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An undercurrent, by definition, is the unseen movement of water beneath the surface; its tug and motion are only perceptible upon submersion. It is an apt metaphor both for international development studies and its undergraduates. The intriguing tensions and debates within the field of IDS flow beneath a popularized veneer of humanitarian charity. And we, its undergraduates, study at the margins of the arena of the academy – much of our vitality and dynamism hidden from view. Undercurrent is a publication that immerses its readers in the ebbs and flows of development studies through the perspective of Canadian undergraduates.

Indelibly marked by the legacy of colonialism and the onward march of global integration, international development studies is a field illuminated by our confrontation with human difference and inequality. The just pursuit of unity in diversity promises to be a reiterating challenge for the next century, and water is a fitting icon for such a pursuit: an elemental reminder of our fundamental oneness that, through its definition of our planetary geography, also preserves our distance.

Undercurrent sees itself as an aide in the pursuit of academic knowledge and research, both for undergraduates and the larger academic community. It is an open access journal – freely available and distributable – in an effort to promote open research and stronger cooperation within academia, international development agencies, and those simply interested in the field.