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DARG Events

Forthcoming Events:


Past Events:

DARG Undergraduate Dissertation Workshop 2011: Doing development dissertations,

Friday 2nd December, 2011, University of Manchester

This one-day workshop is aimed at undergraduate students considering doing their final year dissertation on a topic related to Development Geography while being based abroad or in the UK. The workshop will cover a range of practical and intellectual issues, as well as discussing sources of finance for research projects.

BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL: The cost of the workshop is £10, which includes lunch and refreshments - and there are a limited number of travel bursaries available. There is a limit of 35 places and applications will be accepted on a first come first served basis.

Further details and the form for students to register can be found here.


DARG postgraduate workshop 2012: Careers in international development for geographers

– Friday 6th January, 2012, RGS London

Attention all PhD supervisors, Masters course conveners and postgraduate students!
The next DARG postgraduate workshop is a must for students considering a career in international development. Open to PhD and Masters students, it will include a panel discussion with development professionals from DfID, NGOs, consultancy and academia, postgraduate job-hunters talking about their experiences, and practical advice on job-hunting.
The workshop will be on Friday 6 January 2012 at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR (entrance on Exhibition Road). Nearest tubes South Kensington or Knightsbridge.
Registration opens at 9.30 for a 10.00 start, and the workshop will end at 17.30.
The workshop fee is £15. Participants must be members of DARG and can join when they book for the workshop. RGS-IBG Postgraduate Fellows can join DARG at no cost, otherwise the current annual student subscription is £2.
BOOKING ESSENTIAL! Bookings must be made by 15 December 2011. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Lunch and light refreshments are included in the workshop fee. There will be optional drinks and a restaurant dinner in the evening (not included in fee).
For further information or to book a place please contact Margi Bryant, University of Sheffield (m.bryant@sheffield.ac.uk).


DARG AGM at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference, 2 Sept 2011

We welcomed as new/returning Committee Members: Uma Kothari (Manchester); Nina Laurie (Newcastle); Charlotte Lemanski (UCL). Full minutes of the AGM are available here.


DARG sponsored sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2011 "The Geographical Imagination", 31 Aug - 2 Sept, London

for DARG sponsored sessions , go here and choose "Developing Areas Research Group"


Doing Development Dissertations: Undergraduate Dissertation Workshop - at University College London, on Saturday 27th November 2010, 10.00-17.00

This workshop was aimed at undergraduate students considering doing their final year dissertation on a topic related to Development Geography while being based abroad or in the UK. The workshop covered a range of practical and intellectual issues, as well as discussing sources of finance for research projects.


Postgraduate Workshop: Sharing Fieldwork Experiences

Thurs 22 April 2010 (1pm to 6.30pm) and Fri 23 April 2010 (9am to 3.30pm), £10

University College London

An opportunity for postgraduate students in development geography to share and discuss fieldwork experiences in the global South. Open to everyone at all stages of postgraduate study, whether planning your first overseas fieldwork or reflecting on previous times spent in the field.

The workshop will consist of six themed discussion sessions, all led by postgraduates. Topics may include working with NGOs/CBOs, language issues, ethics, practicalities and personal issues, research methods, and dealing with data. Other ideas are also welcome and innovative methods that encourage open discussion are encouraged.

Applications are open now - please download the form here.
Please also feel free to print the poster and distribute it in your department, and let us know if you are interested in leading one of the sessions youself.

Stephen Jones, DARG pgr Rep




DARG at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2010 "Confronting the Challenges of the Post-Crisis Global Economy and Environment", 1-3 September, London

(see below for sponsored sessions)


1.Global Production Networks, Labour and Development (sponsored by the EGRG and DARG)


Neil Coe, University of Manchester (neil.coe@manchester.ac.uk )
Martin Hess, University of Manchester (martin.hess@manchester.ac.uk )
Marina Prieto-Carrón, University of Portsmouth (marina.prieto-carron@port.ac.uk )


Economic geography research has a rich tradition of analysing the global economy and the places and spaces connected to it or excluded from it, but often the dominant geographical focus has been the advanced and emerging economies, with comparatively little theoretical and empirical attention paid to the Global South. Development geography and development studies, on the other hand, have by and large followed different epistemologies and hence there was not much of a real connection between these literatures. The Global Production Networks (GPN) approach and related network concepts could arguably bridge this gap by mobilising a relational concept of space and both its material and metaphorical production. We consider it important for non-reductionist understandings of development to draw from political economy as well as from more postmodern conceptualisations of culture, difference and meaning as deployed for instance in the post-development literature. While providing useful analytical frameworks, GPN and cognate approaches have hitherto tended to marginalise some important aspects of development, one of which is a much more explicit recognition of labour agency and the livelihood strategies of workers and households. In this context, there is a need to unpack ‘labour’ in GPN analysis and to differentiate between various groups of workers and their agency in various spatial and temporal contexts.

We propose two sessions that theoretically, methodologically and empirically address the existing and perceived gaps in our knowledge by addressing the following issues:

  • The potentials and limits of GPN research to integrate different epistemologies prevalent in economic geography, labour geography and (post-)development studies.
  • The centrality of labour for global production networks through an enhanced dialogue between GPN research, labour and development geography
  • Understanding the agency of workers in GPNs under the conditions of neoliberalism and globalisation.
  • Re-addressing the lack of attention to gender issues in GPN studies and recognizing the extent and significance of reproductive labour.
  • Investigating GPNs from the “bottom up” starting with some of the diverse groups of workers in the Global South.
  • The ways in which GPNs link and alter the nature of labour markets in the Global North and Global South.
  • The impact GPNs have on the livelihoods of peripheral workers
  • The possibilities for social upgrading in GPN.
  • The livelihood strategies of workers and households included in and excluded from GPNs.


