Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), Chittagong University, Chittagong, Bangladesh

The term development is complex, contested and elusive. However, in the simplest term, it can be defined as bringing about social change that allows people to achieve their human potential. It has a range of meanings that depend on the context in which the term is used, and it may also be used to reflect and justify a variety of different agendas held by different people or organizations. For example, development as articulated by the World Bank is very different from the notion promoted by Greenpeace. This point has important implications for the task of understanding sustainable development, partly because much of the confusion about the meaning of the term 'sustainable development' arises from different ideas held by different people. Another important point is that development is a process rather than an outcome. It is dynamic because it involves a change from one state or condition to another. 

The question of economic and social development has been a constant theme of international debate since the 1950s as the objective of universal well-being remains unfulfilled. In some respects, it seems further away than ever. However, despite many mistakes and failed initiatives in the past, there have been also many signs of hopes and ways to a brighter future. Therefore, we need to rethink about the debate on development: what has worked so far and what went wrong?

In fact, rethinking development examines to unfold a future of growing uncertainty, in which crucial factors such as environment has begun to bring about serious social, economic and geopolitical changes. As the world is going through more complexities, it is imperative to challenge conventional wisdom. Rethinking Development in South Asia offers accessible and thought-provoking overviews of contemporary issues in regional development. Providing original empirical and analytical insights, the conference pushes to think for new ideas by challenging current conceptualizations of development practices. 

This interdisciplinary conference provides an invaluable platform for discussion on development. We are pleased to invite academics, policy makers and practitioners, nationally, regionally or internationally to contribute to what critical reflexive pedagogies may best enable us to tackle the conceptual challenges which confront the field of development in South Asia. Specially, we are encouraging researchers to reflect on how their work can contribute to: (a) a better understanding of rethinking development agenda in South Asia; (b) a better explanation of the development issues in South Asia can more be effectively achieved; and (c) a critical exploration of what roles different development actors can play in achieving Development goals in South Asia. 

Keeping these ideas of development in mind, this conference seeks papers that may engage, but need not limit themselves to, any of the following themes related to the broader ideas of the conference:

  • Economic development and its contestations
  • Social development
  • Migration and development
  • Environment and sustainable development
  • Alternative development practices
  • NGOs, civil society and development 
  • Gender and development
  • Indigenous people and development 
  • Poverty reduction strategies
  • Sustainable Development Goals 
  • Governance, Politics and Democracy
  • Development policies and practices in South Asia

Authors are invited to submit an abstract of their paper which fits any of the above themes, or other topics relevant to rethinking development issues in South Asia. 

Prospective participants:

The conference is open to researchers, practitioners, students and academics from across disciplines and areas of work. Academics from South Asian Universities and beyond with orientation to varied disciplines—sociology, anthropology, economics, public administration, development studies, international relations, communication and journalism,  political science, psychology, social work, law, and gender studies etc.; and international development practitioners specialized in development programmes/projects are invited to take part in the conference. 

Expected Outcomes:

  1. Publication of international refereed co-authored/ co-edited anthologies containing high quality scholarly articles selected through rigorous reviewing of the best papers presented in the conference.
  2. A special volume of journal will be published on the conference theme and that includes some of the interesting papers presented in the conference. 
  3. Formation of a South Asian Development Research Network (SADRN). 

Abstract and/ or full papers to be sent to the Conference Member Secretary: conrefence.ssricu@gmail.com

Conference website: www.conferencessri.cu.ac.bd