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Network Summer 2014

Network Summer 2014 will be held from June 9 to June 13, 2014 at New York University's Washington Square campus.

To learn more about the Summer 2014 Scholar-in-Residence program, please click here.

The following seminars will be offered for Network Summer 2014:

Barack Obama: The Man, the President and the Quest for Identity and Purpose
Black Irish Writing: The Irish Renaissance and the Harlem Renaissance
Emerging Trends in Archives and Special Collections: Supporting New Forms of Scholarly Communication
Food in the 21st Century: Health, Environment, and Culture
Grant Development: Strategies for Success
"Mining" the Store: The Museum as a Pedagogical Tool
Multiple Dimensions of Blended Learning
Preparing Tomorrow's Physicians: New Expectations for Premedical Education
The Ancient Greco-Roman World in the Cinema
The Color of Race in the Americas: Post-Racial Mythologies
The Middle East After the Arab Spring
Understanding the New Europe 2014: Economic Dilemmas and Options

The Program

This seminar will explore the life and career path of the nation's first "black" president through his own representation(s) of self in relations to those of others, including critics, supporters, and "neutral" commentators through a variety of media, from books, film, television and radio, as well as the blogosphere. As important as Obama is for his unprecedented political achievements, it is his multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-national, and multi-religious background and experience which make him an ideal subject for exploring personal and group identity in a time of apparently increasing concern with otherness in a so-called post-racial America. Our goal will be to reconcile vastly divergent perceptions and characterizations of this simultaneously unique and representative American.

By virtue of the resources and the subject material, this seminar should appeal to a wide spectrum of faculty members with interests and expertise from history, literature, political science, sociology, and more. Although the starting and pivotal point will be Obama's Dreams from My Father, autobiography is just one of the many genres to explore this fascinating and complex subject.


Jeffrey T. Sammons is professor of history at New York University. He is the author of Beyond the Ring: The Role of Boxing in American Society and the lead author with John H. Morrow, Jr. of the forthcoming Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War: The Undaunted 369th Regiment and the Quest for African American Equality. Sammons is currently teaching a course on Obama and has led numerous summer seminars on African American history and autobiography.

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The Program

In recent decades, the field of Irish Studies has modeled the possibilities and challenges of inter- and trans-disciplinary scholarship. Sustained attention to Irish connections to world historical conditions such as colonialism and post-colonialism, underdevelopment and overdevelopment, emigration and immigration, has been marked by intermittent and contentious engagement with critical race studies. This seminar will consider how a pedagogy centered on literary and cultural revival movements can open new lines of inquiry and engagement.

The seminar will chart textual similarity and difference in the writing of racial and ethnic identities by looking at shared and divergent textual and political strategies in writers of the Irish and Harlem Renaissances. We will concentrate on the ambivalence of dialect writing (Finley Peter Dunne, Jyn Synge, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Claude McKay), the limits of modernist primitivism (Eugene O'Neill's "The Emperor Jones"), the causes and consequences of essentialism and polarization (in debates on negritude and "Irish-Ireland"), the figuration of rural life in urban social movements, and the progressive context of self-help movements that emerged in the absence of political power. Drawing on new work on inter-racial marriage in 19th century New York City, and the mixed-race backgrounds of central figures in the Harlem Renaissance, the seminar will question how forms of silence and forgetting so effectively occluded connections that were apparent a century ago, and that have emerged in complex conjunctions within contemporary culture.

The seminar will utitlize the rich holdings of New York area archives (including the Schomburg Center at the New York Public Library, and the Archives of Irish America at NYU"s Bobst Library) to examine the mediation of identity in popular culture, including cartoon imagery, earnest but wacky anthropology, and popular and unpopular music.


John Waters is founding director of the M.A. in Irish and Irish-American Studies at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University. He received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, his M.Phil. from Trinity College, Dublin, and M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has published on 18th and 19th century Irish writing, contemporary Irish poetry, and Irish crime fiction, and has a forthcoming book, Scattered Radicals: Irish writers and Atlantic Modernity that is part of a two-volume study of Ireland in the Disciplines of Enlightenement. He has taught courses on race and Irish writing at the graduate and undergraduate level at New York University.

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The Program

This seminar will cover a range of emerging topics and trends for professionals in archives and special collections, including discoverability, digitization, usability, new modes collection delivery, increasing public service, reference and instructional demands, digital curation and preservation.

