Our Aims and Objectives

We are the UK association for all those who research, study and teach global development issues

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What is Development Studies

What is development studies and decolonising development.

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Our Members

We have around 1,000 members, made up of individuals and around 40 institutions

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Find out about our constitution, how we are run and meet our Council

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Meet our Council members and other staff who support the running of DSA

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The DSA Conference is an annual event which brings together the development studies community

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Our conference this year is themed "Social justice and development in a polarising world"

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Past Conferences

Find out about our previous conferences

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Study Groups

Our Study Groups offer a chance to connect with others who share your areas of interest

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Students and ECRs

Students and early career researchers are an important part of our community

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Our book series with OUP and our relationship with other publishers

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North-South Research

A series of workshops exploring North-South interdisciplinary research with key messages and reports

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Membership Directory

Find out who our members are, where they are based and the issues they work on

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DSA webinar: Decolonising Development Studies

Decolonising Development Studies and the Africa Charter for Transformative Research Collaborations

30th May 2024, 1300 – 1400 BST, 1200 Accra, 1400 Cape Town, 1500 Nairobi. Register your free place. All welcome.

Why we need to take a critical look at international research collaborations through a development studies lens

The calls to decolonise Development Studies are gaining momentum. Over the past decades, Development Studies thrived on the Eurocentric gaze that considered formerly colonised societies as a site of “fieldwork”. In contrast, the “Global North” has been considered a source of knowledge. This inequity manifests in how the African continent is often characterised and in the marginal role of Africa-centered knowledge systems and actors in shaping the discipline of Development Studies. While the discipline now includes more progressive critiques, there is a long way to go.

How the research ecosystem could become the most important arena for decolonising knowledge

Many actors within the global knowledge ecosystem are now focusing on deep structural inequalities that still shape the funding, implementation and evaluation of collaborative research. Existing “equitable partnership frameworks” provide a valuable starting point towards addressing the ethical, moral and administrative problems manifested in international research collaborations. However, most of these frameworks, and their many associated guidelines and principles, are generated in the Global North, and do not address the root causes of the problems that emanate from epistemic inequities and are sustained through colonially designed institutions and practices.

What issues the Africa Charter will aim to address

The Africa Charter for Transformative Research Collaboration is an Africa-centred framework for advancing a transformative mode of research collaborations to advance and uphold the continent’s place in the global production of scientific knowledge. The Charter contends that the power asymmetries in scientific knowledge production concerning Africa in Development Studies are multilayered and include:

  • Epistemic inequities
  • The dominance of colonially imposed languages
  • Extraversion and imposition of theories and concepts
  • The unidirectional development gaze
  • Inequalities in institutional resources and capabilities
  • Inequities in the division of labour and resources.

The manifestations of these intertwined layers of inequities need more profound reflections and debate to redress the colonial legacy.

The DSA convenes this webinar to learn more about the Africa Charter, its relevance to the field of development studies and how the Charter can help us change to conceive and implement international research collaborations in a transformative manner. The webinar will also provides a point of connection to other related initiatives, and offers an opportunity to map out a collective, practical pathway towards decolonising knowledge and Development Studies.


Prof. Isabella Aboderin, University of Bristol: Isabella is Chair in Africa Research and Partnerships and Director of the Perivoli Africa Research Institute (PARC), and Professor of Gerontology in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol.  Her research and engagement focus on understanding and shaping necessary change in Africa-global North research relations centred around her work on the Africa Charter for Transformative Research Collaborations, and ii) issues of ageing, intergenerational relations and care in African contexts.  Isabella joined the University in 2020 from the African Population and Research Center (APHRC) in Nairobi where, as senior research fellow, she established and led a research and policy engagement unit on Ageing and Development in Africa, which brought together major academic, practice and policy constituencies in the region- and shaped major continental policy frameworks on the issue.  In prior positions Isabella served as Associate Professor, Centre for Research on Ageing, University of Southampton; Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford; and World Health Organization technical officer in the Ageing and Lifecourse Unit.  Alongside her role as extraordinary professor at North West University, South Africa, Isabella is member of the National Academies of Science Global Commission on Healthy Longevity; the advisory board of Future Africa, University of Pretoria; and the Board of trustees of the United Nations International Institute on Ageing (INIA) and the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

Dr. Divine Fuh, University of Cape Town: Divine Fuh, from Bafut, Cameroon, is associate professor of anthropology and Director of HUMA – Institute for Humanities Africa at the University of Cape Town. His research focuses on the politics of suffering and smiling, particularly on how urban youth seek ways of smiling in the midst of their suffering. He has done work in Cameroon, Botswana, Senegal and South Africa. His new research focuses on the political economy of African knowledge production; and on centring African epistemologies in Artificial Intelligence and the ethics of being in African contexts.

Prof. Puleng Segalo, University of South Africa, Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair. Puleng Segalo is a Fulbright scholar, National Research Foundation rated researcher, and a professor of psychology currently holding the position of Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Her areas of specialization include Community Psychology, Social Psychology, Gender, and Feminism in Psychology. Her research focuses on historical trauma, visual methodologies, and gendered suffering. She is the 2023-2025 African Research Fellow/Affiliate at the African Studies Center of the University of Kansas.

Prof. Peter Taylor, Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Interim Director and a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). Previously he was Director, Strategic Development, at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada, and also led IDRC’s Inclusive Economies Program Area, and the Think Tank Initiative. He has more than 35 years of experience in development research, teaching and advisory work, including at IDS as Head of Graduate Studies, and Leader of the Participation, Power and Social Change Team; as Education Technical Advisor with the Swiss NGO Helvetas in Vietnam; as Lecturer at the Agricultural Extension and Rural Development Department at the University of Reading, UK; and as Head of the agriculture department in a rural secondary school in northern Botswana. He is a member of the DSA Council, and also leads an EADI Task Group on Decolonising Knowledge for Development.

Chair: Professor Sam Hickey is Professor of Politics and Development at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, where he is also the current Head of Institute. He was President of the DSA 2020-2023 and recently worked with colleagues to establish a new Africa Strategy for the University of Manchester.