PopDev (the Population and Development Program) is a center on peace, population and the environment based at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. The program was established in 1986, in the heyday of population control. The goal was to advance feminist scholarship and advocacy that was grounded in the international women’s health movement’s resistance to population control.
In this spirit, we take on “overpopulation”: the idea that “too many people” are responsible for global problems like environmental degradation, climate change, poverty, hunger and even war. Population trends are important, but “overpopulation” narratives fail to address the complexity of those trends in a complicated world. They narrow the scope of policy responses and too often target women’s bodies as the site of intervention.
At PopDev, we critique overpopulation thinking. We trace its consequences in policy for reproductive health and family planning, environment and climate change, immigration and international security. We offer alternative frameworks for understanding population dynamics.
PopDev calls for social justice, including sexual and reproductive freedom, environmental and climate justice, peace, and immigrant rights. We uphold the rights of women and advance a broad understanding of gender.