[CANCELED] Geographies of Knowledge: Area Studies and Globalization Studies Reconsidered – A Panel Discussion

Due to unexpected circumstances this event has been canceled. (The April 4 event also featuring Arjun Appadurai has been canceled as well.) We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

In its 50 years of existence, the Center for International Studies has served as the administrative home and intellectual incubator of a diverse array of scholarly projects.  Among the most far-reaching and impactful of these were the area studies initiatives of the 1960s and the Globalization Project in the 1990s. This panel discussion will examine and compare area studies and globalization studies as research paradigms in the social sciences.

Please join us for this exciting conversation and anniversary celebration that features Dain Borges (History), Julie Chu (Anthropology), Susan Gal (Anthropology), and Lisa Wedeen (Political Science), who will be joined by special guest Arjun Appadurai (Media, Culture & Communication – NYU).  Mark Lycett, Director of CIS, will moderate.

Area studies emerged in the post-war US academy and reflected a national agenda that privileged strategic regional expertise within a bipolar world.  Globalization studies came of age in the 1990s. Responding to geopolitical shifts coinciding with the end of the Cold War, globalization studies forged a new approach to analyze and interpret social, political, and economic dynamics within and across world regions  In each case, both area studies and globalization studies articulated historically specific geographical imaginaries—of the globe, its constituent parts and their relations—that have indelibly shaped social scientific research and public understanding alike.

This event gathers past and present participants in area studies and globalization studies at the University of Chicago for a conversation on the geographical imagination and its relationship to the contemporary social sciences. In what ways do area studies and globalization studies, as distinct understandings of the globe, serve to structure knowledge production in the social sciences?  What potentialities for and limits on inquiry do they express?  What unexpected legacies have these intellectual projects produced?  In what ways do area studies and globalization studies continue to impact scholarship in the social sciences? Through such questions, we bring area studies and globalization studies—two different but allied frameworks—into conversation in a retrospective assessment of how categories of the international and the global have organized ways of knowing the world.

Arjun Appadurai, PhD ’76 is the Goddard Professor in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, where he is also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. He has authored numerous books and scholarly articles, including The Future as a Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition (Verso 2013), Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger (Duke 2006) and Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, (Minnesota 1996; Oxford India 1997). His scholarly honors are numerous, including residential fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto (California) and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and an Individual Research Fellowship from the Open Society Institute (New York). He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997. In 2013, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Erasmus University in the Netherlands. He has also served as a consultant or advisor to a wide range of public and private organizations, including many major foundations (Ford, MacArthur, and Rockefeller); UNESCO; UNDP; the World Bank; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the National Science Foundation; and the Infosys Foundation. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Asian Art Initiative at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum and on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Forum D’Avignon in Paris.  Appadurai’s latest book, Banking on Words: The Failure of Language in the Age of Derivative Finance was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015.

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