Speakers explore new doctoral research on excavating development

photos of Thomas Chiasson, PhD candidate Jesse Ovadia and Adam Pearce

A roundtable of new doctoral research on excavating development will feature three speakers looking at Ecuador, Nigeria and Botswana as part of the POLS Seminar Series.

The seminar – Excavating Development: Resource Extraction, Social Classes and the New ‘Developmental State’ – will take place Monday, Jan. 7, from 2:30 to 4:30pm, in the Verney Room, S674 Ross Building, Keele campus. It is presented by the POLS Seminar Series and the Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean (CERLAC).

headshot of Thomas Chiasson-LeBelThomas Chiasson-LeBel (left), a PhD political science student in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, will discuss Ecuador, Sumak Kawsay and class formation.His work explores the role of the extractive sector in the emergence of a new development model as part of the “left wave” in South America and, more specifically, the extent to which resources are underpinning this model’s social programs. Since 2008, the indigenous-inspired concept of Sumak Kawsay has been enshrined in Ecuador’s constitution to guide an alternative path to development. Chiasson-LeBel explores which class relations have enabled the surge of Ecuador’s new developmental state, and the resulting impact on new class formation in that country.

photo of PhD candidate Jesse Ovadia PhD candidate Jesse Ovadia (MA ’06) (right) will look at local content and state-led development in Angola, Nigeria. Focusing on “local content” in the Angolan and Nigerian oil and gas industries, Ovadia will argue that new possibilities for state-led development are now available in the Gulf of Guinea. In addition, changed internal and external realities and shifts in the accumulation strategies of the domestic elite suggest the possibility of wider capitalist transformation. Ovadia is also a researcher with the York Centre for International & Security Studies.

headshot of Adam PearceAdam Pearce (MA ’02) (left) will discuss the Kua, forced removals and the weak foundations of the Botswana Developmental State. Drawing on the experience of the Kua peoples’ relocation from their settlements in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Pearce will problematize the government’s claims of delivering development and democracy in a “model” African “developmental state”. An important feature of his research involves a reinterpretation of the politics of Botswana’s civil society, a terrain on which, Pearce argues, government has sought to generate consensus under the umbrella of what has been called Kgotla democracy.

Alex Caramento (BA’07), a PhD student, will be the seminar’s discussant.

For more information, visit the CERLAC website.