2. The changing landscape of foreign aid in the 21C

Organiser: Emma Mawdsley, University of Cambridge (sponsored by DARG)


Few topics produce such virulent disagreement – and often surprising bedfellows – as foreign aid. Deeply contested debates centre on stated and real motivations; effective and appropriate modalities; the identification of (un)desirable recipients; the direct and indirect impacts of foreign aid, and much more. The last few years have witnessed a massive surge of promised outlays (for example, at the 2005 Gleneagles Summit), as well as deepening attempts to bring greater order and effectiveness to foreign aid through ‘harmonisation’ and ‘alignment’ processes. Jeffrey Sachs has been at the forefront of institutional and public insistence on the value of foreign aid. On the other hand, a slew of writers (including Dambisha Moyo, Jonathan Glennie, William Easterly and Yash Tandon), have renewed the attack on foreign aid, albeit from very different ideological standpoints. Meanwhile, the already complex global architecture of foreign aid is becoming more fractured than ever, notably with the increasingly significant role of the ‘non-DAC’ donors (including ‘new’ EU states, OPEC states, BRIC states and many others); the boom in ‘vertical funds’ (such as PEPFAR and the Global Fund), and the huge increase in foundations and other forms of ‘private’ transfer. This session invites papers which address critically these changing trends within the broad field of foreign aid.

Please send abstracts of 100-200 words to Emma Mawdsley by the 1 February 2010


3. Development in the Rural South: bio-economic crises lead to "new" agricultural revolutions (sponsored by DARG)


Charles Howie (Royal Holloway, University of London), Bruce Scholten (Durham University)


A doubling of food prices, driven by rising global consumption and demand for land for biofuels have spawned major rural development initiatives in Africa and elsewhere.  For example: the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are supporting the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa; and in 2008 the World Bank announced plans to create a White Revolution
in Africa, modelled on India's low-input/low-output dairy pattern.  Yet, critics fear these efforts will be compromised by Northern commercial actors seeking to address their own twin problem of Peak Oil and Peak Food production with scale-fixated, high-tech strategies in the Rural South.  Calls to restructure small-scale plots into large-scale commercial farms planting genetically-modified crops in order to defeat hunger run counter to claims that hunger has less to do with poor harvests than with poor distribution of what
Amartya Sen calls 'entitlements'.  Indeed, studies in South East Asia show that rural well-being is as dependent on social capital as it is on technology, and these Northern interventions could ignore local conditions, local social capital and risk compromising biodiversity and ecological services.  At this time, entrepreneurs and developed countries are already 'buying up' or leasing substantial areas of the Rural South in order to ensure their own future food security.

This session welcomes presentations engaging with such theoretical issues, and empirical studies from all continents on the potential role for Northern academic researchers in this "new" Rural South.

Abstracts up to 250 words are welcomed by the Convenors:

Charles Howie (RAC) c.a.howie@rhul.ac.uk; Bruce Scholten (Durham) bruce.scholten@btopenworld.com, B.A.Scholten@durham.ac.uk


4. Workshop: Migrant workers: spaces for organising and resistance (sponsored by PYGRG and DARG)


Marina Prieto-Carrón, University of Portsmouth (marina.prieto-carron@port.ac.uk)
Louise Waite, University of Leeds (l.waite@leeds.ac.uk)


Global international migration trends have increased since the 1970s. Discrimination and the resultant weaker position of many migrants in most societies are often the root cause of the extensive violation of their labour (and human) rights. Migrants in an irregular status are doubly vulnerable and often lack access to justice. Gender-based discrimination exacerbates these processes. It is important also to problematise the categories of forced/voluntary migration as economic migrants are usually assumed to be voluntary but perhaps under certain conditions are arguably also forced. Labour issues permeate both ends of the migration process across transnational space as migrant workers are often trapped in situations in which ‘a bad job’ is better than to return ‘home.’ For instance, low wages and excessive overtime are closely linked to migrants’ remittances.  At the same time, migrant workers are not passive but do take individual and collective actions aimed to improving their working lives and their families’ livelihood. This ‘resistance’ takes place in a limited space full of constraints but may also provide some possibilities for social justice.

Despite frequent incidences of abuse and discrimination, migrants’ labour rights and even more so, women migrants’ labour rights, have remained on the margins of academic debates. We know even less about migrants’ responses and what are the policies and strategies of those organisations working ‘with them’. The aim of this workshop is to bring together people from diverse backgrounds to discuss the theme of labour and economic/forced migration and will give special attention to the practical solutions and policy implications for improving the working lives of migrants in the UK and worldwide. It will take the form of roundtable discussion with plenty of space for discussion of the key issues raised. As well as academics, the organisers will invite participants from a wide range of institutions including trade unions and migrant organisations who can provide us with action-oriented interventions. We call for short academic presentations, as well as contributions in the form of videos, images, photographs and visual art that can inform the open participative discussion. If possible, the workshop will take place in an accessible space to enable wider participation.


Doing Development Dissertations: Undergraduate Research Workshop - at Birkbeck College, University of London, on Friday 4th December 2009, 10.00-17.00

This workshop is aimed at undergraduate students considering doing their final year dissertation on a topic related to Development Geography while being based abroad or in the UK. The workshop will cover a range of practical and intellectual issues, as well as discussing sources of finance for research projects. Further details can be found here on the poster. Please feel free to print it out and place it on your departmental notice board.

