The Glasscock Center hosts an informal coffee hour every other Wednesday morning during the semester. Discussion will be guided by featured guests who will discuss their research or other topical ideas. All are welcome to join us for coffee, tea, pastries, and conversation.
• Past Guests •
“Dress and the Performance of Political Legitimacy in Independence Ghana”
In 1957 Ghana’s new Prime Minister Dr. Kwame Nkrumah wore a cotton smock, called batakari, to declare Ghana’s independence from British colonial rule. Scholars have recognized the Premier’s dressing on that day as a performance of political legitimacy—an attempt to demonstrate the rightfulness of his rule by (1) expressing an autochthonous African identity, (2) showing affinity with the laboring poor and (3) signifying inter-ethnic unity. Beyond their recognitions I will trace the history of the batakari in a pre/colonial spiritual economy to show another dimension to the Premier’s expression of legitimacy—that he wore the batakari to surround himself with the aura and eminence of a spiritually ordained leader.
“Raising Vietnamese: Shaping Youth Identities in North and South Vietnam During the War (1965-1975)”
As part of my Glasscock fellowship I worked on youth in South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam) and North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) during the war from 1965 to 1975. I explored the creation of youth identities in the North and the South based on texts written by adults for youth and by young people themselves, published in newspapers, magazines, other literary productions, and textbooks at the time. Concentrating on texts, I also consider the educational and organizational systems there that facilitated the transmissions of these texts and/or helped to socialize young people, shaping (or not shaping) them into a certain mold. The time at the Center was instrumental for me to build up foundations for 4 articles that have been published or accepted for publication and my manuscript project.
“Wilson’s Curse: The Postwar ‘Federal Moment’ and the Global South’s Path to Political Modernity”
The Glasscock Faculty Research Fellowship enabled Dr. Parker to spend the past academic year working on his (third) book project, “Wilson’s Curse: The United States, Third World Nationalism, and Modernization in the Postwar Federal Moment.” The two decades after World War II saw a worldwide vogue for federations as vehicles for late- and post-colonial sovereignty. His project studies the rise and fall of federations as a historical phenomenon of the era of post-World War II decolonization. In what Parker, Michael Collins, and other scholars have taken to calling the ‘federal moment,” a multitude of decolonizing and postcolonial states– and even Europe itself– embarked on the experiment of federalizing their polities. Dr. Parker’s is a comparative study of postwar Third World federations as virtually all of them shrank or imploded in very short order, and the role– or lack thereof– of the Cold War superpowers in their appearance and trajectory on the world stage.
Wednesday, 8 March 2017, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Heidi Campbell | Associate Professor, Department of Communication
“Considering Religion’s New Interpreters and Authority in Digital Culture”
As digital media empowers users with new opportunities to discuss and perform their religiosity online, new categories of religious leaders, structures and discourse have arisen online. We will discuss these new forms of religious authority, their influence, and the tensions they create when they are perceived to act as competitors to established religious institutions.
Thursday, 23 March 2017, 9-10 a.m. (NOTE: This is a Thursday, not the typical Wednesday)
Richard Russo | Novelist, screenwriter, short-story writer
Pulitzer Prize-winner for Empire Falls and author of the recent memoir Elsewhere, Richard Russo chronicles life in the gritty industrial towns of the American Northeast, from their gossip and resentments to their rich characters and cafes. Russo’s previous works include seven novels and one collection of short stories, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls, which was also adapted into an HBO miniseries starring Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Helen Hunt. Russo earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s in fine arts, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. He has two daughters and lives with his wife in Camden, Maine.
Novelist and journalist Philip Caputo has written 15 books, including two memoirs, five books of general nonfiction, and eight novels. His acclaimed memoir of Vietnam, A Rumor of War (1997), has been published in 15 languages, has sold two million copies since its publication, and is widely regarded as a classic in the literature of war. His novel, Crossers (2009), is set against a backdrop of drug and illegal-immigrant smuggling on the Mexican border. His most recent book, The Longest Road (2013), is a travel and adventure book. In addition to books, Caputo has published dozens of major magazine articles, reviews, and op-ed pieces in publications ranging from the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post to Esquire, National Geographic, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.
Dr. Sweet will be discussing her current book project on Kant’s Critique of Judgment. In this project, she seeks to understand what unifies the seemingly disparate parts of the text under the auspices of the place this text holds in Kant’s critical system. Sweet focuses on the transitional role the text is meant to play, and how each of the judgments described in the text fulfills this promise. In this, we can see the deep kinship between arts and sciences, and theory and practice.
