Global & Intercultural Studies, in its third academic year, looks back at a productive, exciting 2017

Miami's Department of Global and Intercultural Studies (GIC), officially established in fall 2015, has completed many important milestones in 2017: creation, approval, and offering the co-major in Global and Intercultural Studies, registering Miami students in important intellectual and political classes that expose them to patterns of globalization, and hiring several new tenure-track faculty.

"This year we've presented lectures and events focused on many other themes—human rights, environmental issues, international immigration, diasporic communities scattered from their homelands, gender and global labor, the global parameters of race and racism, and myriad other issues," said Jana Braziel, the Western Endowed Professor and GIC chair.

Spring 2017 Refuge/Refugee Lecture Series

The 2016-17 theme for the department, Refuge/Refugees, featured invited guest lecturers, faculty round table discussions, book reading and discussion groups, and a student-led forum on campus diversity and inclusion.

Speakers included:

  • Safia Elhillo
  • Carl T. Dahlman, director and professor of international studies
  • Michel Agier, anthropologist, professor at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris) and senior researcher at Institut de Recherches pour le Développement
  • Mimi Thi Nguyen, associate professor of gender and women's studies and Asian American studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Tani Sebro, assistant professor of global and intercultural studies

LAS Passion Series

The Latin American Studies (LAS) program, now part of the GIC, has been putting on events for its Passionate about Latin America & the Caribbean series for more than a decade. In some cases, LAS is fully responsible for organizing visits by guest speakers or discussion panels, and in others it works with centers or cohort departments as a co-sponsor.

ITS Grayson Kirk Distinguished Lecture Series

Dr. Bruce Cumings, the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor from the University of Chicago, was the speaker for the Spring 2017 Grayson Kirk Distinguished Lecture Series on February 15. His lecture was called "On the Futility of U.S. Policy Toward North Korea."

"The U.S. has pursued 4 methods to try to influence North Korea," he said. "Sanctions and non-recognition, for 7 decades; regime change in the fall of 1950, which ended in a debacle, but which was again pursued by the George W. Bush administration; patiently waiting for the regime to collapse, which occupied the Clinton, Obama and Park Geun-hye administration's, among others; and finally direct talks, the only method which did work (for a while), but which have been suspended for 5 years. What now?"

The event was held in the Wilks Theater at Armstrong Student Center and was sponsored by the Grayson Kirk Distinguished Lecture Fund, International Studies, East Asian Studies, and Center for American and World Cultures.

Dr. Cumings' research and teaching focus on modern Korean history and US–East Asian relations. He is the author many books, including Dominion From Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power (New Haven: Yale University Press. 2009) and The Korean War: A History (New York: Modern Library, 2011).

Penny Lectures 2017

Each year GIC sponsors the Critical Inquiry Penny Lecture Series, where an esteemed group of scholars are invited to present a themed lecture. This past year's theme, coordinated by GIC professor Dr. Rodney Coates, was Crossing Borders, where scholars from across the country and from Miami presented lectures. These lectures conceived of border crossings loosely to encompass all the various boundaries.

According to Professor Coates, "the lectures stressed that often these boundaries are preserved and indeed serve to perpetuate not only the disciplinarian status quo, but also as a means of keeping out unwanted 'aliens'. Alternatively, we have constructed boundaries around class and status, gender and sexuality, nationhood and race, humanity and animal. Each of these boundaries serve similar purposes of establishing exclusionary zones that preserve the status quo."

Each of the presenters identified those brave souls that purposefully or by happenstance cross respective borders that are rarely rewarded, often they are treated as unwanted distractions. Consequently, unsung heroes were highlighted that courageously dare to border cross. By transcending the various boundaries they demonstrate the possibilities and unfortunately the personal sacrifice of crossing borders. They also demonstrate how resistance and transformative processes facilitate humanity's progress.