Countercurrents in the History of Development between 1850 and today

Countercurrents in the History of Development between 1850 and today

Center for the History of Global Development and the Center for Latin-American Studies at Shanghai University; European University Institute, Florence; and University of Geneva
From - Until
09.07.2020 - 10.07.2020
Iris Borowy

The conventional understanding of the history of development has emphasized how different periods have been characterized by specific dominant themes, e.g. community development in the 1950s or technology-centered approaches in the 1960s. However, development is rarely as coherent and monodirectional as master narratives and historical interpretations suggest. Frequently, real life discourses and practices have been marked by conceptual incoherencies, competing approaches, and apparent dead ends. However, ideas that never got off the ground or appeared to lose currency in some cases re-emerged in different form, in different places, or years later. By the same token, even during times of seeming consensus about the best developmental approach there have always been dissenting voices and alternative practices, evolving in interaction with the mainstream approach or independently from it. While these tensions have on some occasions gone unnoticed, they have sometimes produced unexpected, potentially fruitful new ideas.

Seeking to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the history of development, this conference aims at exploring the multifaceted character of relevant concepts and practices. To do so, we aim at recovering and re-assessing some of the countercurrents drowned out or overwritten by dominant narratives.

We explicitly welcome contributions on all parts of the world, on the understanding that similar dynamics have been at work within as well across all regions.

While other aspects are welcome as well, we particularly encourage proposals on the following themes:

- Marginal(ized) voices;
- Contradictory and competing approaches within movements or organizations;
- Actors neglected by mainstream scholarship;
- Temporal ‘jumps’ in development discourses;
- Neglected strands in South-South, North-South and North-North cooperation

The conference is organized in cooperation with the European University Institute, Florence, and the University of Geneva. It is scheduled to take place on 9/10 July, 2020. All local costs in Shanghai will be covered by the organizers. Some travel assistance will also be available.

Please send abstracts as well as a short CV to Jiang Shixue and Iris Borowy by 10 February, 2020.


Contact (announcement)

Iris Borowy
Shanghai University

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