Other Worlds Are Possible: Life Against and Beyond Neoliberal Logics
Middletown, CT, United States; Oaxaca, Mexico
A Wesleyan faculty-led program with Professor Anu Sharma (https://www.wesleyan.edu/academics/faculty/asharma/profile.html) and Gustavo Esteva, Universidad de la Tierra (http://unitierraoax.org/en/english/) This four-week intensive course examines radical challenges, in theory and on the ground, to mainstream neoliberal capitalism and development strategies promoted by international organizations such as World Bank and the IMF. After the 1980s, considered by many as “the lost decade” of development, some scholars and practitioners declared the development enterprise as fundamentally wrong: It was a misguided and violent neocolonial project that could never provide the answer to inequality and poverty. These radical critics argued for building a “post-development” era. In this course, we look at the conceptual history of the term “post-development” and also examine what post-development life looks like on the ground, among dispossessed communities. We will focus on lived and imagined challenges to neoliberal capitalism. We spend the first week at Wesleyan, brushing up on the critical ideas and movements that have emerged out of Mexico (and Latin America, broadly) over the past four decades in reaction to mainstream development discourse. We will then explore these ideas and lived alternatives in Oaxaca, Mexico. We will spend three weeks learning about and working with marginalized communities that are rejecting capitalist development and building and experimenting with living a “good life” (buen vivir) on their own terms.
Application and deposit due by March 8. Current sophomores and juniors may apply. Limited financial aid is available for this program.