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Yale University Sterling Professor to Deliver Inaugural David Morrison Lecture in International Development


October 7 Lecture by Political Scientist and Anthropologist Dr. James C. Scott Free and Open to the Public

Thursday, October 2, 2008, Peterborough


Dr. James C. Scott will be available for media interviews at 4:30 p.m. in Alumni House at Trent University.

To book an interview, please contact Rosemary Devlin

Renowned political scientist and anthropologist Dr. James C. Scott, Sterling Professor at Yale University, will deliver the inaugural David Morrison Lecture in International Development on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. in lecture hall room 114, in the lower level of Peter Gzowski College at Trent University.

An expert on the peoples of Southeast Asia, Professor Scott has written extensively about the ways peasants resist authority around the world. Through his numerous books, he has shown how the schemes of centralized governments to improve the human condition have failed due to their inability to take local conditions into account. At Trent, he will discuss “Western-led Globalization: A Vernacular Cross-Dressed as a Universal.” The talk will focus on how the particular institutional order of North Atlantic capitalism has come to be passed off as a universal, value-free, remedy to solve issues of poverty and underdevelopment in poorer nations.

“James Scott has long been at the forefront of critical analysis in international development studies, and I am delighted that he is our inaugural speaker,” said Dr. David Morrison, professor emeritus at Trent, who together with his wife, Professor Alena Heitlinger of Trent’s Sociology Department, made a significant donation to Trent in 2007 to create an endowed lectureship to provide new learning experiences for Trent students and faculty for years to come. “It will be exciting to engage directly with Dr. Scott, whose seminal writings are studied in many of our courses. What he has to say about globalization will also be of great interest to people who are not familiar with his work.”

In addition to being Sterling Professor of political science at Yale University, Prof. Scott is also the director of the University’s Agrarian Studies Program and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has held grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, Science, Technology and Society Program at M.I.T., and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

His research investigates political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism. He is best known for two immediately influential and now essential books in agrarian political economy: The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Subsistence and Rebellion in Southeast Asia (1976); Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (1985). Professor Scott is currently conducting research on Burma and writing a new book, entitled The State and People Who Move or Why Civilizations Can’t Climb Hills: Upland and Valley Relations in Mainland Southeast Asia.

The David Morrison Lecture in International Development aims to bring globally distinguished scholars that are renowned for the impact that their intellectual and applied work has had on international development studies to Trent University to address members of the Trent and Peterborough communities. The lecture focuses on areas that are important to Dr. David Morrison’s own critical contributions to the field of international development studies, most notably approaches to reducing poverty and inequality and achieving sustainable livelihoods in ways that promote social justice and respect the human and biophysical environment.

This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the lecture in the Peter Gzowski College atrium.


For more information, please contact:
Professor Winnie Lem, Chair, International Development Studies, Trent University, 705-748-1011 ext. 7785 or wlem@trentu.ca