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Document Type

Article

Abstract

Images are powerful. They shape how we see and understand the world and, in the process, challenge (or reinforce) our assumptions and perspectives. The images we use in the classroom are no exception, whether used passively as visual aids or as a “medium through which active learning is energized.”1 In this article we embrace the “pictorial turn” in university teaching and reflect on the use of images when teaching “development.”2 Development is an area that typically attracts students with an internationalist orientation and who seek to make a positive change in the world. Yet the concept of development is fraught in historical and political economic terms. Its complexity is reflected in academic debates about developmental imageries and imaginaries and, in particular, in representing global poverty. We argue that, by using images carefully and reflectively, we can help students think critically about the development project’s history and imperial dimensions whilst nurturing their desire to either struggle against global injustices or improve life and livelihood in particular places. We write from the standpoint of teachers in postgraduate education in both law and cognate disciplines. Our aim is to equip students with the kinds of contextual understandings and critical intellectual tools which help them to become engaged agents of change.

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