An update from the Department of Development Studies at SOAS
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SOAS Department of Development Studies News 

January 2016

Welcome to the newsletter of the SOAS Department of Development Studies. The Department combines an outstanding reputation for the study of non-Western development processes and systems of thought with unrivalled expertise of regional development in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

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The Department has a new blog which showcases the distinctive perspectives of its staff and students. Recent posts include:
Brazilian Democracy in Distress: Unpacking Dilma Rouseff's Impeachment by Alfredo Saad Filho 
Why Development Defines India’s Elections Today by Subir Sinha
High-tech Oranges and Big Pharma Blueberries: Industrialising Freshness in Global Agriculture  by Christopher Cramer


Migration and development is one of the Department’s core focus areas and our academics participated in a series of international migration-related events throughout 2015. Paolo Novak spoke at the African Union and GIZ-funded Second Scientific Colloquium on African Borders and Laura Hammond spoke at an international conference on Opportunities and Challenges of Diaspora Engagement. Several of the Department's academics also spoke at a SOAS panel event on whether there is a refugee crisis in Europe

The Department itself held nearly 50 events in 2015, bringing many leading development academics to SOAS, including special lectures by Professor Erik Swyngedouw, Professor Jayati Ghosh and a series of degrowth lectures by visiting Professor Giorgos Kallis. The Department's Jonathan Goodhand also gave a SOAS Inaugural Lecture on Brokerage, drugs and conflict in the Afghan borderlands.

The Department also hosted award-winning playwright Anders Lustgarten for a world premiere performance of his new play about the aid industry in Haiti, exclusively for Development Studies staff and students.

Podcasts and videos of many previous events are online, including on our You Tube channel.
Professor Jayati Ghosh at SOAS (Jai Bhatia)
Distinguished development economist Professor Jayati Ghosh (School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India) giving a special lecture entitled 'Are Emerging Markets Developing? And What is Development Anyway?' at SOAS on 6 October 2015.


In 2016, the Development Studies Seminar Series will bring leading academics and authors such as Tariq Ali, Marianna Mazucatto and Uma Kothari to SOAS. 

The Development Practice Seminars focus on the experiences of those engaged in policy-making and practical action. This term features talks on environmental, migration, labour, poverty and conflict issues from speakers at organisations such as Greenpeace, The Council for At-Risk Academics and Synchronicity Earth.

The Agrarian Change Seminars will also continue this term, featuring speakers examining agrarian issues across the developing world. 

View all upcoming events.


The Department's research is centred around seven research clusters.

Major new development research projects currently underway in the Department include:


New journal articles and authored and edited books by the Department’s staff include:


SOAS Development Studies staff are frequently called upon to comment on current global issues. Recent media appearances have included:
  • Jacobin: Adam Hanieh provided 'A Brief History of ISIS', outlining its roots in the failed hopes of the Arab Spring
  • Le Monde and Jacobin: Gilbert Achcar discusses the Paris attacks in his article 'France Returns to the State of Exception'
  • Newsweek: Laura Hammond on why aid to Africa is not the solution to the refugee crisis
  • The Conversation: Alessandra Mezzadri on 'Why inequality matters - for the rich and the poor'


The Department has an innovative and critical approach to teaching international development across variety of BA, taught Masters and PhD research programmes. In 2015 it was ranked 13th in the world for the study of Development Studies by the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

Our notable alumni include Arkebe Oqubay, a special advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, whose PhD informed the 2015 book 'Made in Africa: Industrial Policy in Ethiopia' (read a recent interview and review of the book). Former Masters student Anna Sowa has turned her MSc research into a new film on the growing challenges of sustaining water and fighting poverty. Matthew Juden won the inaugural dissertation prize of the Development Studies Association in 2015 for his Masters dissertation thesis.

For insights into why our students choose to study development at SOAS, read our student profiles.
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Header photo courtesy of Christopher Cramer.
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Our mailing address is:
Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies,
Telephone +44 20 7898 4404 Fax +44 20 7898 4829

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