Registration NOW OPEN - download the Registration Form here.


DARG-SSQWG Conference: "Sexualities in and of the Global South"- August 25, 2009

DARG-SSQWG Conference: "Sexualities in and of the Global South"- August 25, 2009

DARG will team up with the Space, Sexualities and Queer Working Group (SSQWG) for a joint conference one day before the 2009 RGS-IBG Annual Conference (26-28 August). Contacts: Becky Elmhirst (R.J.Elmhirst@bton.ac.uk) and Kath Browne (K.A.Browne@bton.ac.uk).

One Day Conference Workshop on Sexualities in/of the Global South

Manchester, 25th August 2009

Organised by the Developing Areas Research Group (DARG) and the Space, Sexualities and Queer Working Group (SSQWG) of the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers, UK.

Critical attention is increasingly being directed towards the heterogeneous constitution of sexualities in a global perspective, an engagement that can also shed new light on the social and cultural geographies of the Global South. We understand ‘Global South’ not as a given and fixed geographic region but rather as a term indicating spaces in a subaltern position (related in particular to capitalist and post/colonialist regimes of power) in relation to the Global North. Diverse themes emerge from the recent engagements with sexualities and the Global South: from everyday intimacies to economic relations and sexual health, from arguably heteronormative development interventions to sexual identities, human rights and citizenship.  

This one day workshop has a number of confirmed speakers (including Kate Bedford, Mériam Cheikh, Tony Furlong, Simon Hutta, Nina Laurie, Steve Legg, Laura Paetau and Diane Richardson), who will begin discussions of various, often intersecting, issues:

-          The relation of changing markets and intimacies in Latin America (Bedford)
-          Sexual-economic practices, trafficking and their representations in Morocco (Cheikh), colonial India (Legg) and Nepal (Laurie and Richardson)
-          Everyday experiences, identity performances, and LGBT anti-violence politics in Brazil and Colombia (Furlong, Hutta, Paetau)

This day conference seeks to develop connections and links for those who seek to consider these and further issues relating to sexualities and the Global South. It is designed to be supportive, so that thoughts and topics can be articulated across often segregated areas of study. In this spirit, emerging and embryonic ideas are welcome throughout the event.

The organising team would now like to invite participants to be part of this event, which will include spaces for dialogue and discussion.

The conference will act as a pre-conference to the Royal Geographical Society Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference 2009.  Attendance at the preconference will cost £15 for waged/£5 for unwaged. There are a number of bursaries available to encourage the participation of students and unwaged persons.

To download a registration form click here: DARG-SSQWG workshop registration 



DARG at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2009 "Geographies that matter", August 26-28, Manchester (see below for sponsored sessions)

DARG-Sponsored Sessions at the RGS-IBG Conference 2008


1. The Geography of Development and the World Development Report 2009: ‘Reshaping Economic Geography’

Session convenors: Dr Kate Gough (University of Copenhagen), Dr Emma Mawdsley (University of Cambridge) and Professor Jonathan Rigg (University of Durham)
DARG-sponsored session

The World Development Reports are the World Bank’s flagship annual publication. Their themes, analyses and arguments both reflect and shape mainstream theories of development. The 2009 WDR draws on the ideas and assumptions associated with ‘new economic geography’ to examine trends and dynamics in the geographical concentration of economic activities, and their impacts on development. Density, Distance and Division are set up as three cross-cutting themes, with growing cities, increasingly mobile people, and more specialised products seen as being essential for economic success. The core argument concerns the desirability of economic concentration, balanced with recognition of the policy challenge presented by areas and regions left behind. As with previous WDRs, the report sets out a number of prescriptions based on its analyses.

The session will start with a very brief overview by the convenors of the main features and arguments of the 2009 WDR. Thereafter it will constitute a panel session. We invite expressions of interest from scholars and practitioners who would be interested in contributing to the panel. Formal papers would not be required/presented.

Please email Emma Mawdsley (eem10@cam.ac.uk) to register an interest. A decision on the final panel line-up will be made on the 2 February 2009.


2. Children and young people as knowledge producers

Session organisers: Gina Porter (Durham University), Kate Hampshire (Durham University) and Janet Townsend (Newcastle University)
Co-sponsors:  Geographies of Children, Youth and Family Working Group of the RGS-IBG and Developing Areas Research Group

The 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child represented a particularly important way-mark for child-centred studies because it affirmed children’s rights to participation: the right to give and receive information, rights of association and rights to participation in cultural life.  Since then the potential for young people to participate in a range of other communication and advocacy activities, including a more proactive role in participatory research, has been promoted with growing determination by many child-focused NGOs.   Concepts of children’s rights and empowerment are central to these efforts.  Save the Children’s briefing paper (2000) on research, monitoring and evaluation with children and young people puts the emphasis firmly on partnership with children – the importance of collaborative work between children and adults, but also on allowing children to plan and carry out their own research. 

However, despite the widespread promotion of children’s voices by activists and policy makers in recent years, the potential for young people’s knowledge to impact on adult agendas and policy arenas remains less than certain.   For academics, working with children as research partners [as opposed to research subjects] is by no means beyond dispute.  An exciting but arguably perilous enterprise, it brings to the fore a range of debates around power relations, ethics, capacities and competencies [of all concerned].  Alison James (2007) asks whether research carried out by children necessarily represents a more accurate or authentic account of children’s issues: her warning about the dangers of ethnographic ventriloquism may be salutary. 

