Development Studies Lecture – 28.05.2018

Mariela Castro Espín: Sex education in the processes of social transformation of the Cuban revolution (“La educación de la sexualidad en los procesos de transformación social de la Revolución Cubana”)

Mariela Castro is the leader of Cuba’s sexual education institute (CENESEX) and a worldwide known activist for promoting LGBTIQ rights, transgender issues and HIV/AIDS prevention. She is a member of the Cuban parliament and the daughter of Cuba’s ex-president Raúl Castro and revolutionary feminist leader Vilma Espín. Castro is visiting Finland, because she will be promoted as the doctor honoris causas by Åbo Akademi.

The lecture will be commented by President Tarja Halonen.

Language: Spanish, translation to Finnish. PowerPoint in English.
Date & Time: Monday 28.5. at 16.15-17.45
Place: Unioninkatu 35, Auditorio 116, 1. krs.

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Helsus Brown Bag seminar – 20.04.2018

The new dynamics of de­for­est­a­tion in Brazil

Associate Professor Markus Kröger’s presentation is about the current dynamics of deforestation, forest degradation, and sustainability of forest and forestry policies in different parts of Brazil. The focus is at presenting the findings from fresh field research in 2017-2018 on the different causes of rising deforestation in different regions. The example of the iconic Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve in Acre illustrates the power of cattle-ranching as the key driver of deforestation, even inside conservation areas. The politics of the rapidly expanding “sustainable logging cooperatives” – which have serious impacts on forest degradation, and do not typically deliver their promises – in the multiple-use conservation areas of the Santarém region in Pará are discussed to illustrate how the powerful illegal loggers still operate and take over many developmental schemes. Finally, the role of Finnish and Brazilian forestry industry in continuing deforestation and expansion of eucalyptus plantations through practices that include illegal land grabbing and violence in Bahia are discussed based on field research in the area since 2004. The politics that aim to create sustainable forest policies, and offer alternatives, are also discussed.

Markus Kröger is an Associate Professor and Docent in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, the focus area of the tenure track position being the study of the political economy of development and natural resource extraction. Most of his research has focused on investment politics around large-scale projects in the forestry and metal industries, including the study of state-corporate-civil society relations, particularly in South America and India. He is the author of Contentious Agency and Natural Resource Politics (2013), and has published several papers on the sustainability of forest and forestry policies in different countries.

Welcome on Friday 20 April at 11:30-12:30 at HELSUS Hub at Porthania (2nd floor), Yliopistonkatu 3.

Development Studies Seminar at Helsus – Friday 20 April 2018 – CANCELLED

Professor Lahcen Kabiri, University of Meknès-Errachidia: “Revitalizing the past: ecological knowledge and khettarat hydraulic systems in Morocco”.

Prof. Lahcen Kabiri works on groundwater and traditional management of water resources in arid lands, and on Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs) in Morocco. He has done research on climate/ecological and social changes in the Oases of the Tafilalet region, documented in several published articles, and carries out consultancy work for various international organizations, including FAO, UNDP, UNESCO/MAB and the EU. He is also the president of a local association based in Ferkla oasis (Association Oasis Ferkla pour l´environnement et le patrimoine), engaged in various types of community development project and in direct assistance to marginalized groups (including pastoralists). His current research-action project aims to restore and revitalize antique structures of groundwater irrigation (khettarat), which were abandoned during the last mechanization decades that have caused groundwater depletion and socio-ecological degradation. A few are still in function, such as the khattarats of the ICCA of Tighfert oasis. The problem goes beyond the technical operation, as it involves societal and ecological organizations mediating traditional structures with multiple changes.

Welcome on Friday 20 April at 12:30-13:00 at HELSUS Hub at Porthania (2nd floor), Yliopistonkatu 3.

Development Studies Seminar – 23.04.2018

Professor Sikata Banerjee, University of Victoria, Canada:  “Bollywood Makes Men: Globalization and Muscular Nationalism in India”.

Negotiating masculinity has been a critical dilemma of Indian nationalism since the colonial period, when British constructions of Indian men as effeminate served as part of their gendered justifications for colonial rule. The legacy of this negotiation has surfaced in the socio-political changes in the wake of globalization created by the 1991 economic reforms which have configured the male body as a signifier of India’s new self-confidence on the global stage. Ascendant Hindu nationalism and the emergence of a nationalist triumphalism linked to an assertive global middle class form the material context of this signification. Muscular nationalism, defined in my works as an intersection of armed masculinity with the political doctrine of nationalism, enables a theoretical frame to analyze this version of an imagined India. Culturally, this view of muscular nationalism is eloquently represented in Hindi popular films which are important vehicles for disseminating dominant imaginings of nation in India. I will draw scenes from several films to illustrate this muscular nationalism.

