Transnational Tuesdays: A Lecture Series, 2012-13

1924SchreinerMap zigzaggedIn anticipation of the conference on the Transnational Turn in the Humanities on March 22-23, 2013, the Humanities Institute and the Department of Transnational Studies have organized a lecture series called Transnational Tuesdays.
Most events in the series take place on Tuesdays at 2 or 4 pm in Clemens Hall 1004. Note that the first event on February 4 is an exception: it is on a Monday at 1:30.

The schedule for the Spring term is as follows:

Monday (NOTE: not a Tuesday!), February 4, 1:30, Clemens 1004:

Toni Pressley-Sanon, African and African-American Studies/ Transnational Studies

“Haiti’s Contemporary Peasant Movement: Struggles and Triumphs”

 The paper will discuss some of the more recent assaults against food sovereignty both from within and outside the country of Haiti and the role of peasant cooperatives in countering the threat to agriculture and ultimately, Haitian national sovereignty, which some have claimed is what is really at stake. The paper is based on historical and ethnographic research that the author has undertaken with a cooperative community in a province of Haiti.

Tuesday, February 12,  4 pm, 1004 Clemens:

Sergey Dogopolsky, Comparative Literature and Institute of Jewish Thought and Heritage

“The Open Past: Subjectivity and Remembering in the Talmud”

“Continental” philosophy of last century predicated time on the future, thus limiting the role of the past to the necessary fiction of the source or origin, at the same time insisting on being (in particular on what “was”) as the basis for attaining the ultimate agreement in and about the future (what “will be”). The Talmud provides an alternative conception of time, in which the past plays a formative role in thinking and remembering, and fosters disagreement as a goal, rather than means, of discussion, through which the past, and therefore the order of the political, can only be properly accessed.

Thursday (NOTE: not a Tuesday), April 4, 4 pm, 1030 Clemens

Walter Greason, Department of History and Anthropology, Monmouth University, and the International Center for Metropolitan Growth, New York City

“What is the total wealth of the United States?  How has every society’s percentage of the total wealth on Earth changed since 3500 BCE?  The answers to these important questions begin with a combination of Sir Partha Dasgupta and Immanuel Wallerstein’s ideas about economics and world systems over the last two centuries.  The more recent data confirms the importance of human capital to national wealth among industrialized societies over the last two centuries.  However, the shifting patterns in the relevance of both natural and physical capital across the medieval period opens the door to new perspectives about the function of religion in the various world systems.

Tuesday April 9, 2pm, 1004 Clemens:

Panel discussion: “Lost in Translation? Race in Transnational Contexts” 

The papers of this panel investigate how U.S.-American ideas about race are complicated, challenged, or reappropriated when put into conversation with actors from different cultural contexts. The presenters are all PhD Candidates in American Studies.

 Tanja Aho, “Rosa Lemberg: A ‘Tragic Mulatta’ Goes Transnational”

Situated within this already multilayered confluence, this presentation will focus on the biography of an African-Finnish-American theater director and performer, Rosa Lemberg. Her symbolic function can be read as transnational—destabilizing and deconstructing notions of nationality and citizenship—and her biography speaks to the transnational nature of prejudices, beliefs, and racism, as well as to the transnational fluidity and adaptability of literary forms such as the ‘tragic mulatta’ figure.

Maria Daxenbichler, “Transnational Interactions of Racial Ideology in Postwar Germany”

The American occupied zone of postwar Germany became a location of transnational ideological exchanges, influencing racial formations in Germany and African American resistance in the U.S. The presence of African American soldiers and American attempts of reeducation guided Germans’ redefinition of their racial identity as white, not Aryan.  At the same time, African American soldiers’ experiences in Europe strengthened their claims for civil rights back home.

Aaron Lefkovitz  “Hip Hop’s Transnational Continuities and Manifestations”

Hip hop in East Africa, Israel, Palestine, Columbia, and Japan are a few examples of this late 20th and early 21st century cultures’ transnational manifestations. In a cross-cultural analysis linking music, dance, and politics, my paper utilizes documentary films, songs, albums, lyrics, newspaper articles, and other primary sources to place hip hop in a broader transnational
historical frame.

April 23, 4pm Clemens 1004 “Is Culture Globalized? The Zambian Experience

Barbara Wejnert, Daniele Krakowski and Lauren Sordellini, 

Global Gender Studies/Transnational Studies

The talk provides witness testimonies and narrates personal experiences with the culture and cultural customs, schooling, daily problems and development of needed societal cohesion of people in Zambia. The testimonies based on experiences of two UB students: Daniele Krakowski and Lauren Sordellini who first hand experience Zambia while living and working at the Missionary School for poor and orphan children near Lusaka, Zambia.

Tuesday April 30, 4pm, Clemens 1004. Global Gender Studies Graduate Student Roundtable:

Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, and Social Justice at the Transnational Turn

This roundtable will explore what the ‘transnational turn’ in the Humanities has meant for the field of Women’s and Gender Studies. In particular, we seek to explore the relationship between this articulation of transnational engagement and the rise of ‘Gender Studies’ departments and disciplines, sometimes alongside and sometimes in the place of ‘Women’s Studies’. A discussion such as this is integral to a discussion about the ‘transnational turn’ at UB Humanities Institute because it speaks to the experiences of its students and faculty both broadly and specifically. In the latter sense, it invokes a process that happened right UB – the shift from ‘Women’s’ to ‘Gender’ Studies.

The schedule for the fall term 2012 was as follows:

September 24: Theresa Runstedtler, Transnational Studies/American Studies

“Culture and the Global Color Line from Blackface to the Black Athlete”

This presentation explores the connection between the rise of commercial mass culture and the development of what black American intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois called the “color line, the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.” The transnational traffic of blackface minstrelsy and black American performers in the nineteenth century set the stage for the reception of black professional fighters such as the first black world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in the twentieth century. Although this cultural traffic was instrumental in shaping shared notions of whiteness across national borders, it also opened up possibilities for subversive, transnational alliances across racial and ethnic lines.


October 1: Mark Shechner, English

“The New Diaspora: Jewish Writing as Trans-National Enterprise”

The New Jewish Literature is far more transnational than it is domestic and far more internationalist than it is nationalist.  New Jewish writers from David Bezmogis to Gigi Anders to Danit brown and Avner Mandelbaum among many others, mirror a broader phenomenon of writers born in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe who seek sanctuary in America and find their voices in their new home. It is misleading to call it an American literature at all, except in the formal sense that the writers work in English – which is frequently a second language – and live in North America.  What a strange and unpredictable body of literature it is.

October 15 Jose Buscaglia, Transnational Studies/Caribbean Studies

“Alonso Ramírez: Brief Account and True History of the First American who Circumnavigated the Globe, 1663-1690.”

In 1689, Alonso Ramírez, a native of San Juan de Puerto Rico, was shipwrecked in the Coast of Yucatan. When captured by English pirates off the coast of Manila, he claimed to have circumnavigated the globe. The account of that voyage was published in Mexico City in the summer of 1690. But not until Prof. Buscaglia’s decade long research by land and sea had there been any proof of the veracity of the claims and, indeed, of Ramírez’s existence.


November 5: Nuning Purwaningrum, Transnational Studies/Global Gender Studies

“Transnational Marriage, Marriage Migration, and Gendered Geographies of Power: A Study of Marriage Migration among Indonesian Women to the United States Post Year 2000”

Despite the securitization of immigration post 9/11/2001, the influx of brides from foreign countries (mostly Asians) to the United States quadrupled over the last decade. This paper examines Indonesian women marriage migration to the United States after the implementation of the Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act 2000 (LIFE Act) and is framed by Mahler and Pessar’s Gendered Geographies of Power. It investigates the questions–Why did marriage migration increase significantly in the last decade despite the tightening of immigration control? How did tightening of controls affect women migrants’ experiences?  How did this also influence the idea of transnationality among the marriage participants?


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