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CIE Announces 2010-2011 Global Studies Fellows

The Center for International Education is proud to announce the inaugural year of its Global Studies Fellows programs.  Supporting interdisciplinary, international research across campus, CIE selected five Fellows for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Ellen AmsterEllen Amster

Assistant Professor of History

Project Title - Telling the Truth about Colonialism in the Body: Malnutrition and Its Effects on Birth, Reproduction, and Infant Health in Morocco

Abstract: Colonialism uses the body as a site for the construction of its authority, legitimacy and control, yet the biomedical body can also tell the truth about colonialism. In the Moroccan woman's collapsed pelvis and the Moroccan infant's Kwashiorkor, the colonized body revealed the destruction of Muslim reproduction through malnutrition, a food crisis created by French colonial industrialization. The French Protectorate created Maternal and Infant Protection programs for Muslim women in 1948 to battle against "irrational" Islamic childrearing and eliminate native midwifery, but it is the woman's body itself that reveals food to be the true cause of infant death.

A. Aneesh PhotoA. Aneesh

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Project Title -  Life and Property: The Ethics of Plant Ownership

Abstract: From Monsanto Corporation's control over genetically modified seeds and the resulting food supply to global pharmaceutical companies' patents over engineered and non-engineered life forms, dynamics of the market and of life are increasingly coupled. Yet, this transformation also heralds an equally unprecedented global movement against one particular aspect of these dynamics: the privatization of the public resources. The proposed project seeks to compare two different modes of resistance against the privatization of two plants-Hoodia and Neem-in South Africa and India respectively. Hoodia and Neem have direct bearings on two different food systems. While Hoodia has long acted as an appetite suppressant in South Africa, reducing the experience of hunger and the frequency of meals in desert conditions of the Kalahari, Neem has been used in India's farming system as a natural pesticide. By examining two relatively successful struggles, the project seeks to shed light on how these seemingly similar struggles carry between them two different sets of social order and ownership norms.

Kennan FergusonKennan Ferguson

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Project Title -  Political Cookbooks

Abstract: Political Cookbooks argues that cookbooks are inherently political works. First, cookbooks are shown to partake in the building of political communities, determining the boundaries and properties of nations, peoples, guilds, and associations. Second, cookbooks provide a record of, and a prescriptive program for, an affective and sensate formulation of politics, one that resists the compulsory and logical narratives of traditional political texts. Third, cookbooks locate and iterate the conceptual underpinnings of global political identities, enacting practices of nation-building, political temporality, international relations, community, and liberty. 

Kristin PittKristin Pitt

Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature

Project Title -  The Vulnerable Body: Globalization, Migration, and Exposure in Contemporary American Narrative

Abstract: This project explores globalization by examining contemporary narrative representations of international migration to the United States. During the fellowship year, I will develop two chapters of what will ultimately be a book-length study of recent literary and film representations of immigrant bodies in the U.S. to argue for alternative discourses of migration that acknowledge the humanity and suffering of immigrants. The two chapters that I will research as a Global Studies Research Fellow will investigate representations of undocumented border-crossings and of migrant agricultural labor, the second of which I would like to be considered for inclusion in the April 2011 conference on Globalization and the Ethics of Food. 

Manu SobtiManu Sobti

Assistant Professor of Architecture 

Project Title -  The Last Apples of Kazakhstan: Modernity, Geo-Politics, and Globalization in Central Asia

Abstract: In the future worlds of the so-called ‘Food Inc' and the ‘New Gene Café' the most pressing concern for all is assumed to be the quality of the stuff on our plate. Exactly how and why GE foods impact our bodies in a diversity of ways is no small matter. Yet even more insidious is how the grandiose ‘Food Inc' in its multiple avatars shall potentially dismantle entire cultures, local histories and spatial patterns globally. Most brutal shall be its assault on the means of production and wilful negation of consumption ethics to irretrievably undermine the historical and cultural dimensions of diverse global populations, whose traditions and performative practices still remain inextricably bound with the foods they grow and consume. Within Levitt's broad trope of globalization, this research proposal examines critical assessments on why the survival and preservation of ‘native' food species is indeed critical to cultural and historical diversities. Discerning where a crop or food-stuff originated and where the greatest portion of its genetic diversity remains extant may seem esoteric to the uninitiated. But knowing where exactly our food comes from- geographically, culturally, and genetically - is of paramount importance to the rather small portion of our own species that regularly concerns itself with the issue of food security. Within this purview, three important questions are addressed. At a first level, how must genetic specificity (and consequently genetic diversity) be preserved in this climate of unprecedented global change. Secondly, how shall the loss of genetic specificity expedite the loss of culture and place? And thirdly, how do bio-diversity hot-spots map on to cultural diversity hot spots at the global scale?