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John D. Cameron

Associate Professor, Graduate Coordinator

JC 2014-2
Department of International Development Studies

Email: john.cameron@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-7011
Mailing Address: 
Department of International Development Studies
Marion McCain Building
6135 University Ave.
Dalhousie University
PO Box 15000
Halifax, NS, Canada
B3H 4R2

Office location:
Marion McCain Building 2171
Research Topics:
  • Indigenous and peasant social movements
  • NGO aid agencies
  • Rural development policies


Current Research Topics

Representations of development in the global North, Indigenous self-governance in Latin America, Indigenous and peasant social movements in the Andes (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru), Rural development in Latin America


  • B.A (Univ. of King’s College and Dalhousie)
  • M.A. (Simon Fraser)
  • PhD (York)

Teaching in 2014-15

INTD / CANA 1102/1103 Halifax and the World:
This course offers an introduction to both International Development Studies and Canadian Studies by exploring the connections between important global issues and your daily life as a student in Halifax. As you walk across the Dalhousie campus and go about daily life in Halifax, your actions connect you to people around the globe and to the history of the city and world as well as to the many works of literature, art and music that depict these connections. Here are just a few examples of connections that we will explore:
▪ walking across the Dalhousie campus you are traversing unceded Mi’kmaq territory
▪ your morning coffee connects you to the peasant farmers in Africa and Latin America who produced the coffee beans
▪ a cell phone call connects you to Child Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the coltan used in making cell phones is mined and fought over – and to Guiyung, China – the world’s largest electronic waste site
▪ while walking downtown on a Friday night you might tread in the footsteps of the central characters in Hugh MacLennan’s novel Barometer Rising and other major works of Canadian fiction
▪ as you walk through the city you’ll see monuments and statues that commemorate the city’s early colonial leaders – which raise questions about how we chose to remember history of the city and its connections to the world.

The course examines these and other connections between your daily life, Halifax and the world through lectures, guest speakers, films, tutorial discussions, and assignments that require you to physically explore the city as well as to read and write about the connections between your life in Halifax and the rest of the world in a variety of genres – including fiction, academic writing, journalism, and even music and theatre. The course also examines some of the challenging ethical questions that come up when we become aware of our global connections – such as our moral obligations to other people on distant parts of the planet.

INTD 4002 / 5000 ‘Representing Development in Images, Video, and Text: Critical Debates and Alternative Strategies’
The ways in which global development and poverty are represented to the general public in the global North matters. The forms of representation used by governments, NGOs, advertisers, the news media and cultural producers shape the ways in which the general public understands and acts upon global development and poverty. This seminar focuses on the ways in which issues of global poverty and development are represented to mainstream publics in the North through images, video and text. It is through the representation of poverty and development that relationships between individuals and communities in the North and South are mediated and produced, in turn sustaining (and occasionally challenging) prevailing global political and economic power relations. In short, how we think about development issues and what we do about them are both heavily shaped by the ways in which those issues are represented to us by development organizations and the media. The course begins with an introduction to theoretical and ethical perspectives on representation and then examines a series of case studies of initiatives to represent development using methodological tools introduced throughout the course.

INTD 4011 / 5003 ‘Global Citizenship in Theory & Practice’
The question of global citizenship lies at the core of what International Development Studies is all about: critically examining causes of global poverty, inequality and injustice – and the ethical obligations which these issues pose for all human beings. Questions about our ethical obligations to other human beings – especially those who are very poor and very far away – have persisted in debates among philosophers and ordinary people for centuries. The idea of global citizenship – also often referred to as cosmopolitanism – dates back to ancient Greece and has been an ongoing focus of debate since then. At its core are a series of fundamental questions that have particular importance in the context of the challenges of the twenty-first century – such as economic globalization and climate change: What basic rights do all human beings possess? What ethical obligations do those rights imply for other humans? What specific actions do those ethical obligations require us to undertake? This course examines both the ethical obligations which global citizenship suggests and the ways in which people might fulfil those obligations in practice.


Indigenous Rights to Self-Governance in Bolivia
This research project analyses struggles by Indigenous peoples in Bolivia to exercise the right to self-governance or autonomy – and the responses of the Bolivian state to those struggles. The project has been supported with research grants from SSHRC and the IDRC and has been carried out in very close collaboration with the Bolivian NGO Fundación Tierra (www.ftierra.org). This research project builds on my earlier research on political struggles over municipal power in rural Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

Representations of Global Development and Poverty
This research project examines the ways in which NGOs represent issues of global development and poverty to the general public in Canada and other countries of the global North. The project involves critical analysis of some recent strategies of representation, such as sex and humour (see publications below) and also involves collaborative research with Canadian NGOs and the provincial councils of international cooperation to reflect upon and strengthen strategies to engage the Canadian public more effectively (and ethically) with issues of global development and poverty.

Selected publications and conference papers

John Cameron.  2014. “Grounding Experiential Learning in ‘Thick’ Conceptions of Global Citizenship” in Rebecca Tiessen and Bob Huish, eds. Globetrotting or Global Citizenship : Perils and Potentials of International Experiential Learning. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 21-42. http://www.utppublishing.com/Globetrotting-or-Global-Citizenship-Perils-and-Potential-of-International-Experiential-Learning.html

John Cameron. Forthcoming in 2014. “Rethinking Thinking about Canadian Aid from a Cosmopolitan Perspective” in Stephen Brown, David Black, Molly Den Heyer, eds. Rethinking Canadian Aid. University of Ottawa Press. http://www.press.uottawa.ca/rethinking-canadian-aid

Jason Tockman, John Cameron and Wilfredo Plata. (Forthcoming in 2014). “New Institutions of Indigenous Self-Governance in Bolivia: Between Autonomy and Self-Discipline” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies

Jason Tockman and John Cameron. (Forthcoming in 2014). “Indigenous Autonomy and the Contradictions of Plurinationalism in Bolivia” Latin American Politics and Society.

John Cameron. 2013. “Bolivia’s Contentious Politics of ‘Normas y Procedimientos Propios’” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 8, 2: 179-201.

John Cameron, Fahimul Quadir and Rebecca Tiessen. 2013. “A Changing Landscape for Teaching and Learning in International Development Studies: An Introduction to the Special Issue” Canadian Journal of Development Studies 34, 3: 349-363.

Gonzalo Colque and John Cameron. 2010. “El difícil matrimonio entre la democracia liberal e indígena en Jesús de Machaca” in Juan Pablo Chumacero, ed. Reconfigurando territorio: Reforma Agraria, control territorial y gobiernos indígenas en Bolivia. La Paz, Bolivia: Fundación Tierra, pp 173-208. (click here)

John Cameron. 2009. Struggles for Local Democracy in the Andes. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner / First Forum Press (382 pages).

John Cameron. 2009. “Development is a Bag of Cement: The Infrapolitics of Participatory Budgeting in the Rural Andes” Development in Practice 19, 6: 692-701.

John Cameron. 2009. “Hacía la Alcaldia: The Municipalization of Peasant Politics in the Andes” Latin American Perspectives 36, 4: 64-82.

John Cameron and Anna Haanstra. 2008. “Development Made Sexy: How it Happened and What it Means” Third World Quarterly 29, 8: 1475-1489.

Liisa North and John Cameron, eds. 2008. Desarrollo rural y neoliberalismo: Ecuador desde una perspectiva comparativa. Quito: Corporación Editora Nacional (310 pages).

Liisa North and John Cameron, eds. 2003. Rural Progress, Rural Decay: Neoliberal Adjustment Policies and Local Initiatives in Latin America. Bloomfield, Connecticut: Kumarian Press.