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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

Macalester’s Fifteenth Annual International Roundtable
“Whither Development?  The Struggle for Livelihood
in the Time of Globalization”
October 2 – 4, 2008

St. Paul, Minn. - Sept. 24, 2008 - Macalester College presents its 15th annual International Roundtable titled, “Whither Development?  The Struggle for Livelihood in the Time of Globalization,” Thursday- Saturday, Oct. 2-4, 2008, in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Campus Center, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, Minn.

Among the salient features associated with the making of the “modern world system” has been the phenomenon of “combined and uneven development.”  Since the end of the Cold War and the consequent demise of the statist paradigm, the idea of private ownership and a decrease of public power are often referred to as “neo-liberalism.” 

If the age of globalization is seen, by some, as a time marked by a complete triumph of liberal democracy and market economics, for others globalization is primarily a normalization as well as an acceleration of an old and singular contradiction, though at times in a new guise: dizzying technological changes; massive concentrations of economic, cultural, military, and political power in the core regions/countries (United States, Canada, Europe (particularly Western Europe), Japan, Australia and New Zealand); and, simultaneously, exclusion of and deprivation and social disintegration in vast zones of the “Global South” (most of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean).

One manifestation of this divide is the nature of urban living: about six percent of the city populations in the core countries live in slums; the comparative estimate for urban populations of the countries of the Global South is over 78 percent and growing. Even in the highly celebrated “dynamic and developing societies,” such as the People’s Republic of China, India, Brazil, and South Korea, slum populations are staggering and expanding. For countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Peru, slum dwellers constitute two-thirds of the total of the urbanites.

Given the nature of contemporary processes of globalization and a revisiting of the concept of development, the Fifteenth Annual International Roundtable will ask the following questions: What is development? What does the concept mean in the various regions of the world? Is development compatible with Globalization?

This year’s participants include:
¨ James C. Scott, Yale University Political Science Professor, whose keynote is titled  “Vernaculars Cross-Dressed as Universals: Globalization as North Atlantic Hegemony.” (4:30 p.m., Thu., Oct. 2).

¨ Ravi Kanbur, Cornell University Economics Professor, whose talk is titled “The
Co-Evolution of the Washington Consensus and the Economic Development Discourse.” (9:30 a.m., Fri., Oct. 3).

¨ Michael J. Watts, University of California, Berkeley, Geography Professor, whose talk is titled “Oil, Development, and the Politics of the Bottom Billion.” (1:30 p.m., Fri., Oct. 3).

The Roundtable will conclude with a discussion featuring James C. Scott, Ravi Kanbur, and Michael J. Watts.   (10 a.m., Sat., Oct. 4).

The roundtable begins at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2, with opening statements from Macalester’s Ahmed I. Samatar, James Wallace professor and Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship, and Macalester College President Brian C. Rosenberg

The Macalester International Roundtable is held every October on campus. A community-wide intellectual forum, the Roundtable explores crucial global issues with prominent international scholars who are also commissioned to write major papers that are presented at Macalester and published in the Macalester International journal. Previous roundtables have featured:

• 1994              The International Community and the Emerging World (Dis) Order
• 1995              Literature, the Creative Imagination, and Globalization
• 1996              The Divided Self: Ethnicity, Identity, and Globalization
• 1997              Nature, People, and Globalization
• 1998              Globalization and Economic Space
• 1999              Contending Gods: Religion and the Global Moment
• 2000              International Feminisms: Divergent Perspectives
• 2001              The Body: Meditations on Global Health
• 2002              Prometheus’s Bequest: Technology and Change
• 2003              Complex Contradictions: African, American, and Middle Eastern Perspectives          
• 2004              America and Global Power: Empire or . . . ?
• 2005              Quixotic Offspring: The Global Legacy of Don Quixote
• 2006              The United Nations Organization (UNO): What Future?
• 2007              The Musical Imagination in the Epoch of Globalization

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,884 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.