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Catalyzing innovative research and instruction on global development.


The Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Institute for Global Development supports theoretical and applied social science research. We fund projects and working groups that address issues ranging from economic inequality to discursive politics, contributing to Cornell’s leadership in global development. 

Established in 2001 within the Department of Development Sociology, the Polson Institute has enhanced and extended the efforts of the department members, creating space for collaboration within and between Development Sociology, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Cornell University community. Through seminars, workshops, and grants we not only plant seeds for research and academic collaboration, but contribute to educational opportunities for students outside of the classroom.

Banner image courtesy of David Sasaki on Flickr.

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Changing the World, One Website at a Time

Aug 22, 2017

Given our current age of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” moving sociological research into the hands of a wider audience has taken on added importance. And while the discipline has seen vigorous debate about the role and value of public sociology, I have begun to consider how to actively awaken my fellow citizens to what C. Wright Mills described as understanding one’s personal troubles within the context of the sociological imagination—particularly with respect to the dynamics of American poverty and inequality. Read more

Left-Wing Politics and Women's Leadership in Latin America

Apr 13, 2017

The recent shift towards right-wing conservatism in several countries in Latin America has generated a pessimistic future for populist and leftist political parties and movements in the region. Nowhere are these discussions about the future of the “new left” more prevalent than in Peru, where former left-leaning presidential candidate Verónika Mendoza and the Frente Amplio movement gained rapid popularity and received nearly twenty-percent of the electoral votes in the 2016 elections. The Polson Institute for Global Development, along with partners, brought Candidate Mendoza to Cornell to speak. Read more

Polson Institute Offering Visiting Faculty Program

Aug 31, 2016

The Polson Institute for Global Development in the Department of Development Sociology is planning to institute a Visiting Faculty Program on a three year trial basis. The program will begin in the spring of 2017. The main objective of the program is to expand graduate course offerings in the department and the faculty resources available to our graduate students. A secondary objective of the program is to provide opportunities for faculty and/or graduate students to work with visiting faculty on joint projects.
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