The Human: An Alternative Ground for ‘Development’: Anthony Bogues’ reflection on rethinking human development

Anthony Bogues is a writer, curator and scholar, the Asa Messer professor of Humanities and Critical Theory and a professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. In his essay he reminds us that the thinking of yesterday influences the contours of the present, and asks – What would a so called “human-centred development paradigm” look like?

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During May, the ISC will be featuring essays written by experts on Rearticulating Human Development. This is a joint project with the UNDP. ISC members and your networks are encouraged to participate. Visit the project homepage here.

Development: a conception rooted in an evolutionary line of thinking

The idea of development emerged in the post-1945 period in the early aftermath of political independence for many colonies.  This period marked the formal end of the European system of colonial empires. These newly independent countries now faced major issues concerning the life of the population in their nations. It is well known that colonialism did not create formally integrated local economies, nor did it create fully resourced human infrastructures that dealt with health, education and even literacy for the colonized. As well the various colonial regimes oftentimes constructed deeply problematic ethnic identities in some colonized territories. At the moment of political independence, one of the major issues which faced the new nation was: how would it tackle all the legacies of the European colonial project? From the perspective of many of the formerly colonized, political independence as a real project of decolonization, meant designing a possible future which would meet the deepest aspirations of their population. Read more.

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