Culture in Global Affairs Seminar Series

Women, Development, and Mental Health in Tanzania: Preliminary Findings from Three Regions
May 14, 2014

Neely Myers, Research Professor of Anthropology; Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, GW

This presentation offered preliminary findings from data collected in summer 2013, supported by the Global Gender Program and the Culture in Global Affairs Program in partnership with World Vision Tanzania. Myers conducted interviews with women in three regions of Tanzania (Arusha, Kilimanjaro, and Singida) about their perceptions of well-being. The regions include places where World Vision had worked in the past, where they were setting up a new program, and where they had been offering development initiatives plan for a few years. The research sought to learn about women's perceptions of challenges in their lives, in their own words. This exploratory study indicates that learning about women's perceptions of well-being and mental health is itself challenging. 

Co-sponsored with the Global Gender Program and the Africa Working Group of the Institute for Global and International Studies.

Stopping Violence Against Women: Women's Rights as Human Rights
April 17, 2014 

Alison Brysk, Fellow, Global Women's Leadership Initiative, Wilson Center; Mellichamp Chair in Global Governance, Professor, University of California Santa Barbara

Violence against women kills and maims more people than any war, and is estimated to affect one out of three women worldwide—yet it has only recently been recognized as a human rights problem. What can the framework adopted since the 1993 Vienna Conference, "women's rights are human rights," teach us about how to mobilize to stop violence against women? A generation of research on the politics of human rights campaigns suggest the importance of transnational action, framing, information politics, and the specific challenges of "private wrongs" committed by non-state actors. This talk surveyed a global panorama of campaigns, with a focus on sexual violence in India.

Co-sponsored with the Global Gender Program.

Seminar on Governance of Conservation and Biodiversity in the Tibetan Region
February 12, 2014

Drawing on several decades of experience working in eastern Tibet, Mr. Golding provided an engaging and thought-provoking set of comments on his central question for an audience of students, researchers and policy studies community.

Ethan Golding is a Tibet specialist and Director of Winrock International in the PRC. Now based in Chengdu, he was trained in East Asian studies at Harvard and Stanford and first traveled to Tibet in 1983.

Co-sponsored with the Tibet Governance Project and the Institute for Global and International Studies.

Gender, Identity Politics, and State-society Relations on the Sino-Tibetan Border
February 3, 2014

Dr. Tenzin Jinba discussed his current research and recent book, In the Land of the Eastern Queendom:  The Politics of Gender and Ethnicity on the Sino-Tibetan Border.  Recorded in classical Chinese texts, this legendary matriarchal domain has attracted not only tourists but the vigilance of the Chinese state.  Tenzin Jinba's research examines the consequences of development of the queendom label for local ethnic, gender, and political identities and for state-society relations. 

Co-sponsored with the Tibet Governance Project

Why the World Bank Should Take a Human Rights Approach to Hydrodevelopment
October 23, 2013

Environmental anthropologist Barbara Rose Johnston, senior research fellow at the Center for Political Ecology detailed how the Chixoy Dam project is an example of hydroelectric energy development that entails extremely high costs to land, lives, and livelihood, and in violation of national and international human rights laws. While huge profits were achieved, more than 3,500 Maya community members were displaced and remaining families in the Chizoy River Basin live in poverty due to the dam. Johnston reported that all of the actors in charge, including international lenders, were aware of the violence involved in displacing the Maya, including massacres perpetrated on them in the 1970s. 

Co-sponosred with the Institute for Global and International Studies.

Women as Successful Entrepreneurial Leaders in Agriculture: Ten Case Studies from Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America
October 17, 2013

Featuring Marlene Gummo Stearns, this seminar discussed ten case studies, informed by in-depth field interviews with women owners of small and medium sized enterprises. Stearns is a 2013 graduate of the Elliott School’sMIPP program, and her fieldwork was partially supported by the Global Gender Program. Stearns' findings are also provided in an IGIS/GGP Working Paper.

Co-Sponsored with the Institute for Global and International Studies and the Global Gender Program.

Prenatal Sex Selection: Global Patterns and a Focus on Southeast Asia
October 9, 2013 

Christophe Z Guilmoto, demographer and director of research at the Center for Population and Development (CEPED), Institute of Research for Development (IRD), Paris, overviewed current global patterns and trends relating to pre-natal sex selection, as well as the relationship between the practice and kinship structures in Vietnam and Indonesia.

Co-sponsored with the Global Gender Program.

From Integration to Disruption: How to Transform Gender Relations?
September 20, 2013

Panelists traced the feminist vision that drove gender mainstreaming and provided examples of transforming gender relations in organizations and communities and resistance to change. They also explored ideas and actions that moved beyond gender mainstreaming to influence and transform development and change.