Sikata Banerjee is Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada. Her work focuses on gender and nationalism in India.  She is the author of Warriors in Politics:  Hinduism, Nationalism, Violence, and the Shiv Sena in India (Westview 2000); Make Me a Man!  Masculinity, Hinduism, and Nationalism in India (SUNY 2005); Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in Ireland (NYU 2012); and Globalizing Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Nation and Popular Film in India (Routledge 2016).

Welcome on  Monday 23 April, 2-4 pm, Unioninkatu 35, lecture hall 114.

Development Studies Seminar – 5.03.2018

Professor Lyla Mehta, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex:  “Climate change and uncertainty from ‘below’ and ‘above”.

Professor Lyla Mehta works in and co-leads the Resource Politics cluster at the Institute of Development Studies, UK. A sociologist working in development studies, she uses the case of water and sanitation to focus on rights and access to resources, resource grabbing, the politics of scarcity, gender, power and policy processes. Her work also concerns climate change and uncertainty and gender, displacement and resistance. She has extensive research and field experience in India and southern Africa. She has published about 90 scientific publications including the most recent edited book, Flows and Practices: the politics of integrated water resources management in southern and eastern Africa.

The talk will be followed by a presentation on “Water and power, water’s power: Volatile ecologies and politics of vulnerabilisation in Laos” by Mira Käkönen, Development studies, University of Helsinki.

Warmly welcome on Monday, March 5th at 14:00 until 16:00 Unioninkatu 35, room 344 (third floor). Since the room has limited places, please contact to register, by Thursday 1st of March. 

In the morning, at 10 am in Auditorium XV, University Main building, 4th floor: Prof. Lyla Mehta will serve as opponent of the doctoral defense of Johanna Hohenthal (development geography): Local ecological knowledge in deteriorating water catchments – Reconsidering environmental histories and inclusive governance in the Taita Hills, Kenya.

Pre-conference workshops – 14.02.2018

On Wednesday the 14th February 2018, (the day before the conference), a series of workshops will be offered for Masters and PhD students.

9-12  Masters Workshop held by Prof Barry Gills (HY) and Dr Paola Minoia (HY), with Prof Jun Borras (Erasmus Univ. Rotterdam), Tieteiden talo, Kirkkokatu 6, Room 208

9-12  UniPiD DocNet DocShop: “Q&A with Jesse Ribot” – organized by Prof Anja Nygren (HY), Johanna Kivimäki (UniPID), and Dr. Aili Pyhälä (HY), with Prof  Jesse Ribot (SESE, Illinois), Tieteiden talo, Kirkkokatu 6, Room 309 Please find more information on this workshop here.

14-16 Indigenous Studies/Development Studies workshop held by Ass. Prof Pirjo Virtanen (HY) and Dr. Aili Pyhälä (HY), with Prof Sian Sullivan (Bath Spa University) NB. Different Location: SSKH210, Snellmaninkatu 12. For more information, including how to register, please contact Assistant Professor Pirjo Virtanen (

Brown Bag Seminars – 9.02.2018

Warmly welcome – everyone and anyone – to the first Development Studies brown bag seminar of the spring semester 2018!

Associate Professor Kevin St. Martin, from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Title of talk: “Beyond the End of History: Taking Action in Rights-Based Marine Resource Management Regimes”

Friday, February 9th at 14:30 until 16:30 Unioninkatu 35, Seminar room 105

Kevin St. Martin received his Ph.D. from Clark University and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Rutgers University. He is an economic geographer and political ecologist with a specialization in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He is interested in critical analyses of economic and resource management discourse as well as participatory projects which foster alternative economic practices. His current research critically examines the implementation and practice of new forms of marine governance such as Ecosystems-Based Management and Marine Spatial Planning and their implications for community economic and environmental well-being.

Dr. St. Martin’s research has been funded by grants from various NOAA programs and the NSF, and he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010 to Norway for his project Drawing Communities Together: Assessing the Potential of Participatory Environmental Mapping for Marine Resource Management and Community Development.

Dr. St. Martin has published in top academic geography and marine policy journals and has contributed book chapters to key publications in environmental and economic geography. He has recently edited a volume titled Making Other Worlds Possible: Performing Diverse Economies, which is the first book in a new book series with the University of Minnesota Press called Diverse Economies and Liveable Worlds. St. Martin is an editor of the aforementioned book series as well as an associate editor for the journal Maritime Studies.