Catalyzing innovative research and instruction on global development.

The Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Institute for Global Development supports theoretical and applied social science research. We fund projects and working groups that address issues ranging from economic inequality to discursive politics, contributing to Cornell’s leadership in global development. 

Established in 2001, the Polson Institute has enhanced and extended the efforts of the department members, creating space for collaboration within and between Global Development, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Cornell University community. Through seminars, workshops, and grants we not only plant seeds for research and academic collaboration but contribute to educational opportunities for students outside of the classroom.

Since its inauguration in 2001, the Polson Institute has been helmed by a Director and Steering Committee drawn from the Department of Global Development. It works to support the research of faculty in the Department of Global Development and to help them build collaborations across and beyond the university through a series of programmatic initiatives that include, among others, a Small Grants Program, Research Working Groups, and a Visiting Faculty Program. 

 

Our Team

Fouad Makki
Fouad Makki

Associate Professor

Department of Global Development

Director of the Polson Institute for Global Development

Department of Global Development

Fouad Makki
Uneven and Combined Development
Nature and Modernity
State Formation and Development

Polson Steering Committee members

Philip McMichael
Philip McMichael

Professor Emeritus

Department of Global Development

Philip McMichael
  • pdm1 [at] cornell.edu
Food regimes
Food sovereignty
Agrarian questions
John Sipple
John Sipple

Professor

Department of Global Development

Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Global Development

John Sipple
Pk-12 education
Sociology of communities
Policy
Scott Peters
Scott Peters

Professor

Department of Global Development

Scott Peters
Political theory & public philosophy
Community organizing & development
Oral history
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue

Professor

Department of Global Development

Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue
Education, Development and Inequality
Population and Development
Sociological Research Methods
Jenny Goldstein
Jenny Goldstein

Assistant Professor

Department of Global Development

Jenny Goldstein
  • goldstein [at] cornell.edu
Political ecology
Digital geography
Southeast Asia

Ruth & Robert Polson

The Polson Institute for Global Development was named for Robert Polson (PhD, Wisconsin) and Ruth Polson (PhD, Cornell), former faculty of Cornell University and active community members. Robert Polson served as faculty member and Chair of the Rural Sociology department at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences during his 40-year Cornell career. During this time he acted as one of the founders of Cornell's International Agriculture Program. He was a respected leader in the Rural Sociology Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the American Sociological Association. Ruth Polson taught English and Music at Ithaca High School while completing her MS and PhD in English Literature. The establishment of the Institute reflects the commitment of its benefactors: to the community and international connections forged through collegial research, teaching, and the study of social change.

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240K Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-255-1682
Fax: 607-254-2896

Stay Informed

The latest news, highlights and events with the Polson Institute

News

New book confronts struggle between agribusiness and democracy in California
The book “In the Struggle: Scholars and the Fight Against Industrial Agribusiness in California” by Professor Scott J. Peters and Daniel J. O’Connell, Ph.D. ’11 weaves together the stories of eight scholar-activists who opposed agribusiness...
  • Polson Institute for Global Development
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
hand putting trash in garbage can

News

Cornell’s Polson Institute for Global Development will host “Reducing Campus Food Waste: Innovations and Ideas,” a lecture and workshop May 2-3 on campus.

News

Climate change expert Natalie Mahowald will deliver the keynote address on removing atmospheric carbon at the 2019 Polson Institute Future of Development symposium.

staff at the Kenya Children’s Science Center gather after workshop

News

The Cornell Alliance for Science’s Global Leadership Fellows program teaches teams how to function across differences, so that workers can thrive in a culture of trust and respect.
  • Department of Global Development

News

Renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs will present a lecture, “Reclaiming America’s Democracy,” on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. in Statler Auditorium, Statler Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

  • Department of Global Development

Seminar Series

Illustration of people biking a mountain with a sun overhead

Webinar

Designing for the Pluriverse: Restor(y)ing Life, Remaking Worlds
This talk examines emerging narratives of life that differ significantly from dominant anthropocentric perspectives of the world and their associated extractive modes of global development. Based on the notion of radical interdependence, these...
  • Polson Institute for Global Development
  • Development
  • environment
Augustin Menoni

Seminar

Polson Institute for Global Development seminar March 10 from 4:45-6:15 p.m. Location: Warren B73 and Zoom What is the relationship between universities and extension programs? How has this relationship, and the types of knowledge and practice...
  • Global Development
  • Polson Institute
  • Polson Institute for Global Development
CK Lee

Webinar

A conversation with Ching Kwan Lee, professor in the UCLA Department of Sociology Professor Ching Kwan Lee explores the making of 'global China' as an economic, cultural, and political phenomenon in this conversation with Jenny Goldstein...
  • Global Development
  • Polson Institute
  • Polson Institute for Global Development
The Work of Economics How a Discipline Makes its World A Conversation With Timothy Mitchell KAUSHIK BASU

Webinar

A Conversation with Timothy Mitchell and Kaushik Basu. KAUSHIK BASU is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University. He was Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank from 2012...
  • Polson Institute for Global Development
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
Book cover of "In the Struggle: Scholars and the Fight against Industrial Agribusiness in California" by Daniel O'Connell and Scott Peters

Seminar

Polson Institute for Global Development Seminar In the Struggle, a new book co-authored by Daniel J. O’Connell PhD '11 and Professor Scott J. Peters, traces an historical arc of activist scholars in California who fought not only against...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
  • Polson Institute for Global Development