Area Studies Must Be Decolonised

The discipline’s existence reflects an enduring Western belief in the inferiority of knowledge production specific to different cultures

By David Simon

If you thought that area studies sounded like an odd name for an odd discipline, you’d be right. Its genesis reflects an enduring tension within academia between supposedly systematic (“disciplinary”) and geographically specific knowledge production – deriving from particular histories of how universities evolved in Euro-America and its former imperial and colonial realms. Continue reading “Area Studies Must Be Decolonised”

Why Does Climate Adaptation End Up Repeating, Rather Than Rethinking, Old Development Mistakes?

By Siri Eriksen, Marianne Mosberg, Benard Muok, Katharine Vincent, Lisa Schipper, Morgan Scoville-Simonds

Climate change requires rethinking development. Yet, in the (understandable) rush to support adaptation, this has taken place within the structures and process of existing development paradigms. As a consequence, similar to well-known critiques of the development architecture, many adaptation-interventions reproduce both the development problems and the skewed power relations that have contributed to vulnerability in the first place. Continue reading “Why Does Climate Adaptation End Up Repeating, Rather Than Rethinking, Old Development Mistakes?”

COVID-19 and the Economic Stories of our Time

By Simon Mair

What is the economy? Speaking to the NGO Our Economy, one interviewee described the economy as “a giant blob or mass that feels like it has its own consciousness.” In popular and academic discussion of the economy it can seem like we’re talking about a child or pet that we have to nurture. The economy is often portrayed as self-aware entity, something separate from but dependent on us. What will happen to “the economy” because of the coronavirus? Have we “sacrificed” the economy to save lives? Continue reading “COVID-19 and the Economic Stories of our Time”

Teaching in a Fast-Changing Environment – The Case of Development Studies

By Basile Boulay

Following years of austerity budgets and a fast-growing managerial culture within academia, social sciences and humanities have been under growing pressure for some time.  Simultaneously, the assumptions behind the teaching and research of entire disciplines have been heavily criticized , giving rise to movements -often supported by students- calling for wide academic and curricula reforms. Development Studies, which draws on many fields from social sciences and humanities, is no exception and is undergoing such profound changes. Continue reading “Teaching in a Fast-Changing Environment – The Case of Development Studies”

Behind the Scenes: The Strong Voice of Pacific Women in Climate Negotiations

By George Carter and Elise Howard

Women from Pacific Island countries have long been strategic and decisive leaders in climate negotiations, yet their stories are relatively unknown.  Our recent work explores women’s leadership at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the making of the Paris Agreement 2015. We provide a snapshot of one year in  three decades of climate negotiations and explore, how women played strategic roles to elevate the Pacific’s position on a global stage.  Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: The Strong Voice of Pacific Women in Climate Negotiations”