From Exclamation Marks to Question Marks

Group Members: Dr. Yonatan Gez, Dr. Reut Barak, Dr. Tal Nitsan, Dr Ruth Wenske Stern and Mr. Bruck Teshome (PhD Candidate)

For more information about the research group, please contact with the Assistant Coordinator - Luisa Venancio at: luisa.carvalhove@mail.huji.ac.il  

From Exclamation Marks to Question Marks:
Critical Multicultural Perspectives to Development

The present proposal is offered as a timely collaboration between the Truman Institute and the Hebrew University’s Glocal International Development Studies – Israel’s first international MA program in Development Studies (est. 2010). Building on the strengths of both partners, as well as past collaborations, we propose to establish a two-year research group aimed at furthering research on critical perspectives in development and enlarging circles of critical reflection on development theory and their relations to practice. Focusing on the hotly debated theme of multicultural perspectives on development, the proposed research group will explore critical perspectives with a focus on regional knowledge and its role in the development of theory. Taking the Israeli perspective as a point of departure, our aim is to contextualize theories of development within the practical and scholastic experience of the group’s participants through case studies from the Global South, in recognition of the differences between regions and cultures.

The group will hold bi-monthly meetings facilitated by core members, where we will focus on alternative views and theories, such as post-development, intersectionality and critical pedagogy. Through these lenses, we will explore and analyze study cases from the macro-regions of the developing world, divided along Truman’s four regional units: Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. As theory and practice are closely intertwined, we will draw lessons from each to the understanding of the other, while taking into consideration the different contexts and realities in various regions around the world. At the end of the first year, we will hold a conference involving keynote speakers drawn from both developed and developing countries, accompanied by a workshop, organized by the members of the research group. In the second year, group members will launch a series of working papers that will culminate in a joint publication.

Inspired by development principles of inclusion and equal participation, we set this study group as a joint collaborative platform, in which various development-informed and development-curious actors, in various stages of their career, will come together. The group will thus be open to a diverse range of participants—students, lecturers, and, to some extent, development practitioners—with the end goal of contributing to the shaping of development discourse in Israel and encouraging a new generation of young, committed and critical Development Studies scholars centered around the Truman Institute, the Glocal program, and the Hebrew University more broadly.