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Naomi Hossain | From Malthusia to the Aid Lab: A short history of Bangladesh’s surprising success

Lecture | April 24 | 5-7 p.m. | Stephens Hall, 10 (ISAS Conf. Room)


Naomi Hossain, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

Sanchita B. Saxena, Director, Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies; Executive Director, Institute for South Asia Studies

The Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies, Institute for South Asia Studies


The Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies at UC Berkeley is delighted to welcome political sociologist, Naomi Hossain.

Talk Abstract
From an unpromising start as 'the basket-case' to present day plaudits for its human development achievements, Bangladesh plays an ideological role in the contemporary world order, offering proof that the neo-liberal development model works under the most testing conditions. How were such rapid gains possible in a context of chronically weak governance? The Aid Lab subjects this so-called 'Bangladesh paradox' to close scrutiny, evaluating public policies and their outcomes for poverty and development since Bangladesh's independence in 1971. Countering received wisdom that its gains owe to an early shift to market-oriented economic reform, this book argues that a binding political settlement, a social contract to protect against the crises of subsistence and survival, united the elite, the masses, and their aid donors in the wake of the devastating famine of 1974. This laid resilient foundations for human development, fostering a focus on the poorest and most precarious, and in particular on the concerns of women. The lessons of the famine led to a robustly pro-poor growth and social policy agenda, empowering the Bangladeshi state and its non-governmental organizations to protect and enable its population to thrive in its engagements in the global economy. Now a middle-income country, Bangladesh's role as the world's laboratory for aided development has generated lessons well beyond its borders. Bangladesh continues to carve a pioneering pathway through the risks of global economic integration and climate change.

Speaker Bio
Naomi Hossain is a political sociologist with 20 years of development research and advisory experience. Her work focuses on the politics of poverty and public services, and increasingly on the political effects of subsistence crises.

She has researched elite perceptions of poverty, accountability in education and social protection, and women’s empowerment in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the UK, and led cross-country research in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

Most recently she was the Principal Investigator on the DFID-ESRC funded research project Food Riots and Food Rights: the moral and political economy of accountability for hunger Project (2012-14) and a research lead on the IDS/Oxfam GB Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility project. Her book on the political effects of the 1974 famine in Bangladesh,
The Aid Lab, was published by Oxford University Press in February 2017.

Naomi is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex.

Read more about Naomi Hossain at her WEBPAGE

Established in 2013 with a generous gift from the Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies at UC Berkeley champions the study of Bangladesh’s cultures, peoples and history. The first of its kind in the US, the Center’s mission is to create an innovative model combining research, scholarships, the promotion of art and culture, and the building of ties between institutions in Bangladesh and the University of California.

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PARKING INFORMATION
Please note that parking in not always easily available in Berkeley. Take public transportation if possible or arrive early to secure your spot.


isas@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3608