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The Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities

Overview - 2009 Summer Institute

Shifting Empire: Critical Imperial Studies in the Americas and Beyond

Eighth Annual Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities
An Intensive Introduction to Scholarly Research for Undergraduates

June 22nd - August 21st, 2009

This year’s Institute examines the concept of empire through diverse (inter-)disciplinary perspectives.  Under the guidance of four faculty, students will probe the multiple struggles and negotiations that continue to shape the organization of the U.S. empire within the Americas and beyond. Focusing on the Philippines and Caribbean islands as key sites where the Empire’s material and ideological boundaries were drawn, contested, and reconfigured, it reexamines relations among three regions (Asia, the Caribbean, and the U.S.) that scholars have perceived as radically distinct.  Institute students will explore the interrelations among these three regions through multidisciplinary research methodologies (e.g., textual, ethnographic, performance-based) and archives (e.g. state policies, legal challenges, literary works, media texts, oral interviews).  Students will interrogate existing definitions of “empire,” uncover the circulation of commodities, peoples, practices, and ideas across imperial fields and diasporic communities, and open new areas of inquiry that they will pursue in individual and collaborative research projects of their own design. In the process they will gain skill in self-reflectively conceptualizing and producing crossdisciplinary research, with race, gender, and sexuality as important touchstones for this process. 

Students with curiosity about issues of race, place, community and political formations, and cultural practices are encouraged to apply. No prior studies in this field are required.