Seminar participants will be provided with tours of both the New York University Libraries Preservation and Conservation Labs and the New York Public Library. Topics addressed by guest speakers will include: best practices for archives processing, reference, and development; media description and preservation; development of teaching with print materials in the 21st century; and digital humanities.


Marvin J. Taylor Director of the Fales Library and Special Collections and full curator at the NYU Libraries, holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature and an M.L.S from Indiana University, and an MA in English from New York University. He has held positions at Indiana University and Columbia University. Taylor has been at the Fales Library since 1993. In 1994 Taylor founded the Downtown Collection, which contains over 12,000 printed books and 15,000 linear feet of manuscripts and archives. He was editor of The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984 (Princeton University Press, 2006.) In 2003 he began the Food Studies collection at NYU, which now holds more than 56,000 volumes and is the largest in the country. Along with Clark Wolf, Taylor edited 101 Great Cookbooks, 501 Great Recipes, (Rizzoli, International, October 2012.) Taylor continues to write about Downtown New York, Engish and American masculinities, and queer theory. His most recent publication is "Looking for Mr. Benson: The Black Leather Motorcycle Jacket and Narratives of Masculinities," which appeared in Fashion and Popular Culture (Intellect, UK, 2013.)

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The Program

Food has taken on new importance in the United States in recent years. Experts declare the United States a "toxic food environment" and, taking cues from battles over smoking, seek to establish a "fat tax" on high-calorie, non-nutritious foods. Food safety issues take on new importance as E.coli outbreaks in organic spinach cause sickness and even death. Many are wringing their hands over what they see as the extinction of family meals and the disappearance of home cooking. Add to the mix the boom in culinary tourism - restaurants, food television, books, magazines, cooking classes, artisanal products, and the search for "authentic" cuisine of every sort - and the result is a surfeit of interest and anxiety about food.

The current interest in food has historical roots that reach back centuries. Yet in the last 30 years or so in the United States, we have witnessed an emerging food "revolution" that has attempted to counter (or at least circumvent) the worst aspects of the industrialization of food. This seminar will explore the American landscapse of food in all its broad, socio-cultural, historical, environmental, and health contexts. Topics will include: the industrialization of food, the turn to organic and sustainable agriculture, the complexities of improving the American diet, issues of social justice and equal access to good food, and the U.S. vis-a-vis the globalization of the food supply.


Amy Bentley is an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University. A historian with interests in the social, historical, and cultural contexts of food, she is the author of Eating for Victory: Food Rationing and the Politics of Domesticity (1998), and Inventing Baby Food: The Industrialization of the American Diet (University of California Press, 2014).

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The Program

Grant money can buy you time and other resources. Grants can advance the goals of your department or college and can advance your personal research goals. But getting a grant is a competitive process - and the grants world is becoming more competitive. However, as educators, we know how to increase our ability to write competitive grants; we can learn. This Grants Development seminar will examine the components of a successful grant roposal: finding a potential funding source, analyzing an RFP (Request for Proposals), researching and stating the need for the grant, writing appropriate goals and objectives, describing the proposed activities and methods, developing a credible evaluation plan and creating a realistic budget.

There is no magic formula that guarantees that a grant proposal will get funded. However, in our experience, there are a few key ideas that we will stress from the start. (1) Since ideas are powerful, begin with an idea that is really exciting and fulfills a real need. (2) Grant writing is storytelling, so make your narrative interesting and keep it human. (3) Since you are asking a stranger at a government agency or private foundation to give you money, grant writing is all about building credibility.

Beyond sharing the experience and accumulated wisdom of the presenters, the seminar will function as a workshop.

Each participant will be asked to bring an idea for a grant proposal - whether you are a faculty researcher looking for release time and equipment, a department chair or academic administrator seeking to expand a successful program, or an IT specialist or librarian looking for additional resources. Bring a paragraph to the first session that describes your idea. Participants will develop their ideas during the seminar by outlining need statements, goals and objectives, action plans, and the other components of a complete grant proposal.

The seminar will introduce some of the most helpful grant writing resources available online and will include readings on how to construct a grant. The presenters specialize in readings that run no more than 2-3 pages and get right to the heart of the topic. The seminar is designed for both beginners and intermediate grant writers.