Wednesday, 21 September 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Kevin Crisman | Professor, Nautical Archaeology Graduate Program, Department of Anthropology, 2015-16 Glasscock Internal Faculty Residential Fellow
A Heroine, a Water Witch, and Two Phoenixes: The Archaeology of Early American Steamboats
Over the past quarter-century faculty and students in Texas A&M’s Nautical Archaeology Program (Department of Anthropology) have explored numerous wrecks of early North American steamboats. Re-assembly of the bits and pieces is revealing previously-obscure patterns of emulation and innovation in the development of this revolutionary transportation technology. The research is also highlighting the many ways that steamboats captured both the business and the imagination of the U.S. and Canadian public.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Evan Haefeli |Associate Professor, Department of History
“Rage against the Truth:” Religious Toleration in the Cromwellian Empire
Americans like to think that their country began as a refuge from religious persecution in Europe, however, the story is much more complicated than that. There was no guarantee that colonial America would become as religiously diverse as it did. There were many twists and turns along the way. For example, Oliver Cromwell’s revolutionary regime has a reputation for religious tolerance, but it did not look the same everywhere, as the contrasting experiences of Quakers in Massachusetts — which otherwise promoted the myth of itself as a religious refuge, but now was part of the persecuting establishment — Barbados, and Suriname in the 1650s reveals.
Wednesday, 12 October 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Andrew Bacevich | Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History, Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies
Professor Bacevich will present a public lecture Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. titled “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: Why It Began and Why It Never Ends.” Take this opportunity to have an informal discussion with Dr. Bacevich.
Andrew J. Bacevich is a Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and received his PhD in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins. Bacevich is the author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War (2010). His previous books include The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008); The Long War: A New History of US National Security Policy since World War II (2007) (editor); The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005); and American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U. S. Diplomacy (2002). His essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of scholarly and general interest publications including The Wilson Quarterly, The National Interest, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Nation, and The New Republic. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Boston Globe, and Los Angeles Times, among other newspapers. He is also the editor of a volume entitled The Short American Century: A Postmortem (2012). His newest book is Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (2013). In 2004, Dr. Bacevich was a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. He has also held fellowships at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created rapid change in the political-economic environment of hospitals and, also, a unique opportunity for researchers to study how political-economic change affects hospitals and the relationships in hospitals between healthcare clinicians and patients. Using interview and observational data collected over a 2.5 year period, I explore the relationship between nurses and patients in the obstetrical unit of a New England non-profit community hospital that has undergone swift organizational change, including two acquisition attempts by for-profit hospital systems—one unsuccessful attempt and that closed on October 1, 2016.
Wednesday, 30 November 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Chaitanya Lakkimsetti | Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Texas A&M University
In 2014, the Indian Supreme Court responding to a petition filed by NGOs and transgender individuals delivered a groundbreaking judgment that recognizes gender identity of transgender individuals as an important aspect of personhood. In addition to the recognition of gender identity, it also recommended the Indian state to implement affirmative action in education and employment to address marginalization of transgender individuals. Subsequent to the Supreme Court’s judgment, various Bills have been presented before the parliament including a Bill drafted by the India government to transform the judgment into concrete legislative action. This sudden recognition and legislative and judicial support for transgender rights is in sharp contrast to the national-level resistance sparked by the legal campaigns to decriminalize adult consensual homosexuality. In this book chapter, I examine the salience of transgender rights in the India public sphere since the mid-2000s, and discuss the implications of this legal and political visibility for gender identity politics in India. Drawing on ethnographic and qualitative research I show that these developments have led to a sharp distinction between gender identity and sexuality in the policy and legal realms. As a result, trans individuals and groups are able to make claim to civil rights based on their gender identity, but their sexuality remains imperiled as non-heterosexual sexual acts continue to be criminalized through the continued presence of the anti-sodomy law (a colonial law introduced by the British colonial state). Existing at the nexus of this contradiction, transgender subjects remain as fractured citizens.
Past Guests • Spring 2016
As a Glasscock Research Fellow in 2014-15, Dr. Emily Johansen continued work on a book project that considers cultural representations of global risk and how they shape how we understand what it means to be cosmopolitan in the contemporary moment. Over her time as a Research Fellow, Dr. Johansen particularly focused on a chapter that considered depictions of climate change in contemporary novels and photography, as well as popular movements like the People’s Climate March, and the different ways global connections are imagined, mobilized, and rejected in order to envision responses to environmental crises.
“How do you know when it’s ready to go?” A history of technology maturity assessment. How do you build a spacecraft a decade in the future using technologies that do not exist? Specifically, how do managers and engineers make decisions about the maturity of technologies still under development? To try to make assessing technology readiness more objective, open and comparable, NASA and the Department of Defense developed the Technology Readiness Level in the 1980s-2000s.
Wednesday, 9 March 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. James Rosenheim | Professor, Department of History
How far does the concept of multiple masculinities help to illuminate the lives of men in the historical past? Does it mask a binary reality of “hegemonic” and subordinate masculinities, does it risk dissolving masculinity into nothing more than its manifestation in particular individuals, or does it offer a means to unpack a complicated but nonetheless analyzable gender status? The life of a specific individual, the English civil servant Edmund Herbert (c. 1685-1769), reveals the complicated negotiation of manhood by a man who achieved some of the landmarks associated with full male adulthood (vocation, status as a sort of householder) while lacking others (marriage, children).