In this session we welcome contributions from academics and practitioners who are engaged in [or have concerns about] collaborative research partnerships with young people, whether in the global North or South.

Themes might include:

  • Ethics of child-centred research (including recruitment, facilitation, consents, responsibilities, analytical processes)
  • Spaces and structures of youth participation and ‘voice’
  • Kinds of knowledges produced by/for/with children
  • Consultation versus participation
  • Peer research among young people
  • Methods e.g. self-directed photography, photo-voice, participatory video, participatory action research
  • Young people as active citizens, communicators, advocates
  • Youth-adult relations
  • Gender and age as factors in the collaborative process

To offer a paper to the session, please submit your details (name, institution, email address) and an abstract (max. 250 words) to Gina Porter r.e.porter@durham.ac.uk by 3rd February 2009.


3. The voices of the poor in urban governance: perspectives from the global South

Session organiser: Charlotte Lemanski, University College London
DARG sponsored session

Abstract:  In the context of the rapidly urbanising global South, where the poor constitute the majority of urban dwellers, their ability to use democratic channels to secure political voice (e.g. in order to meet basic needs such as housing and services) is significant.  Papers in this session should focus on issues related to social movements, participatory urban governance, and the political mobilisation of the poor in the context of the global South.  The session will have a particular focus on the dynamics of these issues within the context of post-apartheid South Africa, but presenters are not limited to this empirical focus.

Contact: c.lemanski@ucl.ac.uk


4. Comparative Urbanism

Joint session of DARG and UGSG proposed for August 2009 IBG Conference
Organisers: Colin McFarlane and Jenny Robinson

Urban Geography has long been divided between studies of cities in wealthier and poorer countries, and existing comparative methodologies have often reinforced this. Most comparative studies have been restricted to relatively similar cities - cases are conventionally selected on the basis of similarity on a small number of criteria e.g. relative levels of economic development, form of political system, participation in a specific global processes. Recently there has been a growing interest in new comparative strategies which might enable urban research to attend more effectively to the diverse urban experiences found across a world of cities, with the aim of building theoretical accounts which can speak across this range of experiences (McFarlane, 2006; Robinson, 2006). In this session, we seek examples of comparative research which cross existing divides in urban studies. In particular, we are interested in papers that address the three core session themes:
1)       Research which brings the experiences of wealthier and poorer cities into conversation in some way: perhaps by tracing a connection between different locations, exploring the replication of similar phenomena across different contexts or comparing similar or different outcomes in a particular sphere of urban life across more than one city;
2)       Critical reflections on the possibilities and limits of comparison as a lens through which the urban might be re-imagined or theorised differently;
3)       Broad methodological statements which chart grounds for a new urban comparative project.
Abstracts of 200 words should be submitted to the organisers:Colin McFarlane (colin.mcfarlane@durham.ac.uk) and Jenny Robinson (j.d.robinson@open.ac.uk)


5. Diaspora as a keyword: Interrogating applications of 'diaspora' in contexts of international migration

Session organiser: Lauren Wagner (University College London)
DARG-sponsored session

Arguably, diaspora has become increasingly difficult to apply in a meaningful way as changing forms of international mobility permit varying patterns of emigration and return. Trends towards temporary migration exclude some groups from being ‘diasporic’ in the sense of being permanently uprooted; new modes for migrant communities to maintain contact with the homeland expunges the term of its nostalgically distant undertones. Even prior to Cohen’s (1997) attempt to focus it, its malleability has been reinforced more than any single definition, with multiple voices each claiming an aspect as important (Tölöyan 1996, Shuval 2000, Blunt 2005, Carter 2006, Mavroudi 2007).
The tension between its usage as a political label and as an affective designation seem to be at the heart of the disparity. Appropriation of ‘diaspora’ in lieu of ‘migrant’ as a less negatively marked term has political advantages for some, while for others the affective connotations and particularity of diaspora are abused by such usage (Page & Mercer forthcoming). Conversely application in more affective sense, like that of the African Diaspora originating in slave trade, can eclipse emerging political positions of newly forming African diasporas across the Atlantic and elsewhere.
Both of these kinds of applications indicate part of the trouble in diaspora: where does it end, or begin? As Werbner (2002) questions, what sets it apart from terms like transnational, ethnic, or at some level imagined community? What element does it add to discussions of international migration and migrant communities that is not served elsewhere? When does one stop being a member of the diaspora – at what generation, or stage of life, or at the termination of a political project? Or is diaspora an eternal attribute? Can we maintain a specificity of this term that will make it applicable without constant reconfiguration? Or should it be more broadly defined?
 This panel is proposed as a set of five to six ten-minute invited opinion papers on the state of ‘diaspora’ as it is applied in geography, followed by an open discussion. Invitees include Liz Mavroudi, Sean Carter, Ben Page, Claire Dwyer, JoAnn McGregor, Alison Blunt, Russell King, Peter Jackson, Divya Tolia-Kelly, Pnina Werbner, Giles Mohan, and Jen Dickinson, as well as participants in the Diasporas Migration and Identities research initiative.
For more information, contact Lauren Wagner (l.wagner@ucl.ac.uk)


6. Cities and climate change: understanding urban responses to global environmental change

Session convenor: Harriet Bulkeley (Durham University)
Joint session: DARG and PERG

It is increasingly recognised that cities are critical sites in the response to climate change. As the Stern Review (2006: 457) made clear, given that “by some estimates, cities account for 78% of carbon emissions from human activities”, cities have a crucial role to play in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. As the Review also recognized, cities, and in particular large cities in the global south, are vulnerable to the risks of climate change. Too often, cities have been taken for granted as the backdrop against which the profound transformations of climate change will be played out. However, if we consider cities as “dense networks of interwoven sociospatial processes that are simultaneously local and global, human and physical, cultural and organic” (Swyngedouw and Heynen 2003: 899), it is clear that the very nature of urbanization is profoundly connected to climate change.