Aruna Rao, Executive Director, Gender at Work; Member, Editorial Advisory Group, Gender & Development; and Practitioner in Residence, Global Gender Program, George Washington University

Srilatha Batliwala, Chair, Gender at Work Board and Scholar Associate, Association for Women's Rights in Development 

Joanne Sandler, Senior Associate, Gender at Work

Alivelu Ramisetty, Gender Advisor, Oxfam America

Lisa Veneklasen, Executive Director, Just Associates

Sponsored by Global Gender Program, Gender and Development Journal, Gender at Work, and Oxfam.

Humanitarian Aid Accountability – Expectations and Realities in Haiti
September 9, 2013

Panelists discussed the politics of humanitarian aid in the United States in the context of Haiti:
Mark Schuller, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and NGO Leadership Development, Northern Illinois University
Michael N. Barnett, University Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University
Thomas C. Adams, Haiti Special Coordinator, U.S. Department of State

Co-sponsored with the Institute for Global and International Studies and the Western Hemisphere Working Group.

Mobility, Precarity and Empowerment in African Migration 
May 23, 2013

Presentations and discussion offer a creative re-thinking of African migration and displacement in which movement is typically cast as a process of "rupture" in which disconnections, losses, and dilemmas receive the most attention, thus neglecting how migrants and migration transform social, economic, and political processes.

Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff, George Washington University
Jorgen Carling, Peace Research Institute Oslo 
Lisa Cliggett, University of Kentucky
Loren Landau, Witwatersrand University
Stephen Lubkemann, George Washington University 
Martin Murray, University of Michigan 
Bruce Whitehouse, Lehigh University

Co-sponsored by the Social Science Research Council and several programs at GW:CIBERIFERCIGAIGIS, the Diaspora Program, and the Africana Studies Program

Tibetan Language Policy and Practice as a Challenge of Governance: Shifting Minority Policy Orientations in the People's Republic of China
January 25th, 2013

Manla Kyi will speak about China's changing policy toward minority languages. She will focus on the case of the Tibetan language and policy about the language of instruction in schools. Kyi is a doctoral candidate at the University of Hong Kong.

Co-sponsored with the Global Policy Forum

Machik Weekend
November 2-4, 2012

Machik Weekend is an annual gathering in Washington DC that brings together a diverse community of people who support Machik's mission to incubate social innovation in Tibet. It provides a unique forum for conversation, exploration and action for people who share a passion both for the ideals of service and civic engagement as well as for the Tibetan people, their land and their culture.

Through roundtables and informal discussions, participants share their experiences and learn about the broader issues at stake in the project of social engagement. Guest speakers spotlight themes such as education and social entrepreneurship, and provide their reflections on challenges facing Tibet in a wider global context. Above all, Machik Weekend is a meeting of inspired individuals who share a common concern for our collective global future.

Co-sponsored with the Global Gender Program

Wall Street Women: An Ethnographic View by Melissa S. Fisher 
October 18, 2012

book cover

Melissa Fisher draws on fieldwork, archival research, and extensive interviews with a very successful cohort of first-generation Wall Street women. She charts the evolution of the women's careers, the growth of their political and economic clout, changes in the cultural climate on Wall Street, and their experiences of the 2008 financial collapse.

Co-sponsored with the Global Gender Program

Resilience and Vulnerability: Weathering Climate Shocks in Coastal Belize by Dr. Sara Alexander
September 13, 2012

Belize map

Sara Alexander is an applied social anthropologist whose research focuses on livelihood security and vulnerability, food security, ecotourism, natural resource management, human dimensions of climate change, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She recently completed a two-year field study, funded by NOAA, in several coastal communities in the Meso American Barrier Reef System to examine a resilience of vulnerable households to climate-related events and shocks. These data are being used to develop a Resiliency Index.

The Future of Humanitarianism: A View from the South
May 3, 2012

Jemilah Mahmood

Jemilah Mahmood, Founder, MERCY Malaysia

In 1999 Dr. Mahmood founded the humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia), held the position of President for a decade, and led Mercy Malaysia's growth from rather humble beginnings to become one of the world's leading aid agencies. In August 2009 she became Chief of Humanitarian Response at the United Nations Population Fund.

This event was co-sponsored by GW's Humanitarian Governance Program

Freedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Architecture of Global Power
April 12, 2012

Eben Kirksey

Eben Kirksey, Mellon Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor, City University of New York Graduate Center

Eben Kirksey first went to West Papua in 1998 as an exchange student. During his later study of West Papua's resistance to Indonesian occupiers and the forces of globalization, he discovered that collaboration, rather than resistance, was the primary strategy of this dynamic social movement. The revolutionaries have a knack for getting inside institutions of power and building coalitions with unlikely allies, including many Indonesians.