Beverly and Bob Kahn are political scientists who have written grant proposals together and separately for many years. After receiving their doctorates from Indiana, they both taught at the University of South Carolina and Ohio State University for 17 years before going off on separate careers as administrators. Beverly has served as dean, vice president, and provost at Fairfield University, Pace University, and Farmingdale State College, and has authored more than $16 million dollars in grants. In her current position at SUNY-Farmingdale, Beverly has written more than $7.5 million dollars in major grants, including both a Title III grant and an SSS Trio grant from the U.S. Department of Education and a Smart Grid grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Bob has served as dean, vice president, and grants director at a series of community colleges - Rockland, Bergen, Queensborough, and LaGuardia. In 7 years at LaGuardia as Grants Director, Bob's college has brought in more than $90 million dollars in grants.

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The Program

The museum is defined as a "place where important things are preserved; a building or institution where objects of artistic, historical or scientific importance and value are kept, studied, and put on display." but who decides what "important things" should be preserved? And what narrative is implicit in a particular museum's existence? How do museums shape historical memory, and how do we train students (and ourselves) to interpret and more fully understand those narratives?

This course will examine ways in which museums deal with the evolving political, social and ethical values of a community, and how such decisions may be interrogated in an academic setting. Through visits to local museums, lectures and seminar-style discussions, we will come to a fuller understanding of effective modes that utilize the museum as a pedagogical tool, and illustrate how effective strategies may be employed in the classroom.

From Andrew Jackson’s antebellum mansion in Tennessee to the Ashanti Palace in Kumasi, Ghana; from the separate entrances marked “black” and “white” and “colored” in Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum to the folk art collections at the Whitney Museum, leading museum educators will weigh in on the ways in which notions of race, identity and gender inform cultural presentation. We will take a close look at artist Fred Wilson’s installation at the Maryland Historical Society, “Mining the Museum,” in which he sought to make the “viewing/visiting” a welcoming experience for the community at large. Wilson’s intervention serves as an excellent case study for reshaping pedagogical practice in relation to the ‘modern’ museum.

In New York, we will visit alternative spaces offering novel educational approaches, as well as mainstays such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum. Innovative techniques and curatorial practices that engage a diverse and inclusive audience--and aid in expanding existing museum pedagogical practice--will be central to our exploration.


Michael Dinwiddie is an associate professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. He holds the M.F.A. in dramatic writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. An award-winning dramatist whose works have been produced in New York, regional and educational theater, he has been a playwright-in-residence at Michigan State University, Florida A & M University, and St. Louis University. He has conducted playwriting workshops at SUNY Stony Brook, California State University at San Bernadine, The College of New Rochelle, Wayne State University, and La Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Michael was an inaugural fellow in the Walt Disney Writers' Program at Touchstone Pictures in Hollywood, and worked as a staff writer on the ABC-TV series Hangin' With Mr. Cooper. His screenplay Nowadays was a Sundance finalist, and he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Playwriting. In 2005, he was the recipient of New York University's Distinguished Teaching Award. Michael currently serves as president of the Black Theatre Network (BTN).

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The Program

Blended learning has been a trending topic in higher education for the last few years and has been adopted by many faculty, degreed programs and institutions. When “blended” methodology is used, there is a focus on the new paradigm of instructional delivery that promotes active teaching and learning. Studies have shown (Norman Vaughan 2010 Student Engagement and Web 2.0: What's the Connection? is just one of many studies) that blended learning increases student engagement. As discussed by Francine Glazer (2012) in the book Blended Learning there is the need to mix it up for today’s delivery of course materials and to address the various support elements needed. Blended Learning is not a simple mix of face-to-face instruction with technology. It involves a reexamination and reevaluation of the entire teaching and learning interaction. Effective course design is critical to ensure the success of a blended course.

This seminar will address the multiple dimensions of blended learning and future trends with course delivery. Some of the learning objectives include: identifying and describing different blended approaches to teaching (the flipped classroom); effective pedagogical tools for blended learning (both asynchronous and synchronous tools) such as web conferencing, lecture capture software; the value of e-portfolios; incorporating the vast amount of digital resources available on the web. There will be a review of the expansion of mobile learning areas such as eTexts, student engagement systems and other BYOD initiatives. Another vital area to be studied is the incorporation of library resources and the delivery of library services to blended courses. There will be an overview of some basic instructional design theory such as the ADDIE course design model.

