Call For Applications:

The Center for the History of Global Development at Shanghai University invites applications for fellowships for visiting scholars working on projects related to the history of policies, concepts, practices or debates related to development on local, national, regional or global levels.  

The Center for the History of Global Development was established at the College of Liberal Arts at Shanghai University in 2017. Through conferences, workshops, publications and discussion panels, the Center seeks to contribute to interdisciplinary scholarly debates on the repercussions of “development” as a phenomenon which has shaped much of recent global history while remaining conceptually vague or contradictory.  

“Development,” in its most basic form, is understood as the idea that socio-economic conditions would and should improve and that specific policies should be employed to bring about such improvements. Beyond this core, development has been a highly contested concept, whose constructed character has repeatedly been emphasized. Critics point to international structures created in the name of development which have often reflected power inequalities and have served the interests of those that put them in place while doing little to improve living conditions of those at whom they were allegedly addressed.  Other scholars identify perceived successes of development, measured in social indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality, gender equality or literacy, which contradict a simplistic notion of continued failure. Different evaluations of the outcome of development tie into different interpretations of what exactly the concept does – or should – mean.

Despite this lack of precision, “development” continues to be widely used, including in categories such as “developed” or “least developed” countries, and for many people, particularly in low-income countries, “development” remains a powerful and seemingly self-evident goal. Apparently, the idea of some form of socio-economic improvement as a goal of public or private actions has resonated with societies in many parts of the world, though not necessarily with identical meanings. Meanwhile, definitions of what constituted “successes” or “failures” are  similarly far from clear, and perspectives vary along with changing attitudes in public and in academia as well as with evolving evidence regarding the long-term repercussions of various forms of development.

The Center of the History of Global Development welcome applications from researchers who are taking innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to any aspects of this topic. For the year 2018/19, priority is given to proposals that address dilemmas of changing or contradictory “development” outcomes: projects or trends that are positive for some people but negative for others, beneficial in some circumstances but damaging in others, helpful at one point in time but destructive in a different decade or century.
Fellows can benefit from an international academic environment and from a stimulating setting in one of the most rapidly “developing” cities of the world.

Fellows will share their questions and the results of their work through lectures, both about their specific research project and about topics in their field of expertise (approximately one lecture per month).  They are also expected to generally participate in the academic life of the College of Liberal Arts at Shanghai University and to cite Shanghai University in all publications to which their fellowship stay has contributed. Fellowships are open to post-doctoral and senior scholars. Preference is given to projects at an advanced state, whose outcome and publication potential is already becoming clear.
Fellowship applications can be for periods of between two and eight months, taken between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2018.
The fellowship includes:
  • Free accommodation, subsidized meals
  • A monthly stipend of 6,000 RMB for post-docs and 10,000 for senior scholars.
  • Office space
Applications should include:
  • A project proposal of no more than 4,000 words, explaining the research question, relevance, work program, and expected outcome of the project
  • A cv
  • A list of proposed lectures
The deadline is 15 December 2017. For further information, contact Prof. Iris Borowy at or Prof. Yong-an Zhang at


Contact Info: 

Iris Borowy

Distinguished Professor

Shanghai University. College of Liberal Arts
99 Shangda Road, Shanghai 200444
Contact Email: