CU Lecture Series To Kick Off New Development Studies Program

Published: April 1, 2001

The University of Colorado at Boulder will kick off a new campus-wide interdisciplinary program in Developing Areas Research and Teaching with a lecture series in April.

Geography Professor Stuart Corbridge of the University of Miami and the London School of Economics will kick off the lecture series with a talk on "Development as Freedom: The Spaces of Amartya Sen," on Friday, April 13, at 4 p.m. in Eaton Humanities room 150.

Corbridge specializes in development studies and focuses primarily on India and the international political economy. He has conducted fieldwork in rural eastern India for 20 years, including work on forestry issues.

Development studies is an interdisciplinary field that strives to understand the social, economic and political processes that have transformed societies and environments during the 20th century. Those in the field typically are concerned with problems of poverty, social inclusion, gender relationships and sustainability.

Corbridge's lecture will focus on the work of Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998 and one of the leaders in development studies over the past 40 years. As part of the lecture, Corbridge will focus on Sen's idea that development is best defined as an expansion of individual substantive freedoms, rather than a rise in per capita incomes or other more material indicators.

The idea for CU-Boulder's new program arose when faculty members in the geography department and environmental design recognized they had a strong group of researchers in the area of development studies, according to co-director Tony Bebbington, an assistant professor in CU-Boulder's geography department. Geography Professor Gary Gaile also co-directs the program.

"We had a good number of people doing work in international development but there was no plan to bring the work together," Bebbington said.

"This new development studies program will support the research and teaching of people working in this field, and by bringing people from outside the university here to talk about issues in the field we hope to spark greater interest," he said.

Some of the development issues being studied by CU-Boulder faculty include food security and hunger in Africa; gender, migration and livelihoods in Indonesia; environmental and social change in China; natural resource management and poverty in South Asia and the United States; and indigenous movements, civil society and political economy in Latin America.

Bebbington said the number of students with an interest in development has increased over time and that an organized program will help coordinate teaching initiatives as well as help attract additional resources for research.

The program in Developing Areas Research and Teaching is also co-sponsoring the following two lectures in April:

* University of North Carolina anthropology Professor Arturo Escobar will speak about "Nature, Place and Culture in Some Contemporary Social Movements: A Colombian Case," on Friday, April 20, at 4 p.m. in Hale Science room 230. The lecture is co-sponsored by the geography and anthropology departments and Implementation of Multicultural Perspectives and Approaches in Research and Teaching or IMPART.

* University of West Virginia associate geography Professor Daniel Weiner will speak about "Community-based GIS in South Africa: Implications for GIS and Society" on Friday, April 27, at 4 p.m. in Guggenheim Geography room 205. The lecture is co-sponsored by geography students in the United Government of Graduate Students and the geography department.