Development

Contemporary development geography brings together material and discursive analyses to trace restless and uneven postcolonial landscapes and the ways in which their inhabitants reinterpret and appropriate D/development processes. We investigate development as a contradictory and powerful project that takes on particular meanings in the context of specific economic and political moments. We engage in research and teaching that examines how particular constructions of development have been invoked politically over time. These discursive constructions often have profound material effects. They have led to the transformation of livelihoods, the relocation of rivers, the redrawing of national boundaries, the redesigning of systems of governance and even the transformation of people’s perceptions of themselves. Our scholarship is characteristically grounded in a sustained engagement with particular regions of the world and in an interest in addressing political and ethical issues that arise from working with marginalized communities. Critical development geography at UW begins with a concept of development as situated knowledge, and we take seriously the links between language, power and material life. In our research and teaching we are sensitive to how local agents–from children and impoverished youth, to Western-trained neoliberal policy-making elites–accommodate and rework development processes in ways that are always worked out in place.

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