The world is changing rapidly in the 21st century, but what shape is it taking? People are on the move, spurred by shifts in the global economy, political systems, communication and technology. What is the effect of such change on human cultures and the environment? We begin by exploring some of the principal historical and contemporary drivers of change: the development of global capitalism, colonialism, postcolonialism, and the altering relationships between markets, states, and civil societies. Questions of power and inequality are central to this inquiry, as are neoliberalism, deindustrialization, flexible accumulation and the instability of financial markets. Using salient conceptual frameworks, we will explore change by analyzing its effects in different communities, investigating links between workers and consumers; mobility of capital and migration patterns of people; state sovereignty and militarization; international nonstate actors; mobilization of civil society; gender roles and social stratification; kinship systems and transnational families; religious fundamentalism; mass media and transnational subjectivities; democratization and human rights; and global justice movements.
This seminar explores the ways in which war has (or has not) changed over the past two decades. Using anthropological tools we will ask questions about: the role of drones and other new technologies, the changing nature of the American Empire, strategic approaches to warfare including counterinsurgency and nuclear deterrence, the economic impact of global economies and migration, and rhetoric around human rights and torture. The class will look at both popular and academic discourse around conflict and ask whether we have the vocabularies and analytical tools necessary to understand the world’s ongoing conflicts. Student presentation of their own work will be a major component of the course as we workshop research and independent work.
Water is the essence of life. Access to Clean Water for drinking, fishing, irrigation and sanitation are basic human rights. In this course, we will use two texts: “Written in Water: Messages of Hope for Earth’s Most Precious Resource” edited by Irena Salin and Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization by Steven Solomon. Water as a source of conflict for countries sharing trans-boundary water resources will be explored and students will engage in current research as part of TWIN (Transboundary Water In-Cooperation Network) a CAPA partnership with the Institute of Environmental Diplomacy and Security. We will specifically look at the current case study on the Kabul River Basin between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This course examines the complex historical and contemporary formations that constitute U.S. empire, through a particular attention to immigration, race, and citizenship. Its aim is to provide students with a critical view of how immigration law has formed part of U.S. national and imperial projects. Using an geographically informed interdisciplinary approach, we will explore key shifts in immigration policy. After laying out a historical and conceptual groundwork for an understanding of U.S. empire, we will look at legislation such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Insular Cases, which set race-based exclusions to citizenship for new immigrants and U.S. territorial populations. We will also explore the connections between U.S. militarism, imperial expansion, and citizenship restrictions, with an eye to World War II and the Vietnam War. We will then turn our attention to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, as well as more recent legislative efforts to restrict immigration. Emphasis is placed on the profound significance of race, gender, and colonial status in immigration law: Which groups are deemed ‘too foreign’ to become American? Which are deemed ‘assimilable’? What do such inclusions and exclusions have to do with the maintenance of U.S. borders and U.S. empire? Finally, we will look at the complicated relationship between the law and social justice. Immigration laws have always been challenged, contested, and negotiated by community activists. To understand their impact, we will study social movements whose organizing has generated new definitions of belonging in the U.S. and beyond.
What do we owe to distant others? What responsibilities do we have to address the misfortunes of citizens of other countries? What, if anything, do we owe future generations? Does the idea of global justice make sense? These and other questions are addressed through a careful reading and analysis of a variety of philosophical arguments.
This course addresses the ways in which language defines and projects power and identity, as well as its role as a societal force with the capacity to embrace or marginalize individuals and entire communities. The course will consider what language is in these contexts as well as public and official conceptions of what it ought to be, and will utilize a combination of primary and secondary sources to introduce relevant theoretical concepts and ground them in real-world, practical examples. The course material will be drawn from the rich socio-cultural environment of the Middle East and North Africa and will focus on events and thought from the nineteenth century forward, though the principles explored and conclusions reached will be of relevance above the level of regional specialty and inform understandings of the position of language in human society at large.
In terms of public action, GANAS remains a community-driven, cross-cultural association that provides students with volunteer opportunities to engage with the predominantly undocumented Latino migrant worker population. These opportunities are facilitated by the group itself, in addition to partnerships with organizations such as Head Start, the Bennington Free Clinic, and the Vermont Workers’ Center.
Current members are implementing an ESL program, women’s workshops, high-school counseling, and conferences, hosting a weekly radio show, gathering oral histories, researching workshops on financial literacy and driver’s privilege cards, maintaining a web presence, advertising, and continuing with social events.
Human rights are universal in principle, but often they are systematically violated in practice, especially in developing countries of the global south. This introductory course explores the international politics of human rights, with a particular focus on the developing world. Topics to be examined in lectures, written assignments, discussions, presentations, simulations and documentaries include: nature and development of contemporary international human rights instruments and institutions; contending liberal (western), statist, realist, relativist and non-western conceptions or critiques of human rights; analytical frameworks for understanding structural causes, conditions and correlates of human rights violations; best practices in human rights investigation, reporting and measurements; politics of international humanitarian intervention; US foreign policy on human rights; new directions in international human rights practice; and profiles of contemporary icons of the international human rights movement like Shirin Ebadi, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, and Amnesty International.
Susan Sgorbati, John Hultgren & Mariko Silver
Given the current disruption and upheaval of immigration policy separating children from their families, this Pop Up class will examine the history and legal aspects of US and global immigration and the efficacy of advocacy related to specific policies.