Development in Crisis: States, Conflicts, Refugees. – 14 March, SOAS

9th Mar 2017


Professor Gilbert Achcar (SOAS, UK)

Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (UCL, UK)

Professor James Putzel (LSE, UK)

Chaired by Dr Zoë Marriage (SOAS, UK)

Introduced by Dr Michael Jennings (SOAS, UK)

Development in Crisis: States, Conflicts, Refugees.

Celebrating 25 Years of Development Studies at SOAS

Tuesday, 14 March, 5-7PM

Room: SOAS Alumni Lecture Theatre (ALT), Room 110, Senate House North Block


Since Development Studies was first taught at SOAS 25 years ago, the SOAS Department of Development Studies has provided critical perspectives on a wide range of issues that have gone on to shape development theory and practice. This panel brings together specialists in different areas of Development Studies to discuss what we have learnt about development amidst crisis and instability in the last quarter of a century, and to celebrate the contribution of the SOAS Department of Development Studies to key debates in the field. Panellists will provide critical perspectives on the state, war and migration, and how each impacts and reshapes development in different parts of the world, reflecting on how thinkers and practitioners have problematised the emerging landscape of ‘development’. They will also focus on the role that SOAS scholarship has played in advancing the intellectual currents in these areas, and look to the future of the discipline.


Gilbert Achcar is Professor of Development Studies and International Relations in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS. He has taught and/or researched in various universities and research centres in Beirut, Berlin and Paris. Gilbert’s research interests and publication topics include: the political economy and sociology of globalisation, the global power structure and grand strategy, empire theory and the unfolding of US hegemony globally and in the ‘Broader Middle East’, politics and development economics of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, the sociology of religion in general, of Islam and Islamic fundamentalism in particular, social change and social theory. His most recent publications include Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising (Stanford, 2016) and The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising (University of California Press, 2013). Gilbert’s books have been published in Arabic, Chinese (Mainland and Taiwan), English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Urdu.

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is Reader in Human Geography at UCL. Elena‘s research focuses on the intersections between gender, generation and religion in experiences of and responses to conflict-induced displacement and statelessness, with a particular regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa. She is the Co-Director of UCL’s Migration Research Unit, and is the coordinator of the Refuge in a Moving World research network across UCL (@RefugeMvingWrld). Her recent publications include The Ideal Refugees: Gender, Islam and the Sahrawi Politics of Survival (Syracuse University Press, 2014) and South-South Educational Migration, Humanitarianism and Development: Views from the Caribbean, North Africa and the Middle East (Routledge, 2015).

James Putzel is Professor of Development Studies at LSE and was the director of LSE’s research programme on Crisis States, which was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK government. From 1996 to 1999, he was a member of the British Academy’s Southeast Asia Committee. From September 1999 until January 2001 he was a Managing Editor of the Journal of Development Studies and remains a member of the editorial board. He is most well-known for his book, A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines (Monthly Review Press, 1992), and in 1999, he won the Dudley Seers annual prize for his article, ‘The Business of Aid: Transparency and Accountability in European Union Development Assistance” (Journal of Development Studies). His current research is focused on politics and governance in crisis states including work on understanding ‘failed states’, political Islam in Southeast Asia and the politics of the HIV/AIDS crisis.


Zoë Marriage is Reader in Development Studies in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS. She has degrees from Oxford University (BA) and the London School of Economics (MSc and PhD). She has researched extensively in countries affected by conflict in Africa and is the author of Not Breaking the Rules, Not playing the game. International Assistance to Countries at War (Hurst and Co., 2006). More recently Zoë has focused on the relationship between security and development in the Democratic Republic of Congo, publishing on demobilisation and the imposition and pursuit of security in her book Formal Peace and Informal War (Routledge, 2013). She is currently working on a political economy of capoeira, the Brazilian dance-fight-game.


Michael Jennings is Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Development Studies at SOAS. He has degrees from the University of Oxford and London (SOAS), and has taught and researched at Oxford and the Centre for Development Studies at Swansea University. His research interests include: the politics and history of development processes in sub-Saharan Africa; governance, civil society, non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisations; and social aspects of health in Africa. He is the author of Surrogates of the State: Non-Governmental Organisations, Development and Ujamaa in Tanzania (Kumarian Press, 2007), Development, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organisations: Bridging the Sacred and the Secular (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) co-authored with Gerard Clarke, and The Charitable Impulse: Non-Governmental Organisations in East and North-East Africa (James Currey Publishers, 2001) co-authored with Ondine Barrow.


All welcome, no need to book but please do arrive early to be sure of a seat. We look forward to seeing you there.