Welcome to the Center for the History of Global Development
The Center for the History of Global Development is a research focus established at the College of Liberal Arts at Shanghai University. Through conferences, workshops, publications and discussion panels, the Center seeks to contribute to interdisciplinary scholarly debates on the repercussions of “development” as a phenomenon which has shaped much of recent global history while remaining conceptually vague or contradictory.
“Development,” in its most basic form, is understood as the idea that socio-economic conditions would and should improve and that specific policies should be employed to bring about such improvements. Beyond this core, development has been a highly contested concept, whose constructed character has repeatedly been emphasized. Critics point to international structures created in the name of “development” which have often reflected power inequalities and served the interests of those that put them in place. They also call attention to the continuing enormous economic inequalities between people in different parts of the world despite - or because of? - decades of “development” efforts allegedly designed to mitigate such disparity. Meanwhile, other scholars identify perceived successes of "development," measured in social indicators such as life expectancy, falling infant mortality, gender equality or literacy, which contradicts a simplistic notion of continued failure. These differences of perspectives are compounded by the fact that interpretations of what exactly constitutes “development” abound. A Western concept of modernization usually entailed a combination of mechanization, urbanization, secularization, a shift towards individualism, a growing provision with material goods and life at an accelerating pace. But the perceived shortcomings of this approach have given rise to a series of alternative concepts, including the basic needs approach, Amartya Sen's view of “development as freedom” or Herman Daly's insistence on “development” as a strictly qualitative notion, to be distinguished from economic growth.
This Center for the History of Global Development aims at addressing development in a comprehensive, multi-perspective manner. By engaging in projects that address various aspects of development from various angles, it tries to do justice to the ambivalent nature of a phenomenon which has been both so influential and elusive. It also seeks to contribute to a deeper understanding of the evolving and sometimes contradictory short- and long-term effects of different development strategies, questioning how the evaluation of outcomes changes with time but also with changing perspectives on who has been affected when and where. Though the focus of the center is firmly historical,
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Social media links of the center:
Zill-E-Huma: Epic Transformation of Pakistan's bigest setback of "Waste" http://59037335.swh.strato-hosting.eu/Thinking-about-Development /
Zarkamol Munisov's paper on Ecopoetics as a Prism of the Anthropocene: The Aral Sea Crisis in Contemporary Russian Poetry at NARRATING NATURE, of the Asian-Norwegian Network on Environmental Storytelling (ANEST), July 2, 2021
Iris Borowy, “Human Waste: Hazardous Waste or Valuable Resource? Shifting Views of Modernity. "In: Iris Borowy (guest ed.), Special Issue: Development in World History - Development as World History, Journal of World History, 32 (3) 2021, 517-545. Https://muse.jhu.edu/issue / 46077
Peter Wynn Kirby, Fukushima waste water plan won't win public confidence, no matter how hard Japan tries, op-ed. South China Morning Post , April 21, 2021. https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3130239/fukushima-waste-water-plan-wont-win-public-confidence-no-matter-how
Yelif Ulagban, “Belt and Road Initiative: Opportunities and Challenges for Mongolia,” The Asia-Pacific Journal 19: 3 (2021), Article ID 5533, https://apjjf.org/2021/3/Ulagpan.html.