STIA-352 Dev: Theory to Practice
Spring for 2017-2018
In 1949, U.S. President Harry Truman ushered in the modern development era with his declaration that America “must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas." It was a fitting inauguration to the international development field, a project premised on harnessing the advances and knowledge of West to drive progress in the global South.
And yet development efforts over the past six decades have often been criticized for misapplying science and social science, imposing locally-inappropriate technologies, and frequently doing more harm than good. These critiques have, in turn, shaped the way development is thought about and practiced over time.
Today, the phrases “local knowledge,” “empowerment,” “evidence-based” and many others have become familiar buzzwords in development, reflecting the field’s evolution in response to failures and critiques. What do these words really mean? How do they play out in practice? And in our increasingly networked world, as disruptive technologies, killer apps, and accelerators for social enterprise offer once again the promise of technology to spur progress and cure societal ills – what can we learn from the past 60 years?
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