Deze cursusinformatie geeft aan hoe het onderwijs zal verlopen bij pandemieniveau code geel en groen.
Als er tijdens het academiejaar aangepast wordt naar code oranje of rood, zijn er wijzigingen mogelijk o.a. in de gebruikte werk - en evaluatievormen.

Debating Development

Course Code :9009UAOOUD
Study domain:
Academic year:2020-2021
Semester:1st semester
Contact hours:30
Study load (hours):84
Contract restrictions: No contract restriction
Language of instruction:English
Exam period:exam in the 1st semester
Lecturer(s)Gert Van Hecken
Janus Verrelst
François Levrau
Leni Franken
Hanne Van Cappellen
Ivan Ashaba
Réginas Ndayiragije
Mark Marvin Kadigo
Juan Sebastian Velez Triana
Denis Augustin Samnick

3. Course contents *

This annual series of eight debates (webinars) has the intention to expose students and the interested public to contemporary development topics. We offer a platform for reflection on current topics in the field of development to a broad public. Each topic is introduced on the basis of a presentation by a renowned speaker. A discussant sets the stage for further debate. Our guest speakers come from international institutes, civil society and academia. The discussions will be moderated by the academic staff of the Institute of Development Policy (IOB) of University of Antwerp .

Students are not expected to be debaters themselves. They are actually the spectators of the webinars, but there is room for questions at the end of each session. The focus of the course is on the academic content and understanding/analysing different perspectives, not on debating skills.

As we put a strong emphasis on the academic content, we aim at a nuanced approach to the topics.

Every year we select a different central theme. Throughout the previous years we covered private sector (2019), climate (2018), natural resources (2017) and democracy (2016).

Edition 2020: Reflecting on Decolonial Perspectives

Decolonization is a process, not an end in itself. It refers to unlearning and deconstructing hegemonic knowledge systems that characterize the Western “modern” world, and instead recognizes and replenishes the plurality of alternative ways of seeing, thinking, and being in the world. Decolonization has enormous social, economic, political, ecological and cultural implications by rethinking relationships that dismantle racial, gender, and class binaries that have been historically imposed and reinforced within Western-style development. As current events are unfolding we have seen how efforts towards decolonization have ranged from demanding for land restitution to decolonizing the university curriculums, to empowering campaigns that  remove statues of infamous colonial perpetrators in our public spaces. It is also common to hear terms as decolonization of knowledge (epistemic or epistemological decolonization), decolonizing development, or decolonizing science. Yet, the meaning of decolonization is not universally agreed upon. What does decolonization entail in theory and practice?

In the 2020 ‘Debating Development’ series, we seek out the most contentious issues in the relationship between development and decolonization. The intention is not to pinpoint a universal understanding of what decolonization is, but rather to put it into conversation with the multiple meanings it implies within specific contexts. To that end, we organize timely debates between academics, civil society actors and representatives from the development sector.

The debates will be organized as webinars, each Tuesday evening from 19h00 to 21h00, from October 6 till November 24.

Course schedule:

6 October: introduction to the course (from 19:00 to 20:00)

13 October: Post-development and decolonial perspectives

  • Achile Mbembe, Cameroonian philosopher, political theorist and public intellectual. University of the Witwatersrand (South-Africa), Duke University (United States)

  • Els Hertogen, head of 11.11.11 (umbrella of the Flemish North-South Movement)

  • Moderator: Gert Van Hecken, assistant professor at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB), University of Antwerp

20 October: Decolonizing ecological relations

  • Diana Raquel Vela Almeida, Postdoctoral Fellow, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Geography
  • Moderator: Vijay Kolinjivadi, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Development Policy (IOB), University of Antwerp


27 October: A decolonial turn for development studies?

  • Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Archie Mafeje Research Institute for Applied Social Policy (AMRI) & Change Management Unit (CMU), University of South Africa (UNISA)
  • Johan Bastiaensen, chair of the Institute of Development Policy (IOB), University of Antwerp

3 November: Feminist ecologies & Coloniality of the body

  • Brigitte Baptiste, advocate of gender diversity and environmental conservation, head of EAN University, Colombia

10 November: Gentrification and neo-colonial spatialities in the city

  • Christina M. Jimenez, Chair of the Department of History, University of Colorado Colorado Spring (UCCS)
  • Aaron Vansintjan, Doctoral Researcher at the University of London, Birkbeck and co-editor of Uneven Earth

17 November: A decolonial critique of state building interventions

  • Philip Lottholz, post-doctoral research Fellow at the collaborative Research Centre in the Institute of Sociology, Justus Leibig University Giessen, Germany
  • Abiosseh Davis (to be confirmed), monitoring and Evaluation officer for Interpeace

24 November: Security, weaponization, and (Neo)Colonialism. Are military interventions un-decolonizable in the Global South? 

  • Speakers will be announced soon

As a student you are also welcome to join our closing ceremony in Antwerp on the role of the diaspora in memory of the colonial past, on Tuesday 1st of December, with Nadia Nsayi (political scientist and author of the book "Dochter van de Dekolonisatie") and Mohamed Barrie (founder of African Youth Organiasation - AYO). Although the closing event is not part of the course, students are encouraged to join this session as well.

More information can be found on our website: