Sam de Schutter

Sam de Schutter studied history (BA and MA) at Ghent University, Belgium, where he graduated with a thesis on Congolese study migration to Belgium since independence. He also obtained an MA in social and cultural anthropology at Leuven University, Belgium, with a thesis on migration imaginaries in the city of Kinshasa, Congo. Before starting his PhD at Leiden University, he was a teaching assistant in the history department at Leuven University. At the moment he is a PhD candidate at the Institute for History at Leiden University.

In his research, he is looking at how, in the second half of the 20th century, disability became a ‘global’ concern, driven by the attention it received from international organizations. This also created an interest for disability within development practices. He will study how this transnational attention translated into programs and interventions by the UN specialized agencies (WHO, ILO, UNESCO) aimed at the so-called ‘developing countries’. This means analyzing both a global flow of ideas, methods and experts on disability and development, as well as the localized interventions by these UN agencies in Africa. In order to do this, he selected two case studies: Tanzania and Kenya. His research is part of the ERC project “Rethinking Disability: The Global Impact of the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981) in Historical Perspective".

 Keywords: disability history; history of development; history of the UN; postcolonial history.