Kudumbashrees in Kerala, India: Women-Oriented Community Development
April 9, 2012

Dr. S. Gregory

Dr. S. Gregory, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Anthropology, Kannur University, Kerala, Indian & Fulbright Scholar, University of Chicago

In the late 1990s, India's Kerala state embarked on a democratic decentralization process. One of the major development initiatives established Kudambashrees, women's neighborhood groups, to take up micro initiatives that would lead to empowering poor women and improving their livelihoods. The talk examined how the Kudumbashrees in Kerala have emerged as a bottom-up attempt to tilting contemporary gender inequalities.

This event was co-sponsored by GW's Global Gender Forum

Burma After the By-Elections: Taking Gender and Human Security Into Account
April 3, 2012

Burma Panel

Democratic parties' participation in the April 1 by-elections in Burma reflect a partial political opening and the expectation that some of the country's pressing challenges can be addressed. This panel will highlight human security issues, taking into account the ways in which men and women may be differently affected, and will consider how the US government and US organizations might be able to play a supportive role. Read blog post.

Christina Fink, Professor of Practice, the Elliott School of International Affairs, GW
Tom Malinowski, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch
Mark Taylor, Senior Coordinator, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, State Department
Wenchi Yu, Senior Advisor, the Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues, State Department

Moderated by:
Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, GW

This event was co-sponsored by GW's Global Gender Program and Sigur Center for Asian Studies

Lessons for Afghanistan (and Elsewhere) from the Reconstruction of Iraq
April 2, 2012

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren, Foreign Service Office, U.S. Department of State; Author, We Meant Well: How I helped Lose the War for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraq People

Peter Van Buren, State Department Foreign Service Officer, will speak about lessons for foreign assistance in war-torn countries from his experience in U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Using examples from his work with two Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq from 2009 to 2010, he will discuss principles of "armed humanitarianism" as practiced by the United States. His presentation will raise the question for discussion of whether such foreign aid efforts can ever succeed. Van Buren is the author of the new book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the War for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.

Moderated by: Inder Sud, Director, Master of Arts Program in International Affairs; John O. Rankin Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, GW

This event was co-sponsored by GW's International Affairs MA Program and International Development Studies MA Program

Rehearsing the State: The Governance Practices of the Tibetan Government in Exile
March 2, 2012

Fiona McConnell

Fiona McConnell, Junior Research Fellow, Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Fiona McConnell's research engages with political geography around issues of sovereignty, state practices and the (re)pluralising of political space, with a particular interest in how communities officially excluded from formal state politics are nevertheless engaging with aspects of statecraft. Her doctoral research focused on the sovereign practices of the exile Tibetan government based in India and she has ongoing interests around issues of legitimacy, diplomacy and geographies of peace.

Arresting the Killer in the Kitchen: The Promises and Pitfalls of Commercializing Improved Cookstoves
November 3, 2011

Rob Bailis

Rob Bailis, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Professor Bailis reviewed the impacts associated with dependence on solid fuels as a source of residential energy throughout the developing world and discussed the current state of household energy interventions.

Rewriting the Medieval History of Tibet: A Field Survey of the Great Tombs and Relics of the Tibetan Empire in the Western Kokonor Region
November 3, 2011

Yongdrol K. Tsongkha

Yongdrol K. Tsongkha, Professor for Ethnic and Tibetan Studies, Lanzhou University; Research Associate, Indiana University

Since the 1983 discovery of plundered imperial tombs in Dulan in the western Kokonor Region of the Tibetan plateau, thousands of tombs dated to the period of the Tibetan Empire (7-9th centuries) have been discovered in the area. A great number of tomb relics such as gold, silver and silk artifacts and Tibetan inscriptions on stone tablets and wood slats are now circulating in public museums and private collections in Europe, North America, Japan and China as well as in antique markets in Hong Kong, Beijing, Lanzhou and elsewhere. Based on extensive field studies, Professor Tsongkha's lecture gave a survey of the tombs, relics from the tombs, and recent academic studies, all detailing the significance of these discoveries for understanding the medieval civilization of Tibet.

Tibet and the Politics of Exile in the New Millennium
July 14, 2011

Samdhong Rinpoche

Samdhong Rinpoche, Tibetan Prime Minister in Exile

A distinguished scholar and leading Tibetan public intellectual, Professor Samdhong Rinpoche has served as the first elected Tibetan Prime Minister in Exile from 2001 to 2011. He was professor of Tibetan studies and director of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi, India, from 1971-1988. In 1990, he was a member of the Drafting Committee Constitution of the Future Polity of Tibet and Law for the exiled Tibetans. From 1991 to 1995 he was appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as one of the deputies of the Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies and was later unanimously elected as its Chairman. Samdhong Rinpoche was born in eastern Tibet in 1939. He received his Geshe Lharampa degree in 1968 and his Ngarimpa degree in 1969.