In this context, this session will reflect on the current state of the debate concerning the relation between urbanization and climate change. It will consider the ways in which conceptual debates concerning the nature of the urban (including, for example, on governance, urban political ecology, splintering urbanism, socio-technical transitions) can inform research on climate change and the city, and vice versa. Papers that seek to develop conceptual insights about the relation between climate change responses and the urban are encouraged, as are papers that offer new empirical insights into how climate change adaptation and mitigation are being addressed in cities in both the global south and north. Through bringing these bodies of work together, we seek to establish a productive dialogue about how we might understand the potential and limits for urban responses to the climate challenge. In particular, papers which address the following topics are welcome:

  • Governing climate change in the city
  • Urban political ecologies of climate change
  • Climate change and urban socio-technical ‘transitions’
  • Responding to climate change in global cities
  • Urban adaptation and mitigation – synergies or conflicts?

Abstracts of 200 words should be submitted by 6th February 2009 to Harriet Bulkeley, Durham University (h.a.bulkeley@durham.ac.uk)


7. Roundtable conversations: Personal "development" paradigms

Session convenor: Dorothea Kleine (Royal Holloway)
DARG session

As the global economic situation reminds us very firmly how dependent our societies have become on economic growth, this session will be an open invitation to academics and practitioners to have a conversation about our multiple views of "development". As social, economic, physical, cultural, development (etc.) geographers, as academics and practitioners, what are the explicit and implicit development paradigms that we apply in our work? Typical candidates include: economic growth, basic needs, social justice, environmental sustainability, freedom, equal opportunities, health, community cohesion, democracy, education, empowerment, choice, human rights or combinations of these. Have they always been the same? What has shaped our thinking in this regard? Were there world events, authors read, colleagues we listened to, research findings, personal encounters, experiences of other contexts, that influenced our thinking? Is our thinking still changing? What do we do with these personal development paradigms in our professional roles? Do they shape our work? Do they influence our research? Do we discuss them with students? Do we need to make them explicit in our writing?

This session will be in an alternative format, designed to be an informal and unrushed conversation. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate on the day. There will be three short impulse pieces to kick us off, then everybody is invited to contribute. Please feel free to bring along key books, other texts, newspaper cuttings or photographs.


8. Rural South: Development Lessons & Trends

Rural Geography Research Group and Developing Areas Research Group
Session convenors: Bruce Scholten (Durham University) and Charles Howie (Royal Holloway)

This session will be in an alternative format, designed to be an informal and unrushed conversation. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate on the day - feel free to bring along key books, articles, photos etc. There will be three short impulse pieces to kick us off, then everybody is invited to contribute.
After a decade in which the percentage of hungry people fell, the number of undernourished people worldwide rose to 923 million in 2007. Reasons include demand for meat in emerging economies, and the biofuel boom in developed countries. When Bill Clinton told a United Nations meeting that 'we all blew it, including me when I was president. [thinking] we can develop countries around the world without increasing their ability to feed themselves', he signalled that the Washington Consensus was changing. For decades the International Monetary Fund and World Bank enforced the consensus by demanding strict structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) in developing countries, mandating privatisation of state activities, ending subsidies to indigenous farmers and needy consumers, and opening markets to food imports from abroad. Clinton learned that such neoliberal policies often resulted in food insecurity, mordant farm sectors and rural-to-urban migration to sprawling megacities. Lessons have been learned in developing countries too. Vietnam encouraged the planting of coffee for export, but suffered when the finicky world market rejected its beans. Meanwhile, the World Bank acknowledges the development success of India's co-operative-led dairy White Revolution, and seeks to replicate it in Africa - but union employees claim their bosses have lost faith in co-ops and are intent on privatisation. Are there conclusive lessons from such disparate events? Are better trends emerging from them?


9. Sexualities in/of the Global South

Co-sponsored by the Developing Areas Research Group and the Space, Sexualities and Queer Working Group of the RGS-IBG.

Critical comparative attention is increasingly being directed towards the constitution of heterogeneous sexualities, an important but poorly understood dimension of everyday geographies of the Global South. Diverse themes emerge from this work: from everyday intimacies to sexual health, from the assumed heteronormativity of development interventions to sexual identities, human rights and citizenship. The panel follows on from a one-day workshop on sexualities in/of the Global South that precedes the annual conference, but participation in the panel is not limited to those attending the workshop, nor will the workshop dictate the themes being explored in this panel. The format for the panel is built around short contributions from panellists to stimulate debate, followed by a gently facilitated group discussion with an emphasis on informal modes of participation. We therefore invite proposals for 5-10 minute interventions from panellists from a range of disciplinary and sub-disciplinary approaches that explore any of the following themes:

  • The global production of heterogeneous sexualities
  • Sexualities and representation in the global South
  • Identities and/or subject positions: sexualities as understood in and through multiple cultural logics (gender, race, religion, class, nationalism, postcoloniality, inter-generational)
  • Sexualities, practices and behaviours
  • Pleasure, erotics and desires
  • Intimacies, emotions and relationships within and across scales: e.g. conjugality, home/families, through and within transnational networks, migration.
  • Sexuality, religion and faith in the Global South: e.g. religion and sexual rights discourses, sexuality and spirituality, anti-gay fundamentalisms
  • Sexualities and development: heteronormative development discourses and practices, development and institutions that regulate sexualities.
  • Sexualities, health and disease
  • Sexualities and sex work
  • Sexualities and activisms
  • Fieldwork and research relations: the eroticisation of the researcher/researched
  • Sexualities and ‘travelling’ theories, concepts and categories.

