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2003 SIAH

Culture and Globalization

What are the boundaries of human belonging in an era of globalization? Is the nation-state still a meaningful institution for defining human rights, societal membership, and political subjectivity in the contemporary world? How have the exclusions of a world formerly divided between colonial empires and non-national territories-or between “nations” and “races”-been transferred to the present? Is culture now global? Have ideas like democracy and human rights established norms for the entire world? To what extent, does the production of global norms depend upon the exercise of force and violence?

These are the kinds of questions we will explore in an intensive, eight-week institute on culture and globalization. Students participating in the institute will develop individual research projects on a range of possible topics, including, but not limited to: journalistic debates about the American empire; the cultural politics of tourism, travel writing, world music, and cinema; uses of human rights discourse by nation-states, non-governmental organizations, and social movements; the history of social protest against transnational institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.), and the World Trade Organization (W.T.O.); international discussions of slavery reparations; the contemporary contradictions of labor migration and citizenship politics; the global politics of sexuality, gender and reproduction.

The Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities provides a unique opportunity for selected undergraduates to earn full-time, academic credit through immersion in scholarly research with accomplished scholars and peers. Bringing together four faculty and twenty students in plenary, seminar and tutorial-style sessions, the Summer Institute will encourage mutual learning as well as independent thought. Readings will vary widely across geographies and disciplines and will be used to help participants define an area of research. Lecture and discussion will be used to gain fluency with the “keywords” that define the global horizon of social and political life in the late-20th-century (but not limited to the 20th c.): development, freedom, democracy, markets, citizenship, ethnicity, tribe, racism, nationalism, genocide, among others.

Finally, working on their own, in small groups, and with individual faculty members, institute participants will be guided in the development of research projects designed to deepen their understanding of the forces re-shaping identity, community, and everyday life in the world today. Student projects will involve a substantial and exemplary piece of research, distinguished from routine course work and valuable for future applications to postgraduate or professional programs. The Institute will culminate in the publication of an anthology of student work and a formal symposium to celebrate the unique efforts of undergraduate research in the arts and humanities.

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Teaching Team

Gillian Harkins

Assistant Professor, English,

Gillian Harkins, Assistant Professor (PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2002) specializes in late twentieth-century United States literature and culture. Her research explores the intersections of gender, sexuality and violence in narratives of national belonging at the end of the twentieth century, focusing on the relation between legal and literary representations of incest. Her current work-in-progress examines the role of the national family romance in contemporary U.S. incest narratives, arguing that these narratives replace genealogies of descent, which have historically coupled family and nation, with new figures of domestic inheritance that work to expose the epistemic violence of such historical coupling. Her work contributes to current scholarship on citizenship and sexuality in transnational American Studies as well as to literary studies of twentieth century fiction. Additional research interests include Modern and Contemporary American Literature, female novelists, autobiography, trauma, psychoanalysis, narrative theory, feminist and queer theory, and citizenship.

Chandan Reddy

Assistant Professor, English,

My research focuses on the transformations and inventions of literary forms that issue from history of non-western migration to the “west.” In particular, I’ve been interested in twentieth century Black and Asian migrations from the Caribbean basin and Asia to the United States. Presuming that migration is not solely a demographic phenomenon, but also a transformation of the political economic, social, and epistemological structures of “western” modernity, I approach the study of “racialized” migration as an account of the heterogeneity and unevenness of modernity and its core institutions, especially the nation-state. The project is aimed also at thinking about the intersections and discontinuities between Black and Asian immigrant racializations in various institutionalized critiques. In addition to the literary, cultural and legal study of race and migration, of political economy and the nation-state, I continue to work in the field of non-western and immigrant “gay and lesbian” sexualities. My most recent research has focused on the “individual” as an object of knowledge in contemporary globalization.

Nikhil Singh

Assistant Professor, History,

Selected Bibliography:

  • Black is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy . Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • 2005 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award sponsored by the Organization of American Historians
  • 2005 Norris and Carol Hundley Award, Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association
  • 2005 Washington State Book Award, sponsored by The Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library
  • The Afro-Asian Century (with Andrew Jones), (Durham: Duke University Press, forthcoming).
  • Re-Thinking Black Marxism (with Brent Edwards and Penny Von Eschen), (Durham: Duke University Press, forthcoming).

Matthew Sparke

Associate Professor, Geography and International Studies,

In recent years most of my work has been focused on globalization. I teach a large introductory course on the topic at UW called Introduction to Globalization website, and I am writing a textbook entitled Introduction to Globalization for Blackwell. Based on research funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER grant, I have also authored another book and a number of articles for academic journals on related themes: including the ways in which globalization processes are remaking nation-states, the links between globalization and American dominance, and the impact of economic interdependency on border regions. Some of the most recent of these publications are listed below.

  • Matthew Sparke with Elizabeth Brown, Dominic Corva, Heather Day, Caroline Faria,Tony Sparks, and Kirsten Varg, 2005 “The World Social Forum and the Lessons for Economic Geography,” Economic Geography 81(4): 359 – 380
  • Matthew Sparke, 2004 “Political Geographies of Globalization: (1) Dominance,” Progress in Human Geography, 28,6 777-794.
  • Matthew Sparke, 2006 “Political Geographies of Globalization: (2) Goverance,” Progress in Human Geography, 30,2 1-16.

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