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Past Visiting Faculty

Spring 2018 - Professor Michael Löwy - Nature, Modernity, and Social Theory: the challenge of the Anthropocene

Abstract: The planet is said to be entering a new geological era, the Anthropocene, where the pattern of human social reproduction is seriously threatening the natural environment and provoking dramatic climate change. Classical social theorists from Karl Marx to Max Weber were not unaware of the changing nexus between society and nature, but it did not occupy a central place in their theories.  This course will explore the ecological turn in social theory via critical readings of both classical and contemporary social theory.


Spring 2017: Professor James Fairhead and Professor Nigel Eltringham (University of Sussex) - Representational Controversies in International Development in Africa

The relationship between power and the production of knowledge concerning development problems has been a preoccupation in international development at least since the postcolonial literatures of the 1980 and 1990s (Escobar, Ferguson, Sachs) inspired by the wider critiques by Foucault, Said and in Africa, Mudimbe’s ‘The Invention of Africa’ .  These works problematized the production and prioritization of development problems and agendas in Africa. The question arises: what has changed? In this course we examine cases relating to international development in Africa through which the nature of development problems is contested in the domains of environment, health, and conflict to probe current Power/Knowledge configurations, reflecting also on how globalized popular media (film and literature) have become part of this.