Emory Report

January 20, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 17

International Studies receives
Ford Foundation grant

Emory has received a $106,200 grant from the Ford Foundation's "Crossing Borders: Revitalizing Area Studies" program to support advanced training and research in comparative and area studies­­programs that study specific regions of the world.

Organized by the Center for International Studies (ECIS) and drawing upon Emory's well-established area and international studies programs, the cornerstones of this effort are working groups devoted to specific international and comparative research topics. "This problem-centered focus will encourage fresh approaches to area studies and provide faculty and students with state-of-the-art research overviews," said ECIS Director Ivan Karp. The graduate school and the Provost's Fund for Internationalization will provide additional support.

The first two interdisciplinary working groups will study comparative industrialization and post-colonial cultures-for example, how different parts of the world have managed problems associated with industrialization and global economic change, and the role of culture and politics in states that are no longer colonies but still struggle with the consequences of colonial rule. Much of the best work on these topics has been written by scholars from the Third World who will visit Emory under the new program, according to Karp.

Over the last decade, changes in the global landscape have forced scholars to rethink the complex relationships among nations and regions and between area studies-based knowledge and discipline-based approaches. "Many of the intellectual tools that international and area studies specialists used in the Cold War era now seem inadequate to the task of understanding the sudden changes many regions of the world have experienced," Karp said. "The methods of any one discipline and the historical experience of any one region can provide only part of the analytical framework needed to understand new structures and relationships."

The working groups will conduct an interdisciplinary graduate seminar and course, develop new undergraduate courses and provide small grants to bring in international speakers to work with students learning lesser-taught languages. They also will organize a joint conference for fall 1998 titled "The Culture of Consumption" to explore the impact of industrial growth and global economics at the points of sale and use, rather than solely at the points of production.

The comparative industrialization group will study the different ways regions adapt to globalization and industrial restructuring and the conflicts created as a by-product of these processes. Examples are non-Westerners' common perception of globalization as "Americanization," while plant closings in the United States have stirred debate about citizenship in a global economy.

The post-colonial culture group will look at the different ways post-colonial culture has reproduced colonial politics and economics. The group also will examine the role of the state in post-colonial societies, new forms of civil society and the ways in which thinking about the post-colonial world has been expressed in art, literature and other fields. Each of the working groups will be composed of faculty and students from both the humanities and the social sciences.

The ECIS program was among 30 selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants. These 30 will be eligible to apply for the second phase of the Ford program, which will make more substantial awards.

-Deb Hammacher

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