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CIE Announces 2011-2012 Global Studies Fellows

The Center for International Education has announced its selection of six Global Studies Fellows for the 2011/12 academic year. The Global Studies Fellows program, established in 2010, aids faculty in advancing their research on interdisciplinary topics relating to globalization, its cultural, political, social, economic, and environmental dimensions. The current cohort of Fellows is engaged in projects centered upon the expansive research theme of Global Networks. Global Studies Fellows meet monthly to share their progress and devise research strategies. They will also be sharing their work at a series of colloquia during the fall and spring semesters, and will participate in CIE's next annual conference in April 2012 - "World Cinemas, Global Networks."

erica bornsteinErica Bornstein

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Project Title - Global Philanthropic Networks

Abstract: What inspires members of a diaspora to give to their homeland? As societies around the world have come to rely on family remittances, economic investments, and philanthropic donations from their globally dispersed diaspora, the practice of social welfare cannot be seen as simply confined to the nation state. In this context, it becomes important to understand what institutional measures structure transnational giving. This project focuses on the rapidly growing and influential activities of one of the world's largest diaspora communities: the tens of millions of Indians abroad. Using a legal anthropological approach, it combines institutional and legal analysis with ethnographic methods to explore the nature of the Indian diaspora in the United States, its giving patterns to India, and the impact of that giving. Although global philanthropic networks may have an inconsistent impact on social change, the proposed research seeks to understand the significance of the reliance upon local contexts and social ties. The project explores diasporic philanthropy through three intersecting social contexts: transnational processes and agreements, the role of the state in channeling, tracking, and controlling it, and the impact of diasporic giving on India's vibrant non-governmental organization (NGO) community.

elena gorfinkelElena Gorfinkel

Assistant Professor of Art History and Film Studies

Project Title - Global Art Networks: The Case of "Slow" Cinema

Abstract: My project explores the ways that global networks of film culture and taste have become reoriented around an aesthetic of slowness in contemporary art cinema. This is a challengingly minimalist film aesthetic that prioritizes silence, stillness, durational extensivity, de-dramatization, observational delicacy, and narrative ambiguity. It can be seen in the work of film directors from multiple nations as diverse as Portugal, Hungary, Argentina, Mauritania, Taiwan, Iran, and Thailand. Paradoxically, this style has gained critical currency in a moment when our globalized, networked culture prioritizes speed, instantaneity, and quick change. "Slow" cinema (or what some have called a "contemplative cinema") has entered circulation through transnational networks of production, exhibition, distribution, and reception - and in venues like the international film festival and the alternative public of online film criticism. At stake in an analysis of this aesthetic is a larger question, concerning how global networks both expand and contract the world around us, offering audiences access to places both remote and too close, familiar and strange, reordered and remixed in relation to vestiges of nation and geography and the plasticity of newly virtual public spheres. Furthermore, the collision between a style of slowness that materializes in and from a communicative world of speed and instantaneity challenges us to think about what it means to take time with an image, and to occupy its time. Has slow as an aesthetic already become a niche stylistic norm? And is it a sincere ethos or a feigned resistance to an alienated present of commodified, truncated temporalities?

Ingrid Jordt

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Project Title - The Power of People-to-People Networks in Disaster Relief: A Case Study from Military-Ruled Burma

Abstract: In 2008, Burma experienced the country's worst natural disaster in its history. Cyclone Nargis claimed the lives of 138,000 people and left nearly 2.5 million more people homeless and without the means to their agricultural livelihoods. Based on data collected at a web resource created at UWM to further humanitarian efforts in Burma ( while the military regime in that country created obstacles for aid, Jordt will prepare a book on those events, focusing on the viability of the tools of the internet and informal social networks to address disaster relief situations. The practical outcome of this research is to enhance the ability to use internet networks and resources to move aid across virtual and real physical boundaries even in politically repressive countries such as Burma.

lisa silvermanLisa Silverman

Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies

Project Title - The Rhetoric of Restitution: Compensation and Loss in the Aftermath of the Holocaust.

Abstract: The proliferation of property restitution cases around the world has spurred legal and moral examinations of their implications, but rarely touches upon their deeper theoretical or aesthetic implications. This project seeks to examine how Jews and others used visual culture and texts to engage issues of compensation and loss dealt with in the wake of the Holocaust. It explores the connections between the rhetoric of key compensation and restitution agreements signed by Jewish organizations and national governments after World War II, and the various literary and visual methods that individual Nazi victims and Jewish groups used to deal with material and other losses they suffered between 1933-1945. By examining how legal documents, novels, photographs, and other works of art framed the terms of material and other losses, this project links these narratives not only to each other, but also to past and current contentious issues of property restitution in Europe and its transgenerational implications for Jewish and European history.

Natasha Borges Sugiyama

Natasha Borges Sugiyama

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Project Title - The Diffusion of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs in the Developing World

Abstract: Since governments enacted neoliberal economic reforms, many developing countries around the world have sought to replace piecemeal social safety net programs with more efficient poverty assistance policies. In the last ten years, many countries have converged around a single model, known as a conditional cash transfer program (CCT), which is designed to provide integrated poverty relief that elevates living standards while also promoting human development. As the name suggests, CCTs grant cash assistance to poor families, on the condition they meet programattic requirements (such as their children's regular school attendance and healthcare monitoring, and prenatal care for mothers). The widespread adoption of CCTs reflects a paradigm shift in the development community and means that governments are increasingly committed to providing targeted assistance for families so long as beneficiaries, primarily mothers, fulfill their co-responsibility. This research project will trace the rapid diffusion of CCTs across the developing world and examine the ways that professional networks shape learning, socialize policymakers, and frame a gendered discourse on poverty alleviation.

Tami Williams

Tami Williams

Assistant Professor of Film Studies and English

Project Title -1920s French Impressionist Film and the Making of a Global Cinema Network

Abstract: Long defined in predominantly formal terms, 1920s Cinematic Impressionism was fundamental in the creation of a new, aesthetically groundbreaking, but also a socially engaged filmmaking practice. The movement's key players (immigrant, Marxist, feminist and/or queer) pioneered new cinematic strategies and techniques that allowed them to communicate progressive social ideals through an elaborate signifying network based on 'suggestion.' In a post-World War I climate of shifting social and aesthetic hierarchies, these filmmakers reconfigure and subvert formal, narrative, and generic codes (caricature, parody, multiple endings, technical effects, mise-en-abyme) for the purpose of social critique within a conservative social context. The movement also served as a central hub for an intercontinental network of artists and intellectuals, and as the cornerstone in the creation of an international cine-club movement and independent distribution system. Using multi-language archival resources, this project seeks to reestablish the historical import of 1920s French Impressionist Cinema, and the legacy of its associative aesthetic and progressive politics in the resurgence of a global contemplative cinema today.