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 around the following challenging topics:
Introductory debate on post-development
- A decolonial critique of state building interventions
- Feminist ecologies & coloniality of the body
- A decolonial turn for development studies?
- Decolonizing ecological relations
- Decolonization and military interventions
- Gentrification and neo-colonial spatialities in the city
- The role of the diaspora in memory of the colonial past (closing debate)
The debates will be organized as webinars, each Tuesday evening from 19h00 to 21h00, from October 6 till November 24. 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: www.uantwerpen.be/debatingdevelopment