Conference, five-year project at IU focus on establishing new directions for global studies

  • Sept. 17, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Every academic discipline in the social sciences and the humanities today includes a scholarly focus on global issues.

Despite this, no clear consensus has emerged regarding the most fundamental definitions of terms or appropriate empirical methods for studying global issues.

Since 2010, Framing the Global, a five-year interdisciplinary research studies initiative at Indiana University, has focused on global issues and their linkages across borders.

Later this month, scholars from around the world -- including about 15 scholars directly involved in the initiative -- will gather at IU Bloomington to convene about directions and methodologies for global research.

Keynote speakers at the Framing the Global Conference on Sept. 26 to 28, will include Arjun Appadurai, the Paulette Goddard Professor of media, culture and communication at New York University, and Gillian Hart, professor of geography at the University of California-Berkeley.

The conference is free and open to the public, although registration is required by Sept. 22.

Framing the Global is being supported through a $755,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through its Universities and Their Presses Program. It is a collaboration between the Center for the Study of Global Change, part of the new IU School of Global and International Studies and IU Press.

"We hope we are contributing to this conversation," said Hilary E. Kahn, director of the Center for the Study of Global Change and director of IU's Ph.D. minor in global studies. "I believe that the Framing the Global project is being seen as a unique approach that Indiana University is contributing to global studies.

"Nothing is done in isolation anymore," Kahn added. "I don't think anybody is denying the fact that there are still entities that have some integrity within local or geographic spaces, within territories or nations. But yet at the same time, I don't think anybody would disagree that all of those are given meaning and are defined in some ways by broader global connections."

She noted that knowledge in the 21st century no longer emerges from one space; it comes from collaboration, dialogue and engagement between people from various disciplines and from beyond borders. She said it also is about bridging different perspectives, including within academia.

Global studies emerged in the 1980s as scholars, policymakers and the public began to take note of the increasingly transnational flow of people, ideas and goods.

Next spring, the first volume of research from the project will be published as part of IU Press' Global Research Studies.

About the speakers and conference program:

Appadurai is a prominent contemporary social-cultural anthropologist, having formerly served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at The New School in New York City. He has held various professorial chairs and visiting appointments at some of the top institutions in the United States and Europe.

He is a world-renowned expert on the cultural dynamics of globalization, having authored numerous books and scholarly articles. The nature and significance of his contributions throughout his academic career have earned him a reputation as a leading figure in his field. His latest book is "The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition" (Verso, 2013).

He will speak on the topic, "Finance and the Global Imaginary," at 5 p.m. Sept. 26 in the Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St.

Hart is co-chair of development studies at Cal-Berkeley. She has worked in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia on questions of agrarian change, labor and gender. Since the early 1990s, Hart has been deeply engaged in research and writing for academic and popular audiences in her native South Africa.

This more recent phase of her work addresses debates over globalization, neoliberalism and the rise of new social movements. As an honorary research professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, she participates in a research cluster program with South African graduate students. She has also been working collaboratively with a group of South African and Indonesian scholars and activists to explore the rise of agrarian movements in post-apartheid South Africa and post-Suharto Indonesia, and the connections they are forging with one another.

She will give the lecture, "Beyond Dichotomies: Challenges in Reframing the Global," at 10:45 a.m. Sept. 28 in the IMU Frangipani Room.

The conference will begin at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 26 with Framing the Global fellows, in a session preceding Appadurai's keynote.

The overall conference will continue Sept. 27 and 28 at the IMU and will include sessions such as "Global Grassroots: Transnational Experiences Shaping Public Engagement in Kentucky," "Artifacts of the Global," "Imagining Global Disjunctures" and "Rethinking the State and Global"

Support for the conference comes from the College of Arts and Sciences' Themester 2013 program, "Connectedness: Networks in a Complex World," which focuses on the role of connection as a force in society and in people's lives.

The Kelley Institute for Social Impact in the Kelley School of Business is sponsoring the participation of keynote speaker Yasmina Zaidman of the Acumen Fund, whose lecture, “An Approach to Building Diverse Global Networks and Unlikely New Alliances in an Interconnected World,” will address global issues of social entrepreneurship. She will speak at 11 a.m. Sept. 27 in the IMU Frangipani Room.

Other lead conference sponsors are the Australian National University-Indiana University Pan Asia Institute, the Kelley Institute for Social Impact, the IU School of Global and International Studies, the College Arts & Humanities Institute, the IU Center for International Business Education and Research, Madhusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program and the IU School of Journalism.

Other sponsors are the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, the African Studies Program, the Center for the Study of the Middle East and the departments of Anthropology, History, Sociology, Geography, Political Science, Communication and Culture, and International Studies.

Related Links

Arjun Appadurai

Arjun Appadurai

Print-Quality Photo

Scholars working on the Framing the Global project

Scholars working on the Framing the Global project

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

George Vlahakis

  • IU Communications
  • Office 812-855-0846
  • Cell 812-345-1500
  • IU Inc.

Deborah Piston-Hatlen

  • Center for the Study of Global Change
  • Office 812-856-0532