Introduction
  • -Samuel Huntington, “The Change to Change: Modernization, Development, and Politics (1971) and Political Order in Changing Societies (1986),” J. Timmons Roberts and Amy Bellone Hite, eds. The Globalization and Development Reader: Perspectives on Development and Global Change (Blackwell: London, 2007), pp 56-67.
  • -Collier, P. “The Bottom Billion: Introduction” “Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it”
  • -Pon, B. (2016) Winners & Losers in the Global App Economy. Caribou Digital Publishing.


Session 2: Resources and Curses

  • -Hochschild, and Bleasdale, M. “Blood and Treasure: Why one of the world’s richest countries is also one of its poorest” Mother Jones March/April 2010 Pg 53-65
  • -Wright, L. “Lithium Dreams” New Yorker, Mar 22, 2010, 86(5) Pg 48
  • (browse the site and provide an overview of your key findings)
  • -Escobar, A. “Networks” in Territories of Difference: place, movements, life, redes (Duke University Press: Durham 2008), pp 156-199 and 254-298.


Week 3: Aid


Session 1: Planning for the Poor

  • -Bateman, M., Chang, H. (2012) Microfinance and the Illusion of Development: From Hubris to Nemesis in Thirty Years. World Economic Review Vol 1: 13-36.
  • -Maclean, M., Harvey, C., Yang, R., Mueller, F. (2021) Elite philanthropy in the United States and United Kingdom in the new age of inequalities. International Journal of Management Reviews. 2021;1–23.
  • -Elliot, E. Ngugi, B., Malgwi, C. (2018) Mitigating microfinance marketing channels inefficiencies with customerization of mobile technology. International Marketing Review
  • Fejerskov, A. (2017) The New Technopolitics of Development and the Global South as a Laboratory of Technological Experimentation. Science, Technology, & Human Values


Session 2: Aid, Technology, and Responsibility

  • Mosley, P., Harrigan, J. and Toye, J. “The World Bank’s Move to Policy-Based Lending,” in Aid and Power: The World Bank and Policy-Based Lending Vol. 1 (Routledge 1991), pp 27-61.
  • -Kaufman, F. “Let them eat cash: Can Bill Gates turn hunger into profit?” Harpers Magazine May/Jun 2009, Pg 51
  • -Walzer, M. “On Humanitarianism: Is helping others charity, or duty, or both?” Foreign Affairs, July/Aug 90(4) Pg 69-80
  • -Blumenstock, J. (2018) Don’t forget people in the use of big data for development. Nature. 561, 170-172



Week 4: Globalization


Session 1: Borders

  • -Gibson, J., McKenzie, D. (2011) “Eight questions about brain drain” Journal of economic perspectives, Vol 25, No.3, Summer 2011, pp 107-28
  • -Tania Murray Li, The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics (Duke University Press: Durham 2007) (intro)
  • -Finnegan, “The countertraffickers” New Yorker, May 5, 2008 84(12) Pg 44
  • -Wills, A., Barrie, G., Kendall, J. (2019) Conversational interfaces and the long tail of languages in developing countries. Caribou Digital and DFS Lab.


Session 2: War

  • -Andersen, “How multilateral development assistance triggered the conflict in Rwanda” Third World Quarterly, 21(3) Pg.441
  • -Plaw, A. Plascencia, D., Gurgel, B. (2020) The process of technologization of the drug war in Mexico. Politics of Technology in Latin America Vol 1. Routledge.
  • -Jaffe, G. (2020) The Cursed Platoon. The Washington Post. 05 July 2020
  • -McClelland, M. and Falise, T. “For us surrender is out of the question” Mother Jones, Mar/Apr 2010 Pg 36-50


Week 5: Crises


Session 1: Migration, Refugees, and the Global Order

  • -Noori, S. (2020): Navigating the Aegean Sea: smartphones, transnational activism and viapolitical in(ter)ventions in contested maritime borderzones, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2020.1796265
  • -Walker, M., Boamah, E. (2020) The digital life of the #migrantcaravan: Contextualizing Twitter as a spatial technology. Big Data & Society. July–December: 1–18
  • -Thompson, G. (2020) Inside the Chaos of an Immigration Court. Longreads
  • -Funk, M. (2019) The Watchers, New York Times Magazine


