February 8, 2010

'Crossroads' series looks at development

The Institute for Developing Nations’ “Development at a Crossroads” series is designed to get people talking. A robust line-up of lectures and related academic seminars this spring will engage broad issues, debates, and points of contention located at the intersection of development theory and practice.

The field is at a crossroads in many senses of the word, says IDN Director Sita Ranchod-Nilsson, with an understanding of what promotes development further complicated by the global recession.

“In many ways development studies and development practice have become fragmented, as a result of disciplinary boundaries and technical specialization,” she says. “This series addresses that fragmentation by asking broad questions that will engage a wide range of participants.”

“Development at a Crossroads” events are expected to draw Emory’s community of scholars as well as development practioners from metro Atlanta. “We’ve really tried to select speakers who are well known and who are addressing topics of interest to a broad section of scholars here,” Ranchod-Nilsson says.

The series kicks off Feb. 15 with an anthropological critique of global poverty by Akhil Gupta, a UCLA anthropologist, at 4 p.m. in the anthropology seminar room.

Coming March 1 is activist and social entrepreneur Zainab Salbi, founder and CEO of Women for Women International. Salbi is expected to speak on her organization’s work with women in war-torn regions, at 4 p.m. in Tull Auditorium.

In April, IDN hopes to bring University of Oregon anthropologist Lamia Karim to campus to talk about women and microfinance.

The series concludes with Stanford anthropologist James Ferguson on April 19 at 4 p.m. in the Center for Ethics, speaking on “Anthropology and the Crisis: Reflections on Distribution and Labor.”

The IDN has teamed up with a wide range of campus partners to bring each speaker to campus. Salbi’s talk, for instance, is also the keynote address for Women’s History Month and part of the Luminaries series.

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