Lastly, there will be a discussion on the emerging modes of instruction. One that is causing a great debate is the emergence of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Is there a role for MOOCs in Higher Education? What are their challenges? Can MOOCs be used to enroll thousands of new students at an institution? Can MOOCs be used to better deliver blended courses at your institution? How can MOOCs and electronic badges be incorporated into traditional paths of study?

At the end of the seminar the ultimate outcome for all participants is that they can contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and impact student outcomes back at their home institutions.


Beth Gordon is the executive director of Academic Technology at Pace University, and also is an adjunct instructor in English, communications, and psychology. Beth has been an ePortfolio enthusiast for the past ten years. This year, Dr. Gordon is participating in LaGuardia Community College’s Making Connections program on ePortfolios. In addition, Dr. Gordon also is interested in blended learning, distance education, and emerging technologies. She recently co-authored a chapter in Teaching Inclusively in Higher Education, titled “The Technological Age of Teaching.” Dr. Gordon earned her B.A. in literature from Binghamton University, her M.A. in English education from SUNY-Albany, and her Ph.D. in educational technology from Walden University.

James F. Stenerson is the founding executive director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology which oversees faculty development initiatives and innovative teaching at Pace University. Dr. Stenerson is an adjunct professor in the Dyson College of Arts and Science where he designed and implemented a number of online courses. He remains instrumental at Pace in the incorporation of technology into the instructional process. He designed a number of faculty workshops addressing the challenges of instructional technology and the changing landscape of higher education. Dr. Stenerson’s office provides key support for faculty when introducing and assessing new teaching and learning techniques. Dr. Stenerson received his Ph.D. from Long Island University concentrating in the field of philosophy of technology. He received his M. A. in media studies from the New School for Social Research and his bachelor’s degree majoring in secondary education from Pace University. Dr. Stenerson has presented at a number of national conferences and faculty groups addressing the issues of the changing paradigm of distributed education.

Sarah Burns-Feyl is the assistant university librarian for Instructional Services at Pace University, and also has served as an adjunct instructor in the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University. She manages and teaches in the Pace Library’s Information Literacy Instruction programs. She chairs the Library Web Team, serves as “embedded librarian” in a variety of Blackboard course shells, and has led workshops for faculty on topics in technology, including the use of RSS feeds and journal alerts from research databases. Ms. Burns-Feyl was part of the Presidential Learning Assessment Grant ePortfolio team in 2003 and continues to serve on the ePortfolio Advisory Board. She uses Camtasia to create online instructional videos, recently recorded the library’s first audio walking tour, serves on numerous faculty development teams, and is an advocate for building a culture of assessment at Pace. She obtained her B.A. in English from SUNY Geneseo, her M.A. in theology and religious studies from Villanova University, and her M.L.S. from SUNY Albany.

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The Program

In 2015, premedical students will take a revised Medical College Admission Test, designed to evaluate a different set of skills and abilities than the existing version, which has been in effect since 1991. Preparing students for medical school is an important component of undergraduate education, and this workshop aims to help faculty adapt to the new curriculum that is advocated by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The changes have been developed by committees of college and medical school faculty over several years, beginning with a report in 2009, Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians. Instead of specifying courses, the recommended curriculum talks about “competencies,” shifting the focus to what students need to know rather than how or where they acquire knowledge. This strategy offers colleges and universities flexibility to redesign their premedical courses and sequence. The previous premedical requirements mandated courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, mathematics and physics. The new curriculum also requires competency in social and behavioral science, as well as an emphasis on critical analysis and reasoning. Statistics is emphasized throughout, given the importance of statistics in modern medicine.

This seminar will examine the imperative to reform undergraduate premedical education and explore ways in which diverse colleges and universities can use this opportunity to reimagine and revise the premedical curriculum for their students. We will begin with a review of the background of the proposed curriculum changes, including a survey of the current requirements. Participants will have an opportunity to present to the group their account of current requirements and practices, to facilitate discussions and focus on what changes are feasible and practical. Following this review, we will examine the Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians report and discuss the “competencies” that students will be expected to acquire. A field trip to NYU’s School of Medicine will allow participants to interview admissions staff and find out more about the proposed reforms. Possible strategies for implementing the new social science requirement will be discussed with input from members of the social science and psychology departments. We will also examine ways to implement courses in statistics and biochemistry. We will discuss how best to prepare students for the critical thinking and reasoning section of the MCAT exam, with a focus on changing pedagogy to incorporate more of these techniques into our courses. At the end of the workshop, participants will present their individual strategies to meet the new requirements, both in the short term and in the longer term as the new curriculum takes effect.


