De/Re-colonising development: Fanon, Rostow, and the violence of social change

A new seminar by Benjamin Selwyn, Visiting Professor from Sussex University UK.

Here is the abstract of the research article he presents.

Abstract. Can development be de-colonised? The dominant form of contemporary development thinking prioritises capital accumulation and economic growth, guided, if necessary, by violent means by national elites and hegemonic states. This article recounts an early moment in the struggle to decolonise and recolonise development. It argues that in response to post World War 2 decolonisation, WW Rostow’s Stages of Economic Growth represents the modernisation, and application to development thinking, of supremacist standard of civilization norms (re-colonising development). By contrast, Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth proposed a ‘new humanist’ alternative (decolonising development). However, reflecting and reinforcing the dominant ideology of development, the violence inherent in Rostow’s notion of development has been whitewashed (development without violence), while Fanon’s vision of development has been blackwashed (violence without development). Reclaiming Fanon’s humanism requires grappling with his insistence upon revolutionary violence as a necessary component of overcoming and decolonising supremacist forms of development.

All interested are wellcome. The seminar is in a blended format. The link will be circulated in due course.

Starting Time


November 3, 2022

Ending Time


November 3, 2022


Dipartimento Economia e Management, University of Pisa