Session 2: Humanitarian Crises

  • -Taub, Lake Chad, The World’s Most Complex Humanitarian Disaster
  • -Campana, P. (2020) Human Smuggling: Structure and Mechanisms. University of Chicago
  • -Harr, “Lives of saints” New Yorker, Jan 5, 2009, 84(43) Pg 48
  • -Segers, Iris (2021) New neighbours or a security threat? The role of local stories in anti-asylum seeker centre mobilization in the Netherlands. the International Communication Gazette 2021, Vol. 83(1) 48–62


Week 6: The Gaze of Development


Session 1: Development of Others

  • -Ali, “Books vs bombs? Humanitarian development and the narrative of terror in Northern Pakistan” Third World Quarterly 31(4) Pg 541-559
  • -Reason Twosome: Dalmia, “Bollywood vs Jihad” and Russell, T, “Arab Spring 3.0: What’s more revolutionary in the Middle East: Facebook or Porn?, Reason; Aug/Sep 2011 43(4) Pg. 58, May 2012; 44, pg. 59
  • -Nikjoo, A., Markwell, K., Nikbin, M., Hernandez-Lara, A. (2021) The flag-bearers of change in a patriarchal Muslim society: Narratives of Iranian solo female travelers on Instagram. Tourism Management Perspectives 38 (2021) 100817
  • -Wearing, S., Mostafanezhad, M., Nguyen, N., Nguyen, T., McDonald, M. (2018) ‘Poor children on Tinder’ and their Barbie Saviours: towards a feminist political economy of volunteer tourism, Leisure Studies, 37:5, 500-514

Session 2: Making and Unmaking

  • -Turner, F. (2018) Millenarian Tinkering: The Puritan Roots of the Maker Movement Technology and Culture, Volume 59, Number 4 Supplement, pp. S160-S182
  • -Lindtner, S. (2018) Inventing Shenzen: How the copy became the prototye, or: how China out-wested the west and saved modernity
  • -Gourevitch, “Climbers” New Yorker, Jul 11, 2011 87(20) Pg. 66
  • -Gesselman A, Druet A, Vitzthum V (2020) Mobile sex-tech apps: How use differs across global areas of high and low gender equality. PLoS ONE 15(9)


Week 7: ICTD


Session 1: The roots of 2000s ICTD

  • -Toyama et al “New Democracy Forum: Can Technology End Poverty” Boston Review, Nov/Dec 2010, Pg 12-29
  • -Prahalad, C., Hammond, A. (2002) Serving the World’s Poor, Profitably. Harvard Business Review
  • Warschauer, M., and Ames, M. “Can One Laptop per Child save the world’s poor?.” Journal of international affairs (2010): 33-51.
  • -Dell, N., Vaidyanathan, V., Medhi, I, Cutrell, E., Thies, W. (2012) “Yours is better!” participant response bias in HCI.” Proceedings of the sigchi conference on human factors in computing systems. 2012.


Session 2: The Aspirational State

  • -Fan, J. (2018) How e-Commerce is transforming rural China. New Yorker Vol 94, Issue 23
  • -Heller, N. (2017) The Digital Republic. The New Yorker. Vol. 93, Issue 41
  • Adunbi, O. (2017) The Facebook President: Oil, Citizenship, and the Social Mediation of Politics in Nigeria. PoLAR: 40:2 226-244
  • Srinivasan, J., Bailur, S., Schoemaker, E., Seshagiri, S. (2018) The poverty of privacy: Understanding privacy trade-offs from identity infrastructure users in India. International Journal of Communication 12, 20



Week 8: Technology and The Environment


Session 1: Conservation

  • -Lustgarten, A. (2020) Where will everyone go. Propublica and the New York Times Magazine
  • -Goldberg, (2010) “The Hunted” New Yorker, Apr 5 2010, 86(7), Pg. 43
  • -Butt, B. (2015) Herding by Mobile Phone: Technology, Social Networks and the “Transformation” of Pastoral Herding in East Africa. Hum Ecol 43, 1–14
  • -Zeigler, M. et al (2020) Can Phones Build Relationships? A Case Study of a Kenyan Wildlife Conservancy’s Community Development. ACM Compass 2020.



Week9:Lived Spaces


Session 1: Infrastructure

  • -Nambi, A., Mehta, I., Ghosh, A., Lingam, V., Padmanabhan, V. (2019) ALT: towards automating driver license testing using smartphones
  • -Johnson, M., Jang, E., O’Rourke, F., Ye, R., Heimerl, K. (2021) Network Capacity as Common Pool Resource: Community-Based Congestion Management in a Community, Network. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 5, CSCW1, Article 61
  • -Mckibben, W. (2017) Power Brokers. New Yorker, Vol. 93, Issue 18
  • -Khlaid, Z., Salha, S., Affouneh, S., Rashed, H., ElKimishy, L. (2020) The Covid-19 epidemic: teachers’ responses to school closure in developing countries. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. Volume 30, Issue 1 Pages 95-109


Session 2: Tourism

  • -Griffin, T., Muldoon, M. (2020): Exploring virtual reality experiences of slum tourism,” Tourism Geographies
  • -Nguyen, D., d’Hauteserre, A., Serrao-Neumann, S. (2021) Intrinsic barriers to and opportunities for community empowerment in community-based tourism development in Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, DOI:10.1080/09669582.2021.1884689
  • -Villarreal, G. (2020) Indigeneity, Race, and the Media from the Perspective of the 2019 Political Crisis In Bolivia, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 29:1, 151-174.
  • -Huysamen, M., (2020) Barnett, J., Fraser, D. Slums of hope: Sanitising silences within township tour reviews. Geoforum.


Week 10: Enterprise


Session 1: Digital entrepreneurship

  • -Bidwell, S. Murray, W., Overton, J. (2018) Ethical agro‐food networks in global peripheries: The rise and recommodification of fair trade and organics, Geography Compass
  • Yembra, N., Kisadha, P., Aboyeji, I., Simmons, H., Grin, S., Kefela, L., Barry, D., Ly, A., Fu, A., Muscarella, C., Gabriele, M. (2021) Tech in Africa: An introduction to the continent’s ecosystem. The Generalist. June 2021.
  • Wentrup, R., Nakamura, H., Strom, P. (2020) Closing the Digital Entrepreneurship Gap the Case of Returnee Entrepreneurs in Morocco. Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies 6(1) 140–162
  • Oreglia, E., Srinivasan, J. (2020) Human and non-human intermediation in rural agricultural markets. Journal of Cultural Economy 13 (4), 353-367


Session 2: Apps and the World

-Jack, M. (2020) The socio-spatial installed base: Ride-hailing applications, parking associations, and precarity in tuk tuk driving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, The Information Society, 36:5, 252-265.

  • -Oyedemi, T. (2019) Global Digital Capitalism: Mark Zuckerberg in Lagos and the Political Economy of Facebook in Africa. International Journal of Communication 13(2019), Feature 2045–2061
  • -Razaq, L., Ahmad, T., Ibtasam, S., Ramzan U., Mare, S. (2021) We Even Borrowed Money From Our Neighbor. CSCW1, Article 41
  • Fejerskov, A. (2017) The New Technopolitics of Development and the Global South as a Laboratory of Technological Experimentation. Science, Technology, & Human Values


Week 11: Gender and Sexuality


Session 1

  • -Sultana, S. Guimbretière, F., Sengers, P., Dell, N. (2018) Design Within a Patriarchal Society: Opportunities and Challenges in Designing for Rural Women in Bangladesh. CHI 2018, April 21–26, 2018
  • -Jack, M., Avle. S. (2021) “A Feminist Geopolitics of Technology.” Global Perspectives 2 (1).
  • -Vijayakumar, G. (2021) Making it Count, Chapter 6 from At Risk: Indian Sexual Politics and the Global AIDS Crisis
  • -Raval, N., Pal, J. (2019) Making a “Pro”: ‘Professionalism’ after Platforms in Beauty-work. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 3, CSCW, Article 175