Michael S. Gaines is professor of biology and assistant provost for Undergraduate Research and Community Outreach at the University of Miami (UM). He teaches courses in introductory biology, genetics and research design at the undergraduate level. Professor Gaines directs a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Education Program, an NIH Bridge to the Baccalaureate Program with Miami-Dade College, and a NIH Initiative for More Student Diversity. He also serves as campus coordinator for the NSF Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and the Leadership Alliance. Professor Gaines has won every major teaching award at UM including a prestigious university-wide Excellence in Teaching Award. His main areas of focus are conservation and restoration biology, evolutionary biology and tropical biology. He holds a B.S. from Tulane University and a Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Neville Kallenbach is professor of chemistry at New York University. Professor Kallenbach's research focuses on the biophysical chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids. His recent research is directed at design and synthesis of functionally active peptides that have antimicrobial activity. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and has received numerous awards for his research and teaching, including the prestigious NYU Golden Dozen Award for teaching excellence and the Herman and Margaret Sokol Prize for research.

Joel D. Oppenheim is a professor of microbiology and presently serves as the senior associate dean for biomedical sciences and director of the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at the New York University School of Medicine. In these positions he oversees all Ph.D. students (over 320 of them) and postdoctoral trainees (over 800 of them) and graduate research training programs. He has served on the NYU School of Medicine’s M.D. and M.D./Ph.D. admissions committees and has chaired the Ph.D. admissions committee for the past twenty years. He is the founder and director of the NYU’s Summer Undergraduate Research and Postdoctoral Programs, and the founder of the What Can You Be With a Ph.D? symposium, the largest university-based career development program for predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in the country. He has served on many national advisory committees (AAMC, NIH, NRC, NSF, ASM, Leadership Alliance, and UNCF/Merck), grant study sections (NIGMS, NSF, Sloan Foundation, UNCF/Merck), as a reviewer of numerous NRC, NSF and NAS reports involved with graduate education, pipeline issues, and the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students to graduate programs. He has been actively involved with the Faculty Resource Network for close to twenty-five years as a research host, program coordinator and advisor on STEM initiatives. In 2010, Professor Oppenheim was the recipient of the AAAS (American Association of the Advancement of Sciences) Life Time Mentoring Award, one of the nation’s highest mentoring awards.

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Co-sponsored by the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University

The Program

Incorporating film in the classroom brings a vibrancy and immediacy to contemporary classical studies. Filmmakers have been recreating the ancient world for over a century, from silents and mid-century wide-screen epics to recent television series and an ongoing collection of high-profile releases. Classicists can make full use of this corpus as teaching aids to supplement the study of ancient literature and visual arts and as works of popular culture worthy of study on their own merit. Some of these films developed from the Italian prototypical spectacles directed by Enrico Guazzoni (Quo Vadis?) and Giovanni Pastrone (La caduta di Troia, Cabiria) in the 1910s, others follow the Hollywood models established decades ago by D. W. Griffith (Intolerance) and Cecil B. DeMille (Sign of the Cross, Cleopatra) from the 1910s to the 1930s, and still others offer illustrative examples of the late 1940s auteur model (Cocteau’s Orphée, Pasolini’s Medea). Another model was developed in the sword-and-sandal pepla produced by European consortia during the 1950s and 1960s, and in the 1980s an entirely different approach was developed in which filmmakers insert poignant or classical themes and allusions into their contemporary films (Star Wars, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, O Brother, Where Art Thou?). And since the extraordinary popular successes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena, and Gladiator a little more than one decade ago, a renascence has inspired such innovative works as 300and Starz’ Spartacus mini-series.

Each of these filmic types inevitably evokes profound responses from audiences and critics. They are praised and condemned for their popularity, or for their obscurity, yet decisions are made in an instant and without understanding the genre. This seminar has been designed to elevate classroom uses of the genre in accordance with contemporary scholarly and pedagogical methodologies. In doing so, it will provide participants with a comprehