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Global Studies Updates

We are most excited to announce that Global Studies hired Prashanth Kuganathan as the first Global Studies Postdoctoral Fellow. Thanks to the search committee (Tim Gill, sociology; Rachelle Scott, religious studies; Raja Swamy, anthropology; and Paul Gellert), who enthusiastically selected Kuganathan, a cultural anthropologist (PhD, Columbia University), out of about 30 applicants. Kuganathan spent the previous year as a postdoctoral teaching associate in UT’s anthropology department. His research examines the role that the English language plays in postcolonial and postwar northern Sri Lanka. His first book project, based on his dissertation, Remaking Lives in Northern Sri Lanka: Migration, Schooling, and Language in Postwar Jaffna, investigates the impacts of state policies pertaining to language and religion on Tamil and Muslim minority populations in the context of the brutal civil war that lasted from 1983 to 2009. He also is interested in the lives of people in the Jaffna peninsula who have experienced firsthand the devastation of violence and displacement during the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009). He will be mentored by Raja Swamy. His responsibilities include co-teaching two sections of Introduction to Global Studies (allowing us to double our reach from 40 to 80 students per semester) and a third class in his areas of expertise, as well as helping to administer the Global Studies program.

Our lecture series on “The US in the Globe, the Global in the US: A view from the Southeast periphery” continued for a second wonderful year of talks – mostly virtual but kicked off in-person by Brandon Byrd (history, Vanderbilt) on The Black Republic: African Americans and
the Fate of Haiti. Other Zoom talks (mostly available on our YouTube Channel) include Madeleine Fairbairn (sociology, UC Santa Cruz) on Fields of Gold: Financing the Global Land Rush; Salvador Santino Regilme (international relations, University of Leiden, Netherlands) on Aid Imperium: US Foreign Policy and Human Rights in Post-Cold War Southeast Asia; Mimi Sheller (dean of global studies, Worcester Polytechnic Institute) on Haitian Histories, Haitian Futures; and Zuoyue Wang (history, Cal Poly Pomona) on Chinese American Scientists and US-China Relations.

The GLBS Club had a vibrant year with monthly meetings, including discussion of the conflict in Afghanistan (with anthropologist Raja Swamy) and research on the Global Cowboy or the globalization of country music (with historian Tore Olsson), as well as internship and social events. The club and program also had an outdoor showing of The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel and received approval to purchase our own equipment for future outdoor film showings. Club President Lily Hardwig graduated and received the Outstanding Graduate in Society and Culture concentration award, while Vice President Caleigh Rozmenoski won Outstanding Graduate in Politics and Economics concentration.

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