Does a transnational spiritual community embedded in West African Religions have a shared vision of “the good”? Dr. Fadeke Castor will discuss her new project, “Black Spirits Matter” that arose out of findings during her Glasscock funded research to Nigeria. In this project she explores the intersection of African-based religions and social justice activism, with a close look at tensions of identity, authority and authenticity and comparative ideas of freedom and rights. Her research on this project has broadened to include sites in the U.S., Caribbean and West Africa.
Wednesday, 30 March 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Kristan Poirot | Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Women’s and Gender Studies Program
“Forgetting Sex: Rhetorical Geographies of Black Freedom Commemoration”
Women have yet to consistently emerge as agents of history in American public memory practices and environments, and this “woman problem” seems particularly pronounced in commemorations of black freedom movements of the 1950s and 60s. Arguably, the paucity of women in “civil rights” museums and memorials is an inheritance of the “Great Man” perspective that has pervaded contemporary historiography for some time. Professor Poirot explores the “Great Man” perspective of public memory as a rhetorical tradition that emboldens the very textual practices on which it relies. More specifically, she examines a variety of heritage tourist sites, museums, and memorials devoted to black freedom movements, postulating the ways that place (location of sites and the place-ness constructed therein), personae, and purpose (of the constructed environments and the remembered goals of movements) function as textual strategies that constitute the context of black freedom memory and the conditions through which women are so easily forgotten.
Wednesday, 6 April, 2016, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Timothy Snyder | Bird White Housum Professor of History, Yale University
Timothy Snyder is the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University, specializing in the history of central and eastern Europe. He has published five award-winning books, including Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010) which won ten awards including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Leipzig Award for European Understanding. His most recent book Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning is a “brilliant, haunting, and profoundly original portrait of the defining tragedy of our time.”
Professor Snyder will present a public lecture sponsored by the Glasscock Center and the Scowcroft Institute titled “The Holocaust as History and Warning” on on Wednesday, 6 April 2016 at 6 p.m. in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. RSVP required →
“Unrepentant Women: Gender, Judaism, and the Limits of Forgiveness”
The themes of forgiveness, reconciliation, collective responsibility, and repair are prominent in humanities disciplines ranging from political theory and philosophy to literature and performance studies. Not limited to only the humanities, these themes have also been examined in the social sciences when considering practical approaches to communities moving forward after trauma. Yet even with the considerable attention of multiple humanities disciplines, the current literature, especially in philosophy, remains myopic in its approach to theories of justice. Noticeably absent is a perspective from scholarship in Jewish Studies and Gender Studies. Utilizing material from popular media and a range of academic disciplines—literature, film, philosophy, religion, gender studies, and Jewish studies—I examine several cases (fictional and historical) of justice, forgiveness, and revenge, focusing on how women frequently have the exceptional expectation to grant and receive forgiveness.
Past Guests • Fall 2015
Wednesday, 30 September 2015, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Alberto Moreiras | Professor, Hispanic Studies
Wednesday, 14 October, 9-10 a.m.
Dr. Susan Egenolf | Associate Professor, Department of English
As a fellow at the Glasscock Center last fall, professor Egenolf continued working on her study of the eighteenth-century potter Josiah Wedgwood. “To Serve and to Conquer: Josiah Wedgwood and Cultural Empire” explores Wedgwood’s relationship to literature, aesthetics, and global politics in the second-half of the eighteenth century. During the fellowship, she developed a chapter on Wedgwood’s global ventures in New South Wales, in Sierra Leone, and with the Cherokee in the Carolinas. She also explored the technologies and productions of British Ceramic transferware as a bookish trade, completely enmeshed in print culture.
Please join us for coffee, tea, pastries, and casual conversation with featured guest Dr. Linda Radzik. Professor Razik will discuss her continuing work on the moral decisions facing bystanders to wrongdoing, and specifically an analysis of the practicing organizing or participating in boycotts. Professor Radzik works on moral issues that arise in the aftermath of wrongdoing. Her book, Making Amends: Atonement in Morality, Law, and Politics, was published by Oxford University Press in 2009. Radzik has also written about the ethics of forgiveness, criminal punishment and collective moral responsibility. She is interested in the intersection of Kantian moral theory and feminist thought. Her work in metaethics focuses on the problem of justifying the authority of normative claims, including claims about epistemic justification.
Shelley Wachsmann will discuss the results of his three field seasons at Tantura Lagoon, Israel, during which his team revealed seven shipwrecks dating primarily from Late Antiquity to the medieval period. Tantura Lagoon is one of the few naturally protected anchorages along Israel’s Mediterranean coast. The site is located on the Carmel Coast adjacent to Tel Dor: this site and its surroundings have been inhabited almost continually for the past 4,000 years. The cove is shallow and covered with a heavy blanket of constantly shifting sandbanks that tend to quickly bury shipwrecks and their cargoes, protecting them from biogenic attack, storms and currents. Thus, Tantura Lagoon has proven to be an ideal environment for shipwreck archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean world.