Gustavo Esteva

Photo Credit: Local to Global Justice 2009

Gustavo Esteva is a Mexican activist, a “deprofessionalized intellectual from the South, and founder of Universidad de la Tierra in Oaxaca, Mexico. He is one of the best-known advocates of Post-Development. Esteva is not an economist, but has received Mexico’s National Prize of Political Economy, and though not a sociologist was President of the 5th World Rural Sociology Congress. He also served as President of the Mexican Society of Planning, as Vice-president of the Inter-American Society of Planning, and served as Board Member and Interim Chairman of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Esteva has published three dozen books and hundreds of essays and articles published around the world in numerous languages, such as Grassroots Postmodernism: Remaking the Soil of Cultures and Escaping Education: Living as Learning at the Grassroots. He also publishes regular columns in leading Mexican newspapers. He was invited by the Zapatistas to be their advisor, in 1996. Since then, he has been very active in Zapatismo, involving himself with the current struggle of the indigenous peoples. He lives in a small Zapotec village in the south of Mexico.

Immanuel Wallerstein

Photo Credit: Clayton Conn

Wallerstein is a preeminent sociologist, historian, and world-systems analyst. He attended Columbia University, where he received a B.A. in 1951, an M.A. in 1954 and a Ph.D. degree in 1959, and subsequently taught until 1971, when he became professor of sociology at McGill University. As of 1976, he served as distinguished professor of sociology at Binghamton University (SUNY) until his retirement in 1999, and as head of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems and Civilizations until 2005. Wallerstein has held several positions as visiting professor at universities worldwide, was awarded multiple honorary degrees, intermittently served as Directeur d’études associé at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and was president of the International Sociological Association between 1994 and 1998. During the 1990s, he chaired the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences. The object of the commission was to indicate a direction for social scientific inquiry for the next 50 years. In 2000 he joined the Yale Sociology department as Senior Research Scholar. In 2003 he received the Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association. His most important work, The Modern World-System, has appeared in four volumes in 1974, 1980, 1989 and 2011, with two planned volumes still forthcoming. In his words, “I have argued that world‑systems analysis is not a theory but a protest against neglected issues and deceptive epistemologies. It is a call for intellectual change (…) an intellectual task that is and has to be a political task as well.”

Christy Schuetze

Photo Credit: Swarthmore College

Christy Schuetze is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Swarthmore College. She has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, and has conducted extensive research in Mozambique. Her dissertation was titled The World is Upside Down: Women’s Participation in Religious Movements and the Search for Social Healing in Central Mozambique. Among other publications, she has co-authored with Carolien Jacobs Justice With Their Own Hands: Lynching, Poverty, Witchcraft, and the State of Mozambique and is currently working on an article entitled Restore the Mountain? Local perspectives on the Conservation of Mount Gorongosa. Her research and teaching interests include anthropology of Africa, globalization; anthropology of development; health and society; environmental anthropology; post-colonial economics and gender; and state and traditional relations in governance. Among other classes, she teaches a first-year seminar on “Development and Its Discontents,” as well as “Anthropological Perspectives on Conservation” and “Culture and Religion in Africa.”

Timothy Burke

Photo Credit: Swarthmore College

Timothy Burke is a Professor of History at Swarthmore College. His main field of specialty is modern African history, specifically southern Africa. Burke teaches a wide variety of courses, including “Environmental History of Africa,” “Social History of Consumption,” and “Development and Modern African: Historical Perspectives,” which examines the idea and practice of “development” and “progress” in the last century of African life through its intellectual, institutional and economic history. Professor Burke is the author of Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women: Commodification, Consumption and Cleanliness in Modern Zimbabwe (Duke University Press, 1996), and is currently completing a book on individual experience and agency in 20th century Zimbabwe.



Stephen O’Connell

Photo Credit: Swarthmore College

Stephen O’Connell is a Professor of Economics at Swarthmore College. He is an authority on the political economy of Africa and on macroeconomic policy in low-income developing countries. With Benno Ndulu of the World Bank and under the auspices of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Nairobi, O’Connell has spent the last several years coordinating a large research project on the post-independence economic performance of African countries. The results are presented in The Political Economy of Economic Growth in Africa, 1960-2000, a two-volume study from Cambridge University Press (2007). He is currently working on the monetary policy management of surges in foreign aid, and collaborating with colleague Steve Golub on the UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) study of trade and development strategies for the least-developed countries.


Emma Waitzman ’14

Photo Credit:

Emma is a sophomore at Swarthmore College, where she intends to major in Biology and Sociology/Anthropology. While in high school Emma was a leader in the Comprehensive Sexual Education movement in Utah, an Abstinence-only curriculum state. She has volunteered in Arizona on a Hopi reservation to restore a well and a spiritual house. Emma spent the summer of 2011 in La Gonave, Haiti to better understand an area frequented by the media for its poverty yet underrepresented for its culture and humanity. Emma will be presenting a paper she wrote for Prof. Christy Schuetze’s seminar on “Development and its Discontents.”



Maria Thomson ’14

Photo Credit:

.Maria is a current sophomore at Swarthmore College, where she plans to major in Sociology and Anthropology and minor in French and Francophone Studies. She is currently on the Managing Committee for the national organization STAND (a student-led network devoted to mass atrocities education and advocacy), where she holds the position of Advocacy Coordinator.  She is interested in migration and the effects of conflict on civilian populations, and is currently studying how spatial constructions such as borders and camps regulate these populations.  Maria will be presenting a paper she wrote for Prof. Christy Schuetze’s seminar on “Development and its Discontents.”