Panellists need not limit themselves to these themes; we welcome additional themes and encourage interventions on any topic related to sexualities and the global South.
Please submit a short abstract outlining your intervention to one of the panel convenors:
Kath Browne (K.A.Browne@bton.ac.uk ), Gavin Brown (gpb10@leicester.ac.uk), Simon Hutta (j.s.hutta@open.ac.uk ) or Becky Elmhirst (R.J.Elmhirst@bton.ac.uk)


Past Events:

DARG-Postgraduate Reading Workshop, April 30- May 1, 2009

This two day event will feature reading workshops, regional sessions, a session on research ethics and a keynote by Dr. Giles Mohan (Open University). Contacts: Claire Mercer, Jenny Lunn and Uli Beisel.

Please find the Flier here and the Postgraduate Workshop Application Form here.


DARG-Sponsored Sessions at the RGS-IBG Conference 2008

The RGS-IBG 2008 Conference will be held at the RGS-IBG in London 27-29 August. DARG will be sponsoring six sessions:

1. Climate Change & Development (Co-Sponsored with the Climate Change Research Group)

woman walking in drought-hit Ethiopia

(Photo: www.climateactionprogramme.org)

The 2007 IPCC reports have shown, through overwhelming consensus, that global warming is a real and current problem. Developing areas are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes due to a combination of high climatic sensitivity, high social vulnerability, and compounding socio-economic factors that may reduce adaptability (Boko et al. 2007). Projected future climates in Asia, Africa and South America are highly likely to lead to water and food shortages, increases in health risks and damage to natural ecosystems.

The aim of this session is to draw together the two research groups (CCRG and DARG) and focus on the connections between climate change and developing areas. Papers are invited on any theme relating developing areas and climate change, including:

(1) The science-base of climate change in developing areas, including all aspects of monitoring, modelling and understanding climatic change. Themes could include changing sea-levels, temperature, water balance and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

(2) Impacts of future climate on developing areas, including impacts on health, agriculture, natural and semi-natural ecosystems, water availability, fuel, trade, poverty and political stability. Presentations could also cover the complexities of climate change impacts coupled with 'multiple stresses' caused by other factors, such as urbanisation and rapid industrialisation (Cruz et al. 2007), and the effects of the interactions of climate change and human drivers of environmental change.

(3) Mitigation and adaptation to climate change in developing areas, including social and economic measures, embedding sustainability, 'climate-proofing' policies, specific agricultural adaptations and health policies.

(4) Implications of changing policy and land use in developing areas to climate change, including industrialisation, energy consumption, deforestation and afforestation, agriculture and fire and their role in the global climate system.

Deadline for abstracts (200 words): 20 February 2008
Contact: jeff.blackford@manchester.ac.uk


Boko, M., I. Niang, A. Nyong, C. Vogel, A. Githeko, M. Medany, B. Osman-Elasha, R. Tabo and P. Yanda, 2007: Africa. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge UK, 433-467.

2. 'Translocal' Geographies (Co-Sponsored with the Political Geography Research Group)

Session Organisers: Katherine Brickell and Ayona Datta (London School of Economics)
Sponsored by DARG and PGRG

Discussant: Divya Tolia-Kelly

"For many national citizens, the practicalities of residence and the ideologies of home, soil, and roots are often disjunct, so that the territorial referents of civic loyalty are increasingly divided for many persons among difference spatial horizons: work loyalties, residential loyalties, and religious loyalties may create disjunct registers of affiliation." (Appadurai, 1996: 47)

Translocality is widely understood in the context of globalisation as emphasising the continued sense of locatedness within geographical space. Translocality thereby evokes the multiple forms of mobility, both past and present, shaping the 21st century without losing sight of the importance of localities in people’s lives.

This session seeks to explore the potential contribution that geographers can make to ongoing inter-disciplinary debates to translocality at different scales – the body, workplace, home, city, country, province, region, nation, and cosmopolitanism, without necessarily being bound by the framework of nation-states. Reflecting on the changing nature of mobility and connections in the contemporary world, this session aims to experiences and practices of translocality – both material and symbolic – past and present. With the increasing academic interest on migration and transnationality, is there a scope for conceptualising translocal practices that makes connections between localities? In what ways can translocality be seen in the simultaneous micro-scale experiences of the body and macro-scale production of spatial imaginaries? In what ways can translocality capture the lives of those living in several scales, or in numerous places simultaneously? How do factors such as gender, class, race, and ethnicity shape translocality? How do experiences and meanings of translocality vary cross-culturally, in different contexts?

Theoretical and empirical papers are welcomed examining all aspects of translocality.

Proposed papers in the form of a 200 word abstract should be submitted to Katherine Brickell (k.a.brickell@lse.ac.uk) by 20th February 2008.

3. Emerging themes in Development Geography

We invite postgraduate and early career researchers to submit papers relating to any theme within development geography or geographies in/of the global South. These may range from stand-alone theoretical pieces; to papers based on recent field-based studies. The panel offers a space for emerging scholars to present their research in a positive and supportive environment. It is an opportunity to try out new presentation techniques, to gain experience in presenting papers and also to meet colleagues working across the UK and beyond.

