Development Studies Program, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Emory University

"Development" is a keyword of the post-World War II era whose significance has become even more important as parts of the world grow closer in time and space. The growing hunger, poverty, and human rights abuses around the globe raise important challenges for faculty and students who wish to work internationally, and present Emory with both an obligation and an opportunity.  How can we understand and address growing inequality and approach development issues in a more humanistic, compassionate fashion that is respectful of cultural differences and the rights of the poor to a dignified, meaningful life?  Emory has placed the study of development and its practice at the center of its curriculum, research and outreach activities.

We believe that the best approach to development, and one that fits with Emory's mission, is to think of development as the sustained improvement of the human condition based on how people define their rights to such improvements.  This rights-based vision is one that will be alert to the structural dynamics of economies, to the culturally defined rights of individuals and communities, and to the social structures in which people live. Our basic assumption is that human rights, wellbeing, and sustainability are bound up together in ways that make them fundamental to the understanding and "practice" of development.

The new Development Studies Program, Emory College of Arts and Sciences takes up this challenge.  Established in 2009, the program coordinates graduate and undergraduate offerings in development-related courses, sponsors and co-sponsors speakers and events in the college, initiates interdisciplinary research programs, and supports a post-doctoral fellowship and program for scholars and practitioners.  In the Fall 2011 an interdisciplinary minor in development studies was initiated.  Our general goal is to foster an interdisciplinary and integrative approach to rights-based development by giving students and faculty the opportunity to engage in development study and practice outside of the university, in the larger Atlanta community and abroad.  We strive to break down the artificial barrier between cutting-edge scholarship and informed practice and policy that has so often constrained conversations between academics and development practitioners.  Among the disciplines that participate in the Development Studies Program include African studies, anthropology, economics, environmental sciences, history, Latin American and Caribbean studies, political science, public and global health, sociology, and women studies.

The Development Studies Program (DSP) draws support from many vibrant development resources and initiatives at the University. For instance, the Emory Development Initiative (EDI), housed in the College of Arts & Sciences, has pioneered coursework with undergraduate students and facilitated student visits to developing countries (including Mali, Rwanda, and Tanzania) where they have engaged first-hand with the planning and practice of development.  Importantly, this initiative helped to establish the Student Coalition for Empowering Emerging Nations (SCEEN) in 2006, an undergraduate organization which has been involved with study tours to developing countries and support for development-related NGOs around Atlanta, including the Malaria Foundation. Another recent initiative was the formation in 2006 of the university-wide Institute for Developing Nations (IDN).  IDN is a joint partnership between Emory and The Carter Center that supports action-oriented research and partnerships with institutions in developing countries.   Finally, the DSP works closely with the university's Master's Degree in Development Practice (MDP), a new program partially funded by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation that enrolled its first students in Fall 2010.

As a very new program, the DSP still is evolving and this web site will be updated as new initiatives begin.  Stay tuned!  In the interim, feel free to browse the content and learn about the development studies community at Emory.

Peter D. Little

Director, Development Studies Program and

Professor of Anthropology