Dr. Ju­lia Schöne­berg


University Kassel
Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften
Nora-Platiel-Str. 1
34127 Kassel


Julia Schöneberg studied Socioeconomics and Peace Studies in Hamburg and Lancaster. She was Junior Researcher at the Centre for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn, project officer with the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), and has taught in Bonn, Rhine-Waal, Salzburg and Kassel. Her research focusses on practical Post-Development, social movements and resistances, as well as decolonial approaches to knowledge co-creation and pedagogy more broadly.

As post-doctoral researcher in the DFG-funded project'Towards a Reinvention of Development Theory: Theorizing Post-Development', Julia explores the various theoretical groundings of Post-Development theory. The project departs from a position of skeptical Post-Development (in opposition to its neo-populist variant) taking into account Eurocentrism, (epistemic) power asymmetries and colonial legacies, while at the same time acknowledging need and desire for greater global material equality and the mitigation of structural injustices on local, national, regional and global levels.

Jointly with Dr Juan Telleria (University of the Basque Country), Julia is leading the EU COST Action CA19129 – Decolonising Development: Research, Teaching and Practice. The Action consists of more than 150 scholars and researchers from 27 different countries, who are coming together in a broad range of activities to network and collaborate. The Action DecolDEV takes on the challenge to reconstruct the concept and practice of development after its deconstruction. It aims for a resetting and diversification of the actors, structures, institutions and spaces in which knowledge about and for development is produced, shared, contested and put into practice. The Action will progress beyond the state-of-the-art through exploring and formulating alternatives in three areas: Research, Teaching and Practice.

Furthermore, she is interested in the (asymmetric) relations in which knowledge is generated and critically interrogates and explores what is needed for scholars to contribute to truly transformative and pluriversal processes in knowledge production, dissemination, policy and practice. She is the co-founder of www.convivialthinking.org, a platform seeking to give space to inclusive, interdisciplinary and alternative approaches towards mainstream methods of knowledge production, especially in the context of "development".

Further research collaborations

Bridging EU Studies and Postdevelopment (with Prof Dr Jan Orbie und Assistant Prof Dr Sarah Delputte, both Centre for EU Studies (CEUS), Ghent University, Belgium)

Although much research on the EU as a ‘development’ actor can be considered ‘critical’ towards the EU’s policies and approaches, Postdevelopment and decolonial debates have remained off the radar in debating the EU’s global role. In line with Manners & Whitman’s call (2016) for more dissident voices in theorising Europe, this collaboration seeks to explore how Postdevelopment approaches can inform, infuse and potentially transform the study of EU (development) policies and relationships with the Global South. One outcome of the collaboration is a blog series on EU and Postdevelopment.

Intercultural Philosophy and Critical Development Theory in Dialogue (with Prof DDr Franz Gmainer-Pranzl, University Salzburg)

As cooperative member of the Centre for Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions at Paris Lodron University Salzburg, Julia is collaborating on a dialogue between intercultural philosophy and critical development theory. We assert that this dialogue is overdue and can enrich both disciplines: intercultural philosophy, through confrontation with research of social and political sciences and economics, can gain a stronger empirical basis towards global challenges, whereas (critical) development theory will be able to more clearly acknowledge philosophical preconditions of particular concepts of politics and globalization. One specific outcome is Issue 44 of „POLYLOG. ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR INTERKULTURELLES PHILOSOPHIEREN”.


(2016) Making Development Political. NGOs as Agents for Alternatives to Development, Nomos: Baden-Baden 2016. DOI: 10.5771/9783845272887

Edited volumes

(forthcoming) „Dekolonisierung der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit und Postdevelopment Alternativen – Akteur*innen, Institutionen, Praxis“, Baden-Baden: Nomos, with Aram Ziai

(forthcoming) Intercultural Philosophy and Critical Development Theory in Dialogue, POLYLOG – Zeitschrift für Interkulturelles Philosophieren, with Franz Gmainer-Pranzl

(2020) “How do we know the world?! – Collective engagements with the (de)coloniality of development research and teaching”, Acta Academica, with Lata Narayanaswamy and the Convivial Thinking Writing Collective