Noel Ortega

Photo Credit: Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty Images

Noel Ortega is the coordinator of the New Economy Working Group (NEWGroup), which is a partnership between YES! Magazine, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and the People-Centered Development Forum (PCDForum). The NEWGroup believes the basic design elements of the New Economy are largely known, and sees its task as pulling these together into a coherent, compelling, and accessible story of possibility, backed by a practical action agenda and popular education campaign. Noel is co-founder of several student organizations such as Global Resistance Network at Mt. San Antonio College, and Students To End Hunger and Poverty at the University of California at Irvine. He has also taken-on leadership roles with Students for Peace and Justice, the Worker-Student Alliance, United Students for Fair Trade, The Real Food Challenge, and the Student Trade Justice Campaign, and he is an OXFAM America CHANGE leader. Before becoming the National Coordinator of STJC, Noel coordinated the campaign Justice For the Americas at SJTC, which focused on defeating Free Trade Agreements between the United States and Latin America.

Brian Czech

Photo Credit: Center for the Study of Ethics at UVU

Dr. Brian Czech is the founding President of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE), and a Visiting Professor at Virginia Tech, where he teaches ecological economics. A prolific author in a variety of venues, his scientific articles have appeared in dozens of peer-reviewed journals, dealing primarily with ecological and economic sustainability issues. His books include Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train, which calls for an end to uneconomic growth, and The Endangered Species Act: History, Conservation Biology, and Public Policy. A third book, Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads, is scheduled for publication in 2012. Brian is also a Conservation Biologist in the national office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where he received a 2010 Star Award for outstanding performance. Described by Publisher’s Weekly as “as good at popularizing economics as Carl Sagan was science,” Dr. Czech argues that mainstream economics is based on a dangerously flawed theory of economic growth, which can be dismantled through ecological principles.

Katie Gillett

Get On The Bus Productions, middle: Katie Gillett. Photo Credit: Puran Chand Sharma

Katie Gillett is a photojournalist, filmmaker and activist working for social change through media. After studying International Development and Multimedia Journalism at Boston University, she co-founded Get On the Bus Productions with Tarini Manchanda and Moriah Mason. In 2010 they produced “Groundwater Up”, an upbeat (and slightly offbeat) documentary exploring the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the water crisis in Delhi, India, and of mega dams constructed outside of the city to meet the water demand. “Groundwater Up” has been screened at film festivals and events including Voices from the Waters International Film Festival in Bangalore, India; Rivers for Life 3: The Third International Meeting of Dam-Affected People and Their Allies in Temacapulín, Mexico; and the Kriti Ecofestival in Delhi, India, as well as in various classrooms and universities across the U.S. In addition to her film work, Katie has worked as a solidarity organizer with farm worker and immigrant communities in Florida, facilitated workshops at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit and Connecting for Change/Bioneers By the Bay in New Bedford, MA, and currently works with the Huairou Commission, an international coalition of grassroots women’s groups. She is based in Brooklyn.

Jennifer Jones

Photo Credit: Personal Archive

Dr. Jennifer Jones is a political ecologist who employs a transdisciplinary approach to explore the relationships between nature, conservation, and globalization. Her interests include environmental governance, biodiversity policy, land tenure, social impacts of conservation, and food justice. She has served as a Visiting Professor of Environmental Studies at Williams College, and has spent five years in South Africa researching the impact of protected areas on local communities. She is currently a program manager and faculty member for the International Honors Program and teaches for Virginia Tech.  She has more than ten years of experience managing experiential education programs around the world, and has traveled, taught, and conducted research in more than 25 countries. Dr. Jones received a Ph.D. and an MS in Environment and Society from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.  She resides in Knoxville, TN.



GEAR is a youth-led media project and educational platform which uses stories and research to challenge the current economic paradigm and its power structures. GEAR monitors the development of climate “solutions” rooted in neoliberalism, agribusiness, and international finance. GEAR believes current proposals for a ‘green capitalism’ represent neocolonialism, the commodification of nature, and the corporate take-over of the environmental debate. Instead, GEAR advocates for a rights-based approach to current environmental concerns, which recognizes human rights, community and indigenous peoples’ rights, and the rights of nature.


Lindsey Gillies

Photo Credit: Gears of Change

Project Coordinator, GEAR

An award-winning journalist, community organizer, and environmental activist, Lindsey has worked with global economic policy and social movements in Tanzania, India, New Zealand and Mexico.

Lindsey led the GEAR team at the United Nations  COP16 and COP17 climate negotiations in 2010 and 2011.




Keith Brunner

Photo Credit: Gears of Change

Media Coordinator, GEAR

Keith is an environmental organizer and educator who has been organizing around the climate crisis since 2007, working with youth of multiple age ranges.

Keith was GEAR’s media coordinator at the United Nations COP16 and COP17 climate negotiations in 2010 and 2011, and organizes locally in Vermont with various groups.



Craig Borowiak

Photo Credit: Haverford College

Craig Borowiak is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Haverford College. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from Carleton College and a Ph. D in Political Science from Duke University. Trained in political philosophy and political economy, his teaching and research interests focus on globalization, democratic theory, transnational civil society, critical cosmopolitanism, the history of political economic thought, and alternative economy movements. He has written the book Accountability and Democracy: The Pitfalls and Promise of Popular Control (Oxford University Press, 2011). Most recently, he has begun a new research project on the spread of solidarity economy practices worldwide. These practices and the transnational networks that surround them aim to forge alternative economies around principles of social solidarity, cooperation, and community-based development. He studies their potential and limitations as alternatives to mainstream capitalism and as reflecting counter-hegemonic forms of globalization.

  • Note: Speakers are listed chronologically (in speaking order). 

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