25th Annual SALISES Conference

“You build your world on lies and illusions,
But you never know that,
This is the conclusion.
No chance no hope for those,
Who kept it a goin',
'Cause you never know that,
The truth is showing.”
(Peter Tosh, Glass House)

“We refuse to be, what you wanted us to be
We are what we are, that's the way
It's going to be …”
(Bob Marley, Babylon System)

While (sustainable) development and justice remain important concepts for both theorists and practitioners, it is—more often than not—not exactly clear what these terms actually stand for.  In international meetings and governmental and non-governmental institutions, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations feature largely as a lodestar of what ought to be achieved.  However, as the world grapples with multiple crises and strives to map a world post-COVID-19, to what extent does the return of the day-to-day agenda of policy implementation to the pursuit of industrial policies (to the extent that they exist), to trade agreements, investment forums, etc., belie a world folding under extreme uncertainty, environmental disasters, and cumulating breaches of these international goals?  Can the region—and, by extension, the Global South—expect a better future, if it remains exclusively invested in the standard political discourses of debt reduction, job creation, poverty reduction, or trade opportunities?

While the macro-economic goals are undoubtedly important aspects of a well-functioning and integrated economy and society, the question arises to what extent they constitute or reflect substantial, sustainable, meaningful, and transformational “development” for all?  For example, where exactly are we in the enduring demands for decolonization and the repair of society, its political institutions, its economics, its psyche, its spirit, its cultures of power?  And where should we be going in this epic quest for the full and complete decolonization of our mind-sets and the political economy of the region?  Is a focus on the statistics of change alone enough to achieve a sustainable and inclusive quality of life and environment?  What inroads have been made in realizing a reparatory project of justice?  Can there be social peace within the historically racialized terms of our inherited models of democracy?

Questions must still be asked regarding what it means to be human, given the persistent reports of anti-blackness and racial discrimination; to be late modern; democratically engaged; entrepreneurial; socially and environmentally responsible; spiritually free; and ethically driven in a quest for development.  These, and other vital concerns, are often rather shrouded than elucidated by developmental discourses focusing on the above-mentioned macro-economic indicators alone.  How are our epistemologies—the ways we understand the world and how we create knowledge about it—influenced by changing perceptions, discourses, and even by the environment and climate change?  “How do we imagine and consider a Caribbean of the people and not of the politicians, the bankers, and the private sector?”, as Brian Meeks put it in his most recent book After the Postcolonial Caribbean: Memory, Imagination, Hope.  We propose—with this conference—that a focus on such questions ought to influence how we theorize and frame evidence-based policy actions to achieve (more) just and sustainable futures.

Thus, for this in-person conference, we invite proposals that speak to and engage the gap between contemporary developmental aspirations and de facto policy priorities and implementation.  We are interested in thought-provoking contributions that force us to think “decolonial” and welcome abstracts emphasizing diagnosis, and prognosis with the future in mind, drawing on contemporary and past lessons.  We welcome a variety of philosophical thought and approaches, including ontological, epistemological, axiological, methodological, communicative, and artistic strands of thought that impact emergent development discourses.  We also welcome the voices of ethnic and other minorities, indigenous, rural, and marginalized or silenced communities.  In this way, and with these objectives in mind, the conference also seeks to make a significant contribution to the field of Knowledge Translation (KT) in the Global South, to explore—as recently suggested by James Georgalakis—social inclusion in the production and usage of knowledge, to challenge knowledge hierarchies, and to conduct political economy analysis of KT within a broader context of global and local challenges.

At the conclusion of the conference, a committee will be formed to select the best papers for publication (for those who are interested) in our peer-reviewed journal Social and Economic Studies and/or a special edited book volume.

Call for Papers (English | French | Spanish)