“The Progress Paradox: Critical Perspectives on Development” Conference at Swarthmore College

The Progress Paradox conference will explore how conventional notions of development have had and continue to have global and local repercussions often overlooked by mainstream perspectives within academia and the development sector. More specifically, we are interested in critiquing current notions of development by drawing on international case studies, while also adopting an interdisciplinary approach that includes voices from the fields of economics, political science, environmental studies, history, sociology, and anthropology.

The Conference is organized by a committee of Swarthmore College students interested in fostering critical debate around issues such as the “fight against poverty,” non-profit and governmental work in the “developing world,” international efforts at “greening” the economy, and the like. We aim to enliven the conversation around what our notions of “the good life” are or can be, and to collectively search for concrete socially, culturally, environmentally restorative alternatives. We warmly invite attendees from the Swarthmore College community, the Tri-College community, and beyond.

The Conference is sponsored by the Rollover Fund Grant Committee, Provost’s Office, the President’s Office, the Dean’s Office, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Gender Education, the Political Science Department, and the Latin American Studies Department.


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