Session 2

  • -Thompson, R., Figueroa, S. (2020) #MeToo and LGBTQ+ Salvadorans: social and leadership challenges. Gender in Management: An International Journal Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 373-389
  • Sambasivan, N., Batool, A. Ahmed, N., Matthews, T., Thomas, K., Gaytan-Lugo, L, Nemer, D., Busztein, E., Churchill, E., Consolvo, S. (2019) “They Don’t Leave Us Alone Anywhere We Go”: Gender and Digital Abuse in South Asia. CHI 2019, May 4–9, 2019, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • -Sultana S., Ahmed, S. (2019) Witchcraft‰ and HCI: Morality, Modernity, and Postcolonial Computing in Rural Bangladesh. In Proceedings of CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings, Glasgow, Scotland
  • -Ibtasam, S. et al (2019) “My cousin bought the phone for me. I never go to mobile shops.”: The Role of Family in Women’s Technological Inclusion in Islamic Culture. CSCW 2019


Week 12: Information Environments


Session 1: Online Engagement

  • -Alba, D. (2018) How Duterte Used Facebook To Fuel The Philippine Drug War
  • -Newton, C. “Bodies in Seats” The Verge
  • -Ruiz-Alba, N. & Mancinas-Chávez, R. (2020). The communications strategy via Twitter of Nayib Bukele: the millennial president of El Salvador. Communication & Society, 33(2), 259-275.
  • -Caesar, E. Rocket Men: How North Korean hackers fund their country’s weapons program through cybercrime.(2021) New Yorker. Vol. 97, Issue 8


Session 2: Surveillance and Resistance

  • -Khatchadourian, R. (2021) Ghost Walls. The New Yorker Vol. 97, Issue 8
  • -Biddle, S. (2021) Facebook’s secret rules about the word “Zionist” impede criticism of Israel
  • -Nix, J., M. R. Smith, M. Petrocelli, J. Rojek, and V. M. Manjarrez. 2016. “The Use of Social Media by Alleged Members of Mexican Cartels and Affiliated Drug Trafficking Organizations.” Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 13 (3): 395–418.
  • -Hamza Bailla & Mohammed Yachoulti (2020): Citizen journalism in Morocco: the case of fact-checkers, The Journal of North African Studies,



Week 13: Healthcare


Session 1: Diagnosis and Observation

  • -Specter, “A deadly misdiagnosis” New Yorker, Nov 15, 2010, 86(36) Pg. 48
  • -Ismail, A., Kumar, N. (2021) AI in Global Health: The View from the Front Lines, Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (
  • -Bhat, K., Kumar, N. (2020) Sociocultural Dimensions of Tracking Health and Taking Care. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 4, CSCW2, Article 129
  • -Park, C., Mariakakis, A., Yang, J., Lassala, D., Djiguiba, Y., Keita, Y., Diarra, H., Wasunna, B., Fall, F., Gaye, M., Ndiaye, B., Johnson, A., Holeman, I., Patel, S. (2020) Supporting Smartphone-Based Image Capture of Rapid Diagnostic Tests in Low-Resource Settings. In Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD ’20)


Session 2: Intervention

  • -Mustafa, M., Batool, A., Fatima, B., Nawaz, F., Toyama, K., Rizvi, A. (2020) Patriarchy, Maternal Health and Spiritual Healing: Designing Maternal Health Interventions in Pakistan
  • -Zhang, S. (2020) Prenatal Testing and the Future of Down Syndrome. The Atlantic.
  • -Cross, A. et al (2019) 99DOTS: a low-cost approach to monitoring and improving medication adherence. ICTD 2019
  • Pendse, S. et al (2019) Mental health in the global south: challenges and opportunities in HCI for development. COMPASS2019