Rethinking Development Pedagogy and Practice: New Visions for Global Development

@JCU Rethinking Development Pedagogy and Practice: New Visions for Global Development

Rethinking Development Pedagogy and Practice: New Visions for Global Development

DATE: Friday June 23 – Sunday June 25

VENUE: The Cairns Institute, James Cook University


More than 60 years of multifaceted efforts to end poverty have not seen the problem of development go away. On the contrary, in an era of enhanced global connectivity, enduring and deepening socio-economic inequality, anthropogenic climate change, and widening democratic deficit, contemporary development challenges have become increasingly complex and difficult to address. Economic growth and technological advances, as well as improvements in human development and wellbeing, have frequently been accompanied by new forms of marginalisation and disadvantage that are constituted by the very processes that have brought prosperity. Furthermore, such development-induced poverty appears set to continue despite the emergence of a new ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ framework and the recent contestation of existing global development norms and frameworks that has occurred through the proliferation of ‘new’ aid transfers and ‘south-south’ cooperation by non-Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors.

In recognising the violence, expropriation, exclusion and environmental degradation that development has produced, this workshop seeks to conceptualise new pathways for rethinking development pedagogy and practice. More specifically, it seeks to offer new directions for responding to four interrelated crises which are positioned here as central challenges to human and environmental wellbeing. First, is the ‘human crisis’ of the routine dispossession, expulsion and abjection of the poor through political-economic processes of neoliberal capitalism. Second is the global ‘environmental crisis’ of anthropogenic climate change. Third is the emergent ‘political crisis’ of democratic deficit and rising militaristic nationalism within both the Global North and Global South. Finally, and perhaps most contentiously, is what may be provocatively termed a ‘conceptual crisis’ of uncertainty around how to address the previous three dilemmas. Here, the suggestion is not that viable solutions do not exist, but that such ‘rethinking’ of development remains on the margins of mainstream political-economic discourse.As scholars and educators of development, it is imperative that we enable students and practitioners to acquire the conceptual and pragmatic skills required to confront the immediate and inescapable challenges we, as a global society, now face. In this workshop, we invite scholars and educators to consider what critical reflexive pedagogies may best enable students to tackle the social, environmental, political and conceptual challenges which confront the field of development studies. In particular, this workshop seeks to (1) discuss challenges surrounding student recruitment, retention and employment trajectories and (2) advance new conceptual frameworks, methodologies and pedagogies for rethinking ‘development’, ‘progress’ and ‘wellbeing’ within the context of an increasingly complex global aid and development landscape. Key questions explored in the workshop may include, but are not limited to:

What key challenges are future development practitioners likely to encounter and how can we best equip students with the resilience, reflexivity and hope required to become productive agents of positive social change?

How can the complex and radical rethinking of ‘development’ that is required to meet global challenges such as climate change be translated into new forms of development practice?

What are some of the social, cultural and ethical competencies that will be required for future development practitioners within an increasingly multipolar global aid landscape?

How can we encourage students to think critically about the performativity of their knowledge frameworks within the project of development?

What are some of the complexities, challenges and opportunities that surround engagement between higher education institutions and development policy sector organisations?


One key objective of the seminar is to produce a Special Section on ‘Rethinking Development Pedagogies and Practices’ for Asia Pacific Viewpoint. Those interested in contributing should submit paper proposals by April 30, 2017. Paper proposals should include a title, abstract (250 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words. Successful applicants will be notified by May 30 and will be required to submit a completed draft paper (5,000-8,000 words) by August 30.

All submissions should be sent to and

To RSVP attendance at the workshop, please respond to no later than April 30, 2017.

CONVENORS Dr Kearrin Sims

College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University

Associate Professor Lisa Law

College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University