From Sherlock Jones to the Mysteries of the Cracked Bell: Anthropological Reflections in and on America
November 30, 2010

Tristram Riley-Smith

Tristram Riley-Smith, Head of the Centre for Science, Knowledge & Innovation in the British Government's Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure

Dr. Tristram Riley-Smith is the author of "The Cracked Bell", an analysis of the 21st century United States that draws on his training as a social anthropologist at the Cambridge University and his three-year posting as Counsellor in the British Embassy in Washington, DC. His talk explores the relevance of ethnography to a modern Western democracy and what anthropologists can teach us about ourselves.

Anthropology, Human Rights and the Ethics of the Ethnographer's Lament
November 15, 2010

Mark Goodale

Mark Goodale, Associate Professor of Conflict Analysis and Anthropology, George Mason University

This talk will examine the anthropology of human rights and justice processes, looking at the ethics of problematizing dominant ideas and practices of human rights. 
Co-sponsored with the University Honors Program

Let's Start with Haiti: Making President Obama's New Vision for Development Work
October 20, 2010

Ray Offenheiser

Ray Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America
video icon Watch the video

ModeratorRobert Maguire, Associate Professor of International Affairs, Trinity Washington University, Chair, Haiti Working Group, United States Institute of Peace, Visiting fellow, CIGA

This talk will consider President Obama's new approach to development and explore its impact on how international agencies, governments, and NGOs seek to assist Haiti. Drawing on experience in other countries, the speaker will also present Oxfam's view on good development practice.

Film Screening and Panel: Restrepo: One Platoon, One Valley, One Year
September 30, 2010

Restrepo poster

Hugh Gusterson, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at George Mason Univesrity
Byron Hartman, MA Candidate in IDS program, ESIA
Barbara Miller, Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at GW

Working the Night Shift: Women in India's Call Center Industry
April 22, 2010

Dr. Reena Patel, Ph.D. in Geography, University of Texas at Austin

Drawing on her newly released book, Working the Night Shift: Women in India's Call Center Industry (Stanford University Press, 2010), Reena Patel spoke about how call center employment in Mumbai affects the lives of women workers, specifically the anxiety of Indian families related to social concerns about women going out at night, earning a good salary, and being exposed to western culture. From remarks such as "call center job equals call girl job!" to worry about how night shift employment will affect a young woman's worth in the arranged marriage market, Patel explored the ironic and, at times, unsettling experiences of women who enter the spaces and places made accessible to them through call center work. 
Co-sponsored by the GW Global Women's Initiative

Female-Selective Abortion as Genocide: The Situation in India
March 24, 2010

Sabu George, independent researcher, New Delhi, India
Co-sponsored by the GW Global Women's Initiative

Film Screening and Panel: Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy
March 8, 2010

Mark Schuller, Co-producer and Co-director of Poto Mitan; Assistant Professor of African Studies and Anthropology, City University of New York
Julie Meyer, Director, Lambi Fund
Leigh Carter, Executive Director, Fonkoze USA
Co-sponsored by the GW Global Women's Initiative

Conflicts in Israeli Feminism and the Question of Palestine
February 24, 2010

Dr. Smadar Lavie, Associate Professor of Studies in Women and Gender, University of Virginia

Professor Lavie explored the conflicts inside the Israeli feminist movements. What is largely known outside Israel, and in English, as "Israeli feminism" is the feminism of the minority European-Jewish elite. It bears little or no appeal to the grassroots — the Mizrahi ("eastern," Hebrew) majority of Israeli women, who are of Middle Eastern origins. Most Mizrahi vote for right-wing parties partially because left-wing parties are associated with the Ashkenazi elite. The deep commitment of the general Mizrahi population to Zionist ideology places Mizrahi feminists, critical of Ashkenazi Zionism, in a predicament.

Risk, Suffering, and Response: The Haiti Earthquake Crisis 2010
January 25, 2010

A multidisciplinary panel discusses the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake crisis.
video icon Watch the video

Barbara D. Miller, Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, The Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University

Robert Maguire,  Randolph Jennings Senior Fellow, United States Institute for Peace, and Associate Professor of International Affairs, Trinity University
"Assessing Damage and Moving Forward"

Kyrah Daniels, Junior Curator, National Museum of American History
"Haiti: Spirits Unbroken"

Erica James, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Dilemmas of Humanitarian Assistance in Haiti and in the Haitian Diaspora"

Julia Frank, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, The George Washington University
"Buffering the Emotional Impact of Disasters: How to Avoid Making Things Worse"

Drexel G. Woodson, Associate Professor of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona, "Shaky Ground(s): Will the Earthquake Prompt Haitians and Foreigners to Negotiate a Pact for Sustainable Reconstruction?"

Co-sponsored with the International Development Studies Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs and the Department of Global Health in the School of Public Health and Health Policy

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