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2.2.3 The classroom as political? Teaching ‘Development’ for Decolonial Imaginations, Radical Futurities, and Global Justice
Wednesday, 18/May/2022:
1:00pm - 2:30pm

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2.2.3 The classroom as political? Teaching ‘Development’ for Decolonial Imaginations, Radical Futurities, and Global Justice

Chair(s): Tka Pinnock (York University, Canada)

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, global mobilization against anti-Black racism and calls for decolonization, there must be renewed attention to the ways in which we are teaching development students about the complexities of the contemporary world, and their historical underpinnings. For educators and students located in the Global North, there is an immediate saliency to the need to address and engage with colonial heritage of ‘development’ in the classroom given the global inequities in knowledge production and development practice.

The classroom must take centre stage in our thinking about the future of development studies and practice, particularly in a post-pandemic world, for as bell hooks has argued, “It remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy” (12, 1994). Positioning “the classroom as a place of promise and possibility” (hooks, 1994) invites us as educators to be self-reflective about “the what and the how of teaching development” (Schwittay, 2020). We must reflect on how we support our students in critically engaging with the world around them and of which they are a part; how we teach them about contemporary social, political-economic and cultural crises, and historical and present colonialism; how we help them to understand global solidarities and justice and, how we enable them to imagine a future otherwise.

This roundtable poses the following questions: How do we understand, practice and teach ‘development’ in our classrooms? How do we ensure that our pedagogy and teaching practices support radical futurity, decolonization, and global and local equity? How can academics develop critically informed pedagogies? As instructors based in the global North, how do we engage in a praxis that brings power imbalances in knowledge production and international and social relations to bear? How do we locate the ‘self’ in the classroom?


Presentations of the Symposium


Teaching development at a small Canadian university

Giselle F. Thompson
Acadia University

Giselle Thompson's presentation will explore her experiences of teaching development at a small rural Canadian university, where "developing societies" can seem so far removed geographically and intellectually from students' lived experiences. Her experiences are insightful for other junior faculty members who are thinking about their pedagogy.


Accounting for Race and Racism in Teaching Development Thought and Practice

Zubairu Wai
University of Toronto Scarborough

Drawing on his experiences of teaching at two universities, along with his research agenda, Zuba Wai, will take up epistemological questions regarding the nature, conditions and limits of disciplinary knowledge and practices and their implications for teaching development studies. Of note, his presentation will center on experiences of and notes on teaching the role colonialism, race, racism and racialization in relation to International Development and Development Studies.


Teaching 'Development' at all stages: Is it the same?

Miguel Gonzalez Perez
York University

Miguel Gonzalez's presentation will explore how to prepare both undergraduate and graduate students to engage with International Development Studies in theory and in practice.


How do we teach

Rebecca Hall
Queen's University

Rebecca Hall will explore the challenges and possibilities of talking about and critiquing 'development' through her work on resource extraction and social reproduction in Canada's Northwest Territories.

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