Please send expressions of interest and/or abstracts to: c.lemanski@ucl.ac.uk

Deadline for title and abstracts (c. 200 words): 20th February 2008

4. Development Theory that Matters: Critical Contributions from Geography

This session breaks with conventional style in that it will consist almost entirely of group discussion. The subject will be the state of development theory today – taking stock, looking forward. The discussion will be gently facilitated, and to stimulate the debate, we wish to commission a number of five-ten minute ‘think pieces’ from academics, activists and policy circles. We aim to encourage critical evaluations of theoretical trends and patterns; explore the inter-relations between theories and practices; and examine the location of development theories within and beyond Geography as an intellectual discipline (the latter would include how theoretical advances in development geography or insights from development geographers may be influencing research agendas within the wider discipline). Our ‘principles of engagement’ for the session are that everyone has an equal entitlement to speak and be heard, with maximum participation in the discussion. As such, this is not a call for papers, but for expressions of interest in attending the session, and for suggestions on issues and style. We would like to solicit offers of short, pithy (and possibly provocative!) five–ten minute think pieces that engage with Geography and development theory.

Deadline for offers of short ‘think pieces’/discussion points: 20 February 2008
Contact: Emma Mawdsley (eem10@cam.ac.uk)


5. Critical Geographies of Participatory Development and Civil Society in Transitional (Post-) Conflict Environments

Organizer: Jennifer McCarthy, King’s College London

Chair: Daanish Mustafa, King’s College London

This paper session aims to peel away the layers of meaning and practice in participatory development in a range of developing areas in order to energize discourse surrounding improved development practices in post-conflict or conflict environments. The session will critically analyze geographies of participatory development and investigate the challenges facing development and civil society in post-conflict or conflict environments existing within the socially or politically constructed spaces of participation. Papers will address complexities in and among issues of power relations, power structures, shifting local governance, conceptions of civil society, citizen identity, representation, and gender in an attempt to link these issues to practical development realities including (but not limited to) land ownership, human rights, displacement, political representation, rural infrastructure development and livelihoods. This call is seeking papers which articulate the complexities of practicing participatory development in environments that are broadly considered post-conflict but that have not fully moved into a post-conflict mode, but will also welcome papers addressing the same issues in current conflict environments. Here, the definition of conflict is broad and encompasses non-violent as well as violent conflict. We also invite papers which address human 'beneficiary' engagement with participation and highlight the intricacies of post-conflict development as experienced by target populations, potentially theorizing the concrete and drawing out the critical geographies of participation in order to expand upon and enhance applications of participatory development.

Please send paper abstracts of up to 250 words to Jennifer McCarthy at jennifer.mccarthy@kcl.ac.uk by February 20th, 2008.

6. Development structures and processes

Organisers: Jonathan Rigg, University of Durham
Kate Gough, University of Copenhagen

Chair: Jonathan Rigg

The world is now, on some measures, a more urban than a rural place, for the first time in history. But while the raw data may imply that a line has been crossed, the place-based reality is one of partial transformations and ambiguity in the character of spaces, the structure of livelihoods, and in identities and identifications. This has implications for how we understand and interpret trajectories of development and development interventions. In light of these changes, the proposed panel seeks to explore the implications of such partial but on-going transformations for our understanding of processes of development, the categories and categorisations that we apply to the people and places we study, and the social and cultural structures that are regarded as representative of such people and places. Papers concerned with any region of the Global South are welcomed.

Deadline for abstracts (up to 250 words): 20th February 2008
Contact: j.d.rigg@durham.ac.uk


Doing Development Dissertations Workshop: Saturday 9th December 2006

DARG’s undergraduate workshop on ‘Doing Development Dissertations’ was held at University College London on Saturday 9th December 2006 with support from the RGS-IBG. Around 35 students from a wide range of Geography departments attended. The workshop started with a session on research design, led by Ben Page (UCL), followed by sessions on ethical issues (Katie Willis, Royal Holloway), logistics (Jon Oldfield, Birmingham) and working with research assistants (Becky Elmhirst, Brighton). Following lunch, everyone divided up for parallel sessions on various research methods, including rapid and participatory appraisal (Becky Elmhirst), representation and content analysis (Emma Mawdsley, Cambridge), focus groups, interviews and life histories (Jon Oldfield) and questionnaires and surveys (Ben Page). The day concluded with an opportunity for participants to talk over project ideas and discuss region-specific issues with convenors who were able to offer particular regional expertise. A highlight of the day was a talk by Siobhan Luikham, a UCL Geography graduate whose dissertation won this year’s DARG undergraduate dissertation prize (see item above). Siobhan had attended the previous workshop in 2004, and was able to pass on advice and her experiences doing her dissertation research in Ghana to this year’s participants. Feedback has been universally positive, and DARG expects to convene another workshop of this kind next autumn.



DARG Annual General Meeting 2006

The DARG AGM was held on Wednesday 30th August at the RGS-IBG Annual conference. For copies of the Minutes, Chair's Report and Accounts, please click on the appropriate link below:

DARG AGM 2006 Unconfirmed Minutes

DARG Chair's Report 2006

DARG Accounts 2005-6



DARG-Sponsored Sessions at RGS-IBG Conference 2006

The RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2006 will be held in London 30 August- 1 September. DARG sponsored a number of sessions. Reports will be posted in due course.

