Gleichstellungsbüro, Philosophische Fakultät, Historisches Seminar, SPF Religion. Gesellschaft. Weltbeziehung.

Voluntariness, Women and Development in Late Colonial and Postcolonial Societies

4. Jul 2024, 3.00 pm - 5. Jul 2024, 4.00 pm
Research building "Weltbeziehungen", seminar room (ground floor) (C19)
Voluntariness research group
Event type
Event Language(s)
with registration

Workshop of the DFG project "Hidden Histories: Women in Rural Development Programmes in India, c. 1920-1966", organised by Dr. Maria Framke, co-organised by Prof. Dr. Iris Schröder and Dr. Rosalind Parr (Glasgow Caledonian University). In co-operation with the DFG Research Group Voluntariness."

Recent years have seen renewed interest in the global history of development producing a spate of field-defining publications that explore the complex implications of modernisation projects across the decolonising Global South. This wide-ranging historiography includes accounts of Euro-American neo-colonial dominance, the role of international organisations, and Cold War-motivated projects alongside attempts to uncover global genealogies of development from Global South perspectives. Notwithstanding an emerging body of scholarship on women and development in national contexts, the perspectives of Asian and Africa women remain neglected in these global histories. The workshop seeks to bring histories of voluntariness, women/gender and development in Asia and Africa into conversation with the global history of development. The aim is to explore the ways women in Asia and Africa authored, experienced and shaped development from the 1920s to the 1970s and to understand the relationship between ‘development’ and other political, social, and economic agendas. As the focus is on non-state initiatives, the exploration of ideas and practices related to voluntariness will be crucial for our discussions. We adopt a broad definition of development that incorporates diverse visions of postcolonial ‘nation-building’ and other forms of ‘improvement’ that took place at local, national, regional, and international levels. This includes, but is not restricted to, non-state initiatives in the fields of health, population, education, women’s empowerment, rural regeneration, and urban planning. We believe that this framing provides exciting opportunities for engaging with diverse historiographies and may invite reflections on the value of global and transnational history in this context.

Workshop programme:

Thursday 4th July

3.00-3.15 pm: Introduction

3.15-5.30 pm: Panel I: Women’s Development Work

  • Comment: Agnieszka Sobocinska (King’s College London)
  • Jana Tschurenev (Free University Berlin), ‘Foundation Layers: Women Volunteers, the Welfare State, and Early Childhood Care and Education in India, 1945 to 1975.’
  • Rosalind Parr (Glasgow Caledonian University), ‘Transnational family planning networks and development in India, Pakistan and Ceylon, 1950s-1960s.’
  • Claudia Prinz (Humboldt-University Berlin), ‘Women in health education: Mothers, teachers, consumers?’

5.30-6.00 pm: Coffee break

6.00-7.30 pm: Keynote: Adwoa Opong (Chapman University), ‘All that is meant by citizenship: Women, social work, and development in Ghana, 1945–1970s.’


Friday 5th July

9.00-10.30 am: Panel II: Development Knowledge

  • Comment: Carolyn Taratko (ZZF Potsdam)
  • Kirsten Kamphuis (University of Münster), ‘Discourses of Development and Women’s Roles in Indonesian Women’s magazines, 1920s-1960s.’
  • Iris Schröder (University of Erfurt), ‘Gender, Voluntariness and Social Scientists’ Expertise in Postcolonial Ghana.’

10.30-10.45am: Coffee break

10.45am-1pm: Panel III: Development, Rights and Politics

  • Comment: Rosalind Parr (Glasgow Caledonian University)
  • Maha Ali (Leiden University), ‘Framing Development as a Right: Asian Women at the United Nations.’
  • Su Lin Lewis (University of Bristol), ‘The Politics of Development at Afro-Asian Women's Conferences.’
  • Agnieszka Sobocinska (King’s College London), ‘Illuminating the Implementation Gap: Gender, Resistance and International Development between Global North and Global South.’

1.00-2.00 pm: Lunch break

2.00-3.30 pm: Panel IV: Rural and Urban Spaces

  • Comment: Jana Tschurenev (Free University Berlin)
  • Maria Framke (University of Erfurt), ‘Progress for women through volunteering? Development, transnational cooperation and gender in rural South Asia.’
  • Claire Nicolas (University of Geneva), ‘Urban Migration, Social Development, and the Ghana Young Women’s Christian Association (1951-1961).’

3.30-4.00 pm: Summing up


Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin im Forschungsprojekt „Hidden histories: Frauen in ländlichen Entwicklungsprogrammen in Indien, c. 1920–1966“
(Historisches Seminar)
Lehrgebäude 4 / Raum 114