Global Studies Symposium

Whitman College students faculty members took the stage with professors from Princeton University, Vassar College and the University of Notre Dame at the 2011-12 Global Studies Symposium on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Maxey Auditorium. The theme this year was "Places/Peripheries: Intersections of the Global and the Local."

In his opening remarks, Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Global Studies Initiative Bruce Magnusson said, "One of the purposes of the Global Studies Initiative is to broaden awareness of global issues across disciplines, to broaden awareness and to help us understand complex global phenomenon. This annual symposium is an opportunity to do just that: take a global thing, bring the expertise of visiting scholars, faculty and students from a variety of perspectives to bear on that theme and then open the discussion to the broader Whitman community."

Visiting professors included Simon Gikandi, Robert Schirmer Professor of English at Princeton University; Himadeep Muppidi, Associate Professor of Political Science on the Betty Goff Cook Cartwright Chair in International Studies at Vassar College; and Carolyn Nordstrom, professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. Hannah Johnson ’12, Daria Reaven ’12 and Hari Raghavan ’13 presented student responses. Associate Professor of History Lynn Sharp and Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literature (French) and General Studies Nicole Simek presented commentaries on the panel.

"It ultimately was really great," Raghavan said after the symposium. "I'm so glad I did it. No one view of globalism is wholly correct. I think the most that each of us as individuals can do is cast sideways glances at it, and I think that's what most important to recognize. In the future, if we want to address some of the problems posed, we have to adopt this interdisciplinary approach where we incorporate each of these perspectives – there's always something unique to be said."

Gikandi and Muppidi said they enjoyed the "freshness" of student perspectives.

"It was quite impressive, because they're so engaged with all these issues," Gikandi said. "They take them seriously. I found myself learning from them. They're not trying to use this kind of forum to facilitate their own networking skills and strategies. … We go to symposiums where you hear stuff which is so familiar and rehearsed, so when you hear students coming from their own experiences and interests, that's wonderful."