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Development studies

Development Studies Centre

Director: Dr Susan Blackburn

The foundation of the Development Studies Centre was approved by the university Council in November l987, to coordinate and foster research and teaching on all aspects of international development. Central to this task is the recognition that issues of development are essentially complex and multifaceted, and are best tackled by groups of scholars from a variety of disciplines.

This commitment to interdisciplinary approaches is reflected in the composition of the centre's committee, which consists of representatives from seven faculties, from a number of individual departments and as well as from graduate students. While the majority of the issues of concern to the centre relate to developing countries, many subjects such as poverty, environmental degradation, third world debt and industrial development, can best be approached from a global perspective. Such insights are also useful in understanding the current problems of Australia, which like countries of the third world is faced with declining prices for its major export commodities, has considerable levels of foreign debt, is heavily dependent on imported technology and is seeking to restructure its economic base.

Staff associated with the centre are engaged in a wide variety of research projects, including health in China, industrial restructuring in East Asia, irrigation management in Indonesia, development of law and government in the South Pacific, changing food consumption patterns in Asia, Australian foreign aid, and child labour in Southeast Asia.

A number of centre staff have been engaged by government and other agencies to advise on a variety of projects and policies. The centre also has strong links with the non-government organisations concerned with aid and development.

The centre organises a regular series of seminars at which visitors, staff and graduate students present the results of their work. Its publications list consists of a number of monographs, occasional papers and working papers.

While most graduate students work in individual departments, most students benefit from a wide range of advice. The centre regards this interdisciplinary supervision of graduate students as an important part of its activities.

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Authorised by the Academic Registrar December 1996