Conference Program

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Session Overview - All times EDT

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2.2.2: Finding Bridges within New Doctoral Research
Tuesday, 01/June/2021:
12:30pm - 2:00pm

Technical chair: Furqan Asif
Location: Room 2


2.2.2: Finding Bridges within New Doctoral Research

Chair(s): Andrea Leigh Burke (Western University), Kaylia Little (University of Waterloo)

This panel seeks to demonstrate how the field of International Development can bridge the divide and be a common language for PhD Students working across a variety of disciplines and topics. While their work focuses on different Sustainable Development Goals including 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 17, common themes of inclusive development, structural inequalities, and multi-dimensional critiques of existing systems of development can be found. The panelists bring together different standpoints that inform Development Studies scholarship, bridging disciplinary, topical, and thematic divides and finding common ground by pursuing more inclusive and effective ways of doing development, both practically and theoretically.

Five (5) PhD Students in the preliminary stages of their dissertation research, proposing novel and important projects, will present and discuss their work in the form of a panel. This is an interactive panel that seeks to create a space for co-learning between panelists and attendees. Panelists welcome and encourage feedback from attendees who have a chance to influence the directions of their research. Panel attendees will have the chance to interact with emerging research areas and projects that doctoral students of international development are approaching. By fostering a space for students and seasoned researchers to collaborate and discuss new project-matter, this panel will effectively bridge perceived and real divides that are sometimes present between new students and scholars from various stages of life and work.

Join the panelists in addressing a wide range of vital issues in an open and inclusive space as they embark on their doctoral research.


Presentations of the Symposium


The gender-energy nexus in the Arctic

Kaylia Little
University of Waterloo

In Canada, affordable and clean energy access is a concern for 279 remote communities that are not connected to the electricity grid. The importance of energy access is supported by the United Nations and the World Bank as an essential component for lifting communities out of poverty. Current sustainable energy technologies offer solutions to meeting the electricity needs of the world while not further contributing to environmental degradation. Improved energy access has the potential to impact gender equity positively, but in order to do this, the complexities of the gender-energy nexus need to be understood. Gender and energy research has been mainly concentrated in the global south and energy is framed as gender-neutral in industrialized countries. In my research I will aim to understand the gender-energy nexus in Nunavut and bring attention to equity issues. Furthermore, my research seeks to build on current gender analysis frameworks in a way that is culturally and contextually appropriate.


Rethinking Empowerment Interventions: The politics of gender programming/planning within the bureaucracy USAID and the implications for transformative change.

Khursheed Sadat
University of Ottawa

Research on women’s empowerment development interventions are concerned with either measuring the ways in which interventions empower women or analyzing the arrangements of power that oppress women. Other research on empowerment interventions explore the limitations of such interventions affecting transformative change. Studies have yet to explore the ways those within the site of creating and implementing these empowerment programmes engage with such limitations to the transformative potential. My research investigates women’s empowerment development interventions as sites of tension, negotiation and transformation. My research answers the following questions: What can the experiences of USAID bureaucrats and gender planners who are involved in the design and implementation of the PROMOTE project, a women’s empowerment project in Afghanistan, reveal about the forces that constitute the process of the construction and implementation of this project? Furthermore, what can their experiences reveal about the challenges of creating and implementing truly transformative gender equality and women’s empowerment development policy and programming? PROMOTE is a five-year collaborative project (2014-2019) between both the U.S. and Afghan governments aimed at empowering young Afghan women, through training that equips them with the skills to become active leaders in society. Using this development project as an entry point, my research investigates the nuances and dynamics of struggle between structure and agency within the site of development institutions and studies its implications for transformative change in the context of fragile states.


Sexed Bodies, Trauma and Gender Based Violence: Testimonies from the Rohingya Genocide

Deeplina Banerjee
Western University

The persecutions of over half a million Rohingya Muslims, in the Rakhine state of Myanmar since late August 2017 have raised serious concerns of human rights violation and has left the international stakeholders shocked. The mass rapes and other forms of sexual violence, killing and torture have prompted the United Nations to label the genocide as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. My proposed research focuses on investigating the widespread sexual violence against women during the genocide and understanding how their bodies respond to the trauma in the aftermath. Through my project I will seek to understand in the backdrop of the Rohingya genocide if the ethnic identities play a key role in violence against women during genocide and how those bodies then becomes a weapon of violence that is used against women and in the process they lose ownership and autonomy of their own bodies. The project will seek to address the complicated inter-relations among body, violence and ethnicity with a broader objective of understanding the body as a weapon of violence against the women thus zeroing it to a more individual level.


Aid effectiveness in a Small Island Developing State: The case of Vanuatu

Morgane Rosier
University of Ottawa

Fifteen years later, the implementation of the principles of the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness globally is disappointing. However, the causes of this disregard to aid appropriation, donor alignment and harmonization - viewed as a first step towards a redistribution of power between aid donors and recipients - is still misunderstood and requires in depth qualitative analyses. Entitled Aid effectiveness in a

Small Island Developing State: The case of Vanuatu, my doctoral thesis focuses on a case study: the assistance provided by international actors to the Republic of Vanuatu, a Pacific island state, particularly following Covid-19 and Cyclone Harold in April 2020. More precisely, it answers: why do different aid actors circumvent or misapply the three core principles? In particular, what incentive dynamics weighing on them explain these poor results? As humanitarian and development actions are called to be complementary, why and how to reconcile humanitarian aid and development aid? What obstacles hinder this reconciliation? Furthermore, how did the Covid-19 pandemic slow down or accelerate the implementation of the Paris principles and what does it reveal about their relevance?


Essential Precarity: Exploring Cross-Sections of Gender and Racial

Andrea Burke
Western University

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted women's and racialized minorities' experiences with work, employment, labour-related stress, and the burden of care in formal and informal capacities. Essential Precarity: Exploring Cross-Sections of Gender and Racial Equality, Canadian COVID-19 Policies, and Feminized Care Work in Pandemic Times explores how pandemics exacerbate inequalities and/or create new opportunities for gender equality, social justice, and developing more favourable and equitable conditions in so-called developed countries. London, Ontario, Canada will serve as a case study to reveal how principles of community development, international development, feminist economics, and precarity can be applied to the realities of gendered and racialized professions specifically personal support work, that are high-risk, underpaid, largely unprotected, and care-centric. The context of COVID-19 reveals and exacerbates pre-existing conditions of precarity, discrimination, and insecurity for personal support workers in healthcare. I seek to explore how the lives and livelihoods of women in precarious positions during the pandemic -- particularly personal support workers doing crucial care work in high-risk spaces like hospitals and long-term care facilities -- is politicized and polarizing in Canadian discourse and policy, and how economic norms of austerity and privatization impact gender equality and women's safety during public health crises.