Madagascar: Urbanization and Rural Development


Three recent semesters of college-level French or equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in French, as assessed by SIT.

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The Urbanization and Rural Development seminar, conducted entirely in academic French, focuses on a constellation of issues linking urban and rural communities. These issues include rural migration, urbanization and its relationship to rural development, ethnic and cultural differences, history, politics, poverty, public health, ecological impacts in urban and rural areas, and the challenges of adequate urban infrastructure. University professors and experts in relevant fields teach the course. As part of the seminar, the program visits historical and cultural sites, important agricultural and shipping centers, national parks, development projects, and rural villages.

The Research Methods and Ethics course, conducted in English, focuses on research techniques and cross-cultural adjustment skills and is intended to prepare students for the Independent Study Project. Course readings and classroom sessions are supplemented by a short, independent field research project undertaken in a rural village. 

The French language course builds students' capacity through its focus on conversational French and its examination of francophone cultural and literary production in Madagascar as it relates to the program theme. Coursework in Malagasy provides students with the foundational and essential tools required for daily communication.

The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Urbanization and Rural Development seminar  - syllabus (PDF)
(AFRS 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course conducted primarily in French with required readings in English and French. The course takes a holistic approach to understanding the roles of geography, migration, history, ethnicity, language, religion, politics, development, and economics in shaping urban and rural Malagasy communities and in contributing to the increasing rural exodus evident in Madagascar. Lecturers include faculty from local universities, such as the University of Antananarivo, as well as various other program partners.

French in the Malagasy Context - syllabus (PDF)
(FREN 2000–2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
French in the Malagasy Context - syllabus (PDF)
(FREN 3000–3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This language course focuses on the rich Malagasy cultural and literary production in French. By studying postcolonial texts, students learn about the postcolonial politics of Malagachization, bilingualism, and the role of French language in the integration of Malagasy society into the international francophone community. In support of these objectives, course content provides additional focus on the fundamentals of spoken and written French to increase student capacity. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in the appropriate level, with additional language practice in homestays and on field visits.

Intensive Language Study: Malagasy - syllabus (PDF)
(MALA 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on beginning speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field-based instruction. Formal instruction is augmented by language practice with host families during homestays.

Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Conducted primarily in English, this is a course in the concepts of learning across cultures and from field experience, including an introduction to the Independent Study Project. The focus includes cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; topic selection and refinement; appropriate methodologies; field study ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy; identifying contacts and resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; and maintaining a field journal.

Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in any region of Madagascar based on program approval. Sample topic areas: role of fady (taboo) in Malagasy life; urban-rural inequalities; role of ombiasy (traditional healers); push factors in rural out-migration; family planning on the village level; roles of women in society; uses of medicinal plants; ethnic dimensions of rural to urban migration; traditional weaving techniques; prenatal healthcare in rural areas; malaria prevention and treatment; language teaching in primary and secondary education; local radio as a means of rural communication; HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Antananarivo

Language Study: French,  Malagasy

Prerequisites: 3 semesters French


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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