8th Annual Conference of the Sociology of Development - Call for Papers

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The University of Notre Dame will host the 8th annual conference of the Sociology of Development section of the American Sociological Association. The conference will be held October 17-19th, 2019, at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. The theme of the conference is “Development in Dialogue: Engaging Practitioners and Other Disciplines."

The conference will explore points of connection as well as tension between sociologists of development, scholars of other disciplines, and development practitioners. In the public eye, the development field has been largely dominated by economists, policy analysts, donors, and practitioners. Recently, however, there has been a surge in research that that uses the unique tools of sociology to understand the problems and dilemmas of development. This conference will generate deeper dialogue between sociological research and other perspectives in the field of development. It will consider opportunities for (and barriers to) broader communication and exchange across disciplines, and address the challenges involved in connecting the insights of systematic sociological research with the experiences of practitioners.

The conference is seeking thought-provoking presentations and engaging conversations on numerous topics, spanning a wide range of perspectives, approaches, scales, regions, and disciplines. The University of Notre Dame is pleased to provide development scholars with an outstanding venue in which to exchange ideas and engage in dialogue that bridges disciplinary and practice boundaries.  They will draw on numerous units and centers of expertise at Notre Dame in the areas of development, democracy, peacebuilding, health, education, religion, environment, engineering and other fields, while engaging the insights of sociologists and other disciplinary scholars from around the world.

A series of plenary sessions and invited keynote speakers will focus on selected conference themes, but other sessions will be organized entirely based on papers that are accepted through this open call. All scholars with interest in development, including scholars from fields other than sociology, are encouraged to consider attending. The conference is open to all, whether you are presenting or not.


Confirmed plenary speakers include:

  • Ann Swidler, Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley who works on culture and institutions, with recent work aiming to understand social determinants of human health and well being. She is the author of numerous articles and books including, A Fraught Embrace: The Romance and Reality of AIDS Altruism in Africa, which looks at the complex relationships between altruists, beneficiaries, and brokers in the global effort to fight AIDS in Africa.

  • Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Scientist of the Development Research Group at the World Bank and part-time lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, his research focuses on strategies for enhancing state capability and using mixed methods to assess the effectiveness of complex development interventions. He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, and ten books, most recently Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action. His coauthored book Contesting Development was a co-recipient of the 2012 Sociology of Development book prize.

  • Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs at the New School and former lead author of the UNDP Human Development Reports, her work takes an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing human rights and development, global health, and global goal setting and governance by indicators. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including the 2017 Millennium Development Goals: Ideas, Interests and Influence. She continues to be active in international policy, including a recent appointment as the Vice Chair of the UN Committee on Development Policy.

  • Ray Offenheiser, Director of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development, Offenheiser is a well-known nonprofit leader and innovator with a broad range of international development experience, including as the former President of Oxfam America. He has co-founded several agriculture and nutrition-focused civil society organizations and served as a representative for the Obama administration on food security and nutrition in Africa.

The conference will also include curated special panels on the following topics:

  • Governance, Institutions & the State

  • Engineering, Science, & the Environment

  • Peace & Conflict

  • Religion

  • Global Health

  • Entrepreneurship & Microcredit

In addition to those plenary and special panels, the conference will include parallel paper sessions on a range of topics relating to the sociology of development. We welcome a wide range of development-related topics, whether considered at the global, regional, or local levels, including but not limited to:

  • Agriculture

  • Business, Entrepreneurship, & Microcredit

  • Comparative Historical approaches to development

  • Corruption

  • Culture

  • Democracy & Participation

  • Demography

  • Education

  • Engineering, Infrastructure & Built Environment

  • Environment & Climate Change

  • Gender

  • Global & Transnational

  • Health & Human Wellbeing

  • Inequality, Poverty, & Precarity

  • Labor & Work

  • Law

  • Markets, Commodification, & Privatization

  • Measurement & (E)valuation

  • Migration

  • NGOs, civil society, and organizations

  • Race, Ethnicity, & Intersectionality

  • Social Movements

  • Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please follow the instructions below. All papers will be given full consideration and, if accepted, organized into panels of approximately four speakers. We are especially interested in papers that present new research material.


DEADLINE: MAY 25th, 2019

Go to to complete application form and submit 500 word abstract


Information about travel, lodging, and other logistics available at the conference website:

Some meals will be provided for participants during the conference. Pending total attendance and ongoing fundraising, there may be a modest registration fee of no more than $35 for participants who are able to pay. If there is a registration fee, we anticipate being able to offer waivers to presenters who self-identify as coming from under-resourced universities or countries.

Partial funding to defray costs of airfare or lodging will be available on a need-basis for some graduate student participants and scholars from under-funded institutions, but funds are limited. When you apply, Please specify if you would like to be considered for partial funding (this will not affect the chances of being accepted).

For questions, please contact our Conference Coordinator Theresa Hanlon (


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