Since its creation in 1978, Third World Quarterly has covered a wide range of topics which champion Southern Scholarship and tackle global inequities. Explore the journal’s evolution:
In early 1978, a registered charity, Third World Foundation, was set up and formally recognised by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This philanthropic foundation was pioneering in publishing a monthly magazine, known as South, and also partnering with the UK newspaper, The Guardian, to produce Third World Review, a four-page supplement primarily focussing on disseminating voices from the Global South.
Third World Quarterly is Born
In December 1978, the interdisciplinary academic journal, Third World Quarterly (TWQ) was launched.
The journal was conceived at a time of grave uncertainty and significant global changes — the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan — and also in response to the rising power, and changing dynamics of countries within the regions known as the Third World during the Cold War.
With a print run of 2,000, TWQ was to provide “a forum for informed and reasoned debate” with its “open-minded and sympathetic search for establishing an international order based on justice.”
The journal was initially set up and edited for 11 years by Pakistani journalist/politician, Altaf Gauhar, who was previously Editor of Pakistan’s first English language newspaper, Dawn.
The early founders who established the journal were Shridath Ramphal of the Commonwealth and Mahbub ul-Haq of the World Bank.
In the first issue of the journal, the innovative North-South map (which took inspiration from the Peters Projection map) was printed.
The map encouraged viewers to think of the inequalities of the global distribution of wealth, resources, and power, by accurately representing the significance of countries by their size.
Third World Lecture Series Begins
An annual Third World Lecture took place between 1979 through to 1989, with notable speakers such as the anti-famine campaigner, Sir Bob Geldof (1987), Julius K, Nyerere, the anti-colonial President of Tanzania (1982) and the disarmament activist German Chancellor, Willy Brandt (1985).
TWQ devoted an issue to the Brandt Report which was a review of international development inequities between Global South and Global North.
In 1980, a conference was also held in Glasgow in partnership with The Scotsman, and Scottish Television.
In its early years, TWQ had in-depth interviews with eminent statesmen and scholars encouraging conflict resolution.
Third World Affairs was an annual review of the State of the Third World published between 1981 and 1986.
South-South summits took place every year between 1983 and 1986 (in Beijing, Cartagena, Harare and Kuala Lumpur) to create awareness of the causes of poverty and its likely solutions.
The Start of the Third World Prize
The Third World Prize was awarded to individuals and institutions for outstanding contribution to Third World development particularly in the economic, social, political or scientific fields.
Recipients included notable figures such as Argentinian economist Raúl Prebisch for Dependency Theory (1982), Swedish Prime Minister Harlem Brundtland for Sustainable Environment (1989), and Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela for a life-long struggle against Apartheid (1985).
Special Literature Section Commissioned
From 1987 to 1990, TWQ included a 60-page section on literature dedicated to the diverse poems and prose of Africa, Asian, the Middle East, and Latin American.
The writing of Nobel Literature Prize winner V.S. Naipaul was featured in an edition in 1987.
The section has been edited by acclaimed British writers Maya Jaggi and Monica Ali.
In 1989, the journal had a growing readership of 15,000.
Fall of the Berlin Wall
In November 1989, the fall of the Wall was symbolic of the end of the Cold War. The term “Second World” became largely obsolete following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1992, ‘Rethinking Socialism’ covered the topic as a Special Issue.
Shahid Qadir (Editor, 1990 to 2020, Founding Editor 2020 – present day)
Shahid Qadir, who had been the Associate Editor, took over the role as Editor-in-Chief. Formerly an Honorary Research Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London, he is now the Chair of the Editorial Board and Founding Editor of the journal.
End of Apartheid
Apartheid, a system of racial segregation in South Africa, came to an end leading to the formation of a democratic government in 1994. The journal dedicated an entire issue exploring the possibility of ‘a new South Africa’, which looks at the country’s transition to democracy and includes an article on the end of the Third World.
TWQ Goes Online
In 1997, all TWQ articles were archived into a digital library. View them on the Taylor & Francis website.
The all-time most cited article ‘Social capital, civil society and development’ by American political scientist and international relations scholar, Francis Fukuyama, was published.
ThirdWorlds Book Series Launch
Routledge establishes ThirdWorlds book series with ‘Reconstructing Post-Saddam Iraq’ by Sultan Barakat as the first topic.
Since 2007, over 70 ThirdWorlds titles have been published. Recent issues include: ‘Everyday Life of Drugs’; ‘Social Justice Movements’; ‘Global Land Grabs’; ‘Sport and Development’ and ‘Disability in the Global South’.
One of the most highly-cited articles from the 2000s was by Hein de Haas, a Dutch sociologist who has lived in The Netherlands and Morocco. In his paper, he questioned migration myths by looking at migration and development through a different lens. Read the full article.
TWQ Receives Eminent Scholar Award
The journal celebrates its 35th Anniversary. TWQ receives the Eminent Scholar Award in Toronto from the International Studies Association (ISA).
The award is presented to Shahid Qadir for editing Third World Quarterly. Naomi Klein also received the Outstanding Activist Award from ISA.
One of the most cited articles in TWQ was published in 2015, authored by Andrea Cornwall of King’s college London.
Her article looked at reframing established terms such as ‘gender equality’ and ‘women’s empowerment’ used in international development in the 1980s to contribute and connect to a broader movement for gender justice in a post-2015 world. Read the full article.
TWQ Becomes Monthly
With increasing submissions, the journal expanded from its original format of 4 issues per year to 12 in 2015.
Online submission and peer review also became available through the digital submission system, Scholar One.
Third World Thematics (TWT)
Third World Thematics, an online-only partner publication, is born to showcase research on crucial issues facing the contemporary Global South.
Edward Said Award
In 2016, the Edward Said Award was set up and awarded to the best graduate paper by the Global Development Section (GDS) of the International Studies Association (ISA).
Edward Said, one of the founding TWQ editorial board members, was a Palestinian-American academic, literary critic and political activist. The journal sponsors the award and reception to honour Said’s intellectual legacy.
The award continues to garner innovative scholarship by early career researchers.
A viewpoint piece on colonialism (later withdrawn) caused discomfort and dissension, propelling the journal into introspection which lead to the reform and renewal of a robust and diverse editorial team.
Global South Colloquium Fund (GCSF) launched
As part of a community-building programme, TWQ has been grant-giving via the Global South Colloquium Fund, which enables scholars (particularly from the Global South) to travel to or host workshops and conferences.
New Global TWQ Team of Academic Editors
A new interdisciplinary editorial team is formed: Jing Gu, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK; Rirhandu Mageza-Barthel, University of South Africa, South Africa; Marianne H. Marchand, Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico; Mustapha Kamal Pasha, Aberystwyth University, UK; Randolph Persaud, American University, Washington DC,USA and Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, University of California, Irvine, USA
Leading in the Field of Global South Studies
In 2022, 839 articles were submitted and the journal had 781,947 downloads.
Aims and Scope
The journal’s aims and scope were refreshed to reflect the changing context of research about the Global South, renewing the journal’s commitment to “shape academic and policy agendas across political and development discourses, as well as the postcolonial trajectories of Global South nations and peoples”.
12 Grows to 18 Issues