Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, CASID’s 2020 Annual Conference was cancelled; this was especially disappointing given the incredibly timely theme around which the conference had been convened and the many hours of hard work by CASID members and the Executive to bring the meeting to life. As a result, we are excited to announce that the CASID 2021 Conference will revisit the 2020 theme around decolonizing ‘development’, but do so through a lens which also examines the impact of the pandemic on ‘development’.
Towards 2030: Decolonizing ‘Development’ to Bridge Extremes in an Age of Polarization and Pandemic
‘Development’ is a colonialist project. We cannot ignore its exploitative effects, including dispossession, enslavement, forced migration, and militarization, on Indigenous Peoples, Black people and people of colour, and other marginalized groups. CASID 2021 reflects on this and contemplates how we move forward as contemporary societies face increasingly polarized contexts – socio-economic, cultural, environmental and political. While there is great technological innovation and increased uptake of cleaner energies, the climate crisis has assumed foreboding urgency. Partnerships and citizen engagement platforms have proliferated, yet the claims of oppressed and dispossessed groups to land and to fundamental human rights such as health, education, and water continue to be contested. Never in human history have we had access to such a wide array of information sources, yet we live in a ‘post-truth’ era. There is also a marked rise of ethno-nationalism in some of the world’s largest and most influential democracies.
CASID 2021 recognizes the problematic and contested nature of ‘development’ itself. It calls on international ‘development’ actors to decolonize their practices, processes and institutions. It questions whether ‘development’ can act as a bridge between extremes within and across societies. It calls to centre the expertise of people experiencing the deepest inequalities in order to redress the harms that ‘development’ may have, itself, perpetuated. In an age of polarization, CASID 2021 aims to provide a much-needed open and inclusive space to address these challenges with nuance, rigour, and empathy looking ahead to 2030 when the UN Sustainable Development Goals are set to expire.