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CDS Lecture series - Professor Ashwani Saith

When Mar 02, 2017
from 03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
Where SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Rd, Cambridge, CB3 9DT
Contact Name
Contact Phone 01223 (7)64055
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Disciplining Development Studies

Professor Ashwani Saith


The talk engages with twin propositions: that Development Studies is academically without discipline, lacking grammar and rigour; and, that Development Studies is politically unruly, lacking vision and direction. The temporal course and spatial meanderings of the subject area are traced, traversing interfaces between material and ideational planes, identifying dialectical tensions between normative and emancipatory tendencies inherent in Development Studies, and counteracting theoretical and instrumental interventions diverting and defusing, incorporating and consuming such anti-hegemonic intellectual energy and agency, ultimately also capturing, mutating and turning around its lexicon. The ramble to the present is without any fixed preset destination for the future, and without hard conclusions other than the utility of a direction, a compass and a willingness to steer and row, usually against mainstream currents. 

About the Speaker

Ashwani Saith studied economics at St Stephen's College, Delhi, and Trinity College, Cambridge, and has held academic positions at the Delhi School of Economics; Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge; Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford; International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague (where he is Professor Emeritus); and the London School of Economics where he was Director of its Development Studies Institute (DESTIN) and held the first Chair in Development Studies. He is currently also a Visiting Professor at Ambedkar University, Delhi. He has served on the editorial boards of several development journals, including the Journal of Development Studies, Journal of Peasant Studies, Journal of Agrarian Change, Indian Journal of Labour Economics and Indian Journal of Human Development; he has been an editor of Development and Change since 1983 and chairs its Editorial Board. He has researched and published widely on various development issues; the regional focus of his work has been on Asia, especially on India and China.