1. Environmental justice – movements and mobilisations (Jointly sponsored with Planning & Environment Research Group)

2. Migrant workers in global cities: linking the Global South and Global North (Jointly Sponsored with the Economic geography Research group)

3. Worker Empowerment and Collective Action in a Global Economy: Bridging the Divide Between Economic and Development Geographies (Jointly Sponsored with the Economic Geography Research group)

4. Global social justice and neoliberalism: Voices from the ‘margins’ (Jointly Sponsored with the Post-Socialist Geographies Research Group & the Economic Geography Research group)

5. Postcoloniality, care and responsibility (Jointly Sponsored with the Women & Geography Study Group)

6. Disasters, Development and Generosity (Co-Sponsored with the Climate Change research group)



Joint Regional Meeting on Global Change and Caribbean Vulnerability, Jamaica, 24-28 July 2006

The Climate Change Research Group and the Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers are holding a joint Regional Meeting on Global Change and Caribbean Vulnerability: Environment, Economy and Society at Risk? to be held in conjunction with the Department of Geography and Geology at The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. The meeting will take place on 24-28 July 2006.

All interested members of DARG are invited to attend.

For details contact one of the following: Duncan McGregor (d.mcgregor@rhul.ac.uk), David Barker (david.barker@uwimona.edu.jm) or David Dodman (david.dodman@uwimona.edu.jm).



Postgraduate Workshop: University of Liverpool 31 May - 1 June 2006

This event, co-organised with the Development Studies Association (DSA) attracted about fifty postgraduate students from all over the country. The programme included presentations about research epistemology and design, ethical issues, data collection, vivas and the publication process. There were also many opportunities for students to discuss their work, either in formal poster sessions or over refreshments! It is hoped that this collaboration between DARG and the DSA will continue in the future.


DARG-Sponsored sessions at RGS-IBG Conference 2005

The 2005 RGS-IBG Conference was held 31 August to 2 September at the RGS-IBG in London. DARG sponsored four sessions during the conference:

1. Young Rural Lives: Global Perspectives on Rural childhood and Youth (co-sponsored with RGSG)

2. The Imperial Present: The Impacts of 9-11 on Development Geographies

3. Ordinary Spaces of Urban Development (co-sponsored with UGRG)

4. Spaces and Flows of Technological Transformation: a ‘Development’ Perspective (co-sponsored with the ICT4D Collective)



The First International development Studies Conference

This was held in Boulder, CO USA, Monday and Tuesday (April 4th and 5th 2005). The goal of the meeting was to bring a core group of international development scholars together to share papers, ideas and to get to know each other. It included papers, discussion panels and interaction with a pre-AAG Political Geography Specialty Group Meeting. The meeting was sponsored by the new Developing Areas Specialty Group within the AAG and the Developing Areas Research and Teaching Program (DART) on CU's campus. DARG was a partner for this meeting.

For further details see IDSC Boulder Website



'Doing Development Dissertations' Workshop, Birkbeck College, University of London, saturday 20th November 2004

DARG organised this one-day workshop for undergraduate students who are thinking of doing their dissertation on an aspect of development geography. Over 50 students attended and the progamme included sessions on research design, ethics in fieldwork, fieldwork logistics and a range of research methods. Given the success of this event, it will be repeated in future years, probably in a location in northern England.



The DARG AGM was held during the IGU Congress in Glasgow in August 2004. Click here for a copy of the minutes.


International Geographical Union Congress, Glasgow 15-20 August 2004

The Annual RGS-IBG Conference was part of the 30th Congress of the International Geographical Union in Glasgow. DARG sponsored a session entitled 'Development of NGOs and the state under 'good governance': Critical voices or collaborators in neo-liberalism?'


Development NGOs and the state under 'good governance': critical voices or collaborators in neoliberalism?

Session Organisers: Professor Fatima Alikhan, Professor Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf, Dr Peter Kyei, Dr Emma Mawdsley, Dr Gina Porter, Professor Saraswati Raju, Dr Janet Townsend, Dr Rameswari Varma.

Multilateral and bilateral development institutions have, since the mid/late 1990s, re-evaluated their former hostility to the state. Under the good governance agenda, they have, amongst other things, encouraged states to enter into 'partnership' with development NGOs, which are taken to stand for and represent 'civil society'. A significant proportion of funding which once by-passed the state, and went directly to development NGOs, is now being re-directed through state bureaucracies through mechanisms such as multi-donor budget support. In addition, many states are increasing their financial support to NGOs, as they 'outsource' emergency, development and welfare functions. Papers considered the implications of these changes around the world. Particular areas of interest include whether closer collaboration with state bureaucracies and politicians allows development NGOs to have a greater impact on positive change, or whether this relationship ends up silencing critical and alternative voices. Session programme.


RGS-IBG Conference 2003

At the Royal Geographical
Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) Annual Conference in London in
September 2003 DARG was involved in sponsoring or co-sponsoring eight sessions:
'Children and Youth in Developing Areas'
'Cities in Transitional Economies and Urban China'
'Environmental Risk Under Political Transition.’ Session report
'The Peri-Urban Interface in Developing Areas: Approaches to Sustainable Natural and Human Resource Use.' Session report
'Postcolonial Geographies of Development'
'Sustainable Resource Use: Critical Issues in Developing Areas.' Session report
'Understanding Globalisation: Economics or Development?'
'Water and Politics in Africa.' Session report


DARG Workshops

We also hold regular workshops and conferences throughout the year.
Two DARG workshops took place 2003: The first, Perspectives on Health and Development took place in Liverpool in May 2003 and
Uncertain Transitions: Youth in a Comparative Perspective was held in June.



last updated: April 24, 2012
site maintained by: Dr Dorothea Kleine, Department of Geography,
Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX
Email: dorothea.kleine@rhul.ac.uk