Welcome to the Center for Critical Development Studies (CCDS) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC)!

The newly-created CCDS (2012), through its teaching and scholarship, aims to provide a scholarly critique of international development efforts while preparing students to be critical members of the profession.

The CCDS is particularly interested in examining the difficult nexus between development practice and development research. While the former focuses on practical ways of addressing problems of poverty, inequality and oppression, the latter recognizing the incredible complexity when trying to do so. We feel that the key to grappling with this complexity, preventing harmful development interventions and, hopefully, promoting more successful development practice is to promote cross-disciplinary research, pedagogy, and dialogue, always with a focus on the poor and less powerful majority who find themselves most adversely affected by exclusionary power relations and practices.

The flagship undergraduate program within the CCDS is the International Development Studies (IDS) program. Now close to its 30th anniversary, the IDS program is one of the longstanding success stories at UTSC. It has an annual enrolment in excess of 300 students and hosts five distinct undergraduate degree – an IDS Major, two IDS Specialists (BA and BSc), and two IDS Specialists Coop (BA and BSC).

The program is interdisciplinary by design, combining core international development courses in the social sciences and sciences with a variety of professional skill development courses in such areas as project management, research design and methodology, researcher-practitioner engagement, and ethics and development. Students also have a chance to specialize in a variety of sub-fields that includes the political economy of development, environment and development, health and development, and media and development. Many students also combine their studies in IDS with a parallel specialization in a particular discipline in the sciences or social sciences. For more detailed descriptions of our undergraduate program offerings in IDS, see: Academic Calendar.

Students entering into the IDS community are guaranteed access to a dynamic and expanding group of faculty. The CCDS itself consists of ten cross-appointed faculty members with a wide range of departmental cross-appointments. Our faculty also embrace a wide range of research interests. This includes regional expertise in Africa, South Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East; and issue expertise in the political economy of development, critical policy analysis, the political economy of health and social welfare, food and livelihood strategies, the politics of citizenship and social movements, gender and race, environment and conservation, and social media, internet, open access, and development. For profiles of cross-appointed faculty in CCDS/IDS, please see the Faculty listing.

Joining the CCDS faculty team are a large number of affiliated faculty – part of a growing body of young scholars at UTSC whose research specializes on issues relating to the Global South. In short, students entering the IDS program at UTSC have a wide and dynamic group of faculty expertise and advice to draw upon. For a list of all affiliated and cross-appointed faculty, please see:  http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~registrar/calendars/calendar/International_Development_Studies.html).

The CCDS/IDS program can boast an extremely active community life on campus. This is lead by our dynamic and activist student organizations – from the International Development Studies Student Association (IDSSA) that organizes a wide variety of events and talks throughout the academic year (See: Events); to the enormously successful, student-run, annual International Development Conference (IDC); to the whole host of development-oriented student clubs on campus (WUSC, UNICEF, Amnesty International, etc).

The CCDS parallels this activity with an annual seminar series – this year’s theme being “the Millennium Development Goals – A Critical Appraisal”; an annual CCDS lecture;  in addition to an annual campus-wide CCDS Development Debate.  Also, we always meet as a community at least twice a year for pot-luck suppers.

So, welcome to our vibrant CCDS/IDS community. If you have any questions about our programs and/or our activities, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Paul Kingston,
Director, CCDS,