Culture in Global Affairs

CIGA Seminar Series

2013-2014 | 2012-2013 | 2011-2012 | 2010-2011 | 2009-2010 | 2008-2009 | 2007-2008 | 2006-2007

Fall 2007 – Spring 2008

Photo: Caroline BledsoeFamily Reunification Ideals and the Practice of Transnational Family Life among Africans in Spain
Friday, February 15, 2008
Dr. Caroline Bledsoe, Melville J. Herskovits Professor of African Studes, Professor of Anthropology, Northwestern University, Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow 2007-2008

This talk focuses on the emerging dilemmas for Spain and its African immigrants, as the wider European Union unfolds. It suggests that family reunification and humanitarian doctrine may have paradoxical consequences — separating immigrant families rather than bringing them together.

Photo: police lineParadise Stolen: The Expulsion of the Chagossians and the Creation of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia
Friday, February 15, 2008
Dr. David Vine, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, American University

This talk centered on the forced expulsion of the Chagossians from Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean, due to American military interests. Vine conducted fieldwork from 2001-2004 among the displaced Chagossians and learned of the process of their expulsion and their current living situations.

The Chagossians, who feel they were displaced from a "sweet life" in "paradise" and are now living in poverty, sought legal aid against the U.S and Britain, where they are citizens; a British court recently ruled in the Chagossians favor.
audio icon Listen to "Paradise Stolen"

Photo: Dr. Stephen LubkemannInvisible Displacements and the Social Meaningof Movement: Involuntary Immobility and Post-Conflict Displacement
Friday, February 8, 2008
Dr. Stephen Lubkemann, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, The George Washington University

This talk focused on post-conflict displacement in Mozambique. Dr. Lubkemann highlights the challenges faced by Mozambican refugees of the 1977-1992 conflict, exacerbated by periods of drought, due to the misconception of how war creates an undesirable immobility, which is very detrimental to the lifestyle of Mozambicans. Dr. Lubkemann advocates for a better understanding of how migration is part of social organization to better construct refugee relief programs.
audio icon Listen to "Invisible Displacements"

Photo: Dr. Nancy Scheper-HughesA World Cut in Two: Global Justice and the Traffic in Human Organs
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Dr. Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Chancellor's Professor of Medical Anthropology, University of California-Berkeley

This talk draws on Professor Scheper-Hughes's worldwide investigations into organ trafficking rings and her forthcoming book on the subject. Professor Scheper-Hughes is a leading figure in medical anthropology and a prolific writer and essayist. Her books include Saints, Scholars and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland and Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil.
Co-sponsored by the Initiative on Global Organ Trafficking, a national nonprofit that conducts research on the issue.
audio icon Listen to "A World Cut in Two"
Video for this event is also available for download. Please contact us at to request.

Photo: Dr. Robin MearnsUnderstanding Rural Livelihoods and Implications for Poverty Reduction Programs: Mongolia and Vietnam Compared
Friday, October 29, 2007
Dr. Robin Mearns, Senior Natural Resource Management Specialist, East Asia and Pacific Region, The World Bank

Dr. Robin Mearns spoke on development strategies that consider the social and economic context when implementing projects with Mongolia and Vietnam as case studies. In Mongolia, traditional pastoral livelihoods were threatened when the state stopped supporting them in the 1990s. Mearns suggests that local scientists who understand these livelihoods conduct research for policy makers. In Vietnam, community driven development projects that focused on basic infrastructure have been successful. Mearns uses this local/community-driven initiative to serve as an example for successful development projects in the future.
audio icon Listen to "Understanding Rural Livelihoods"

Photo: Dr. Eric RossViolence and Clearance in Modern Colombia
Friday, September 21, 2007
Dr. Eric Ross, Senior Lecturer in Population and Development, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, CIGA Scholar-in-Residence and Professorial Lecturer in Anthropology and International Affairs, George Washington University

Rather than looking at endemic rural violence in Colombia as an impediment to development, this paper explores such violence as an intrinsic feature of the development process, and suggests how the nature of that violence has changed over the years since WWII, as the country's lines of integration into the world economy have altered. In the process, we can see "development" (or "modernization"), as it was defined during this period, in terms of specific class interests whose priority was neither economic equity nor social justice.
audio icon Listen to "Violence and Clearance"

Photo: Dr. Dorothy HodgsonPositionings: Transnational Advocacy, Civil Society, and the State in Africa
Friday, October 5, 2007
Dr. Dorothy Hodgson, Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University

Professor Hodgson's presentation described the changing ways that Maasai activists of Tanzania have positioned themselves to seek rights. Beginning in the late 1980s, they formed non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and appealed to the international indigenous rights movement. Since 2000, however, they have shifted their efforts to appealing to the Tanzanian government, reframed their struggles in the terms of "pastoralist livelihoods," and renamed their organizations as community based organizations (CBOs). She explores these topics in detail in her forthcoming book, Positionings: Transnational Advocacy, Civil Society, and the State in Africa.

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