Journal articles (peer-reviewed)

(2021) Why Positionalities Matter: Reflections on Power, Hierarchy, and Knowledges in “Development” Research, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, with Arda Bilgen and Aftab Nasir

(2017) NGO partnerships in Haiti: clashes of discourse and reality, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 38 (3), 2017. DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2016.1199946

Book chapters (peer-reviewed)

(2019) Imagining Postcolonial-Development Studies – Reflections on Positionality and Research Practices, in: Baud, Isabelle, Tiina Kontinen, Elisabetta Basile (Hrsg.): Building Development Studies for the New Millennium. Palgrave MacMillan: London. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-04052-9_5

(2019) Manoeuvering political realms: Alternatives to Development in Haiti, in: Elise Klein, Carlos Eduardo Morreo (Hrsg.) Post-Development in Practice, Routledge: London.

Book chapters

(forthcoming) Global Citizenship Education - Bildung für eine pluriverse Welt?, in: Bettina Brandstetter, Ulrike Greiner, Franz Gmainer-Pranzl (Hrsg.) Von „schöner Vielfalt“ zu prekärer Heterogenität, Salzburger interdisziplinäre Diskurse, Peter Lang Verlag: Frankfurt a.M.

(2020) Méte Tét Ansanm – Auf der Suche nach Alternativen zur Entwicklung in Haiti, in: Anita Rötzer, Franz Gmainer-Pranzl (Hrsg.): Shrinking Spaces - Mehr Raum für globale Zivilgesellschaft!, Salzburger interdisziplinäre Diskurse, Peter Lang Verlag: Frankfurt a.M.

(2016) INGOs in Haiti: Entwicklungsakteure als Promotoren von Alternativen zur Entwicklung? In: Gmainer-Pranzl, Franz und Angela Schottenhammer (2016) Hrsg: Wissenschaft und globales Denken, Salzburger interdisziplinäre Diskurse - Band 7. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Other Articles

(2020) ‘Development’: False promises, questionable term, with Aram Ziai, Development + Cooperation,  e-Paper no. 9 2020, 2020/09

(2018) Manevwe domèn politik la: Sipòte lit la a travè finasman chanjman sosyal lan, in: Chantiers, Revue des Sciences humaines et sociales de l'Université d'état d'Haïti Numéro spécial "Les ONG en Haïti : vers de nouveaux paradigmes explicatifs", Port-au-Prince.


(2019) Global Development and Colonial Power. German Development Policy at Home and Abroad (Daniel Bendix), in: Peripherie Nr. 154/155, 313-315.

Blog contributions and online articles

(2020) Why a firm postcolonial stance is fundamental for the future of ‘development’ NGO work, Convivial Thinking

(2020) It is time to abandon “development” goals and demand a post-2030 Utopia, with Mia Kristin Häckl, Ghent Centre for Global Studies Blog

(2020) Alternatives to what?: From “The Divide” towards the “Pluriverse”, Convivial Thinking

(2020) „Eine Frage der Gerechtigkeit“, globaleverantwortung.at

(2019) “Development: a failed project“, Blog for Open Democracy

(2019) “Tough questions for new EU “development” commissioner” EUobserver, zusammen mit Sarah Delputte und Jan Orbie

(2019) “Why a decolonial lens must be at the heart of all those who claim to research and teach "development", Debating Development Research Blog, EADI. 

(2019) “How Do We “Know” the World” - Why does the question matter?, Convivial Thinking, zusammen mit Lata Narayanaswamy

(2018) “Problems of development and "development" as a problem”, Global Development Institute Blog, zusammen mit Henning Melber

(2018) “Alternatives to development” as a universal project?, Convivial Thinking

(2018) “Why I refuse to rethink development”, Convivial Thinking 

Working Papers

(2016) Partnership and cooperation in Haiti: Clashes of reality and construction. DPS Working Paper Series No. 4, Department for Development and Postcolonial Studies, University Kassel.

(2015) NGOs: Development actors as agents for alternatives to development? Exploring the case of Haiti. ZEF Research in Brief, Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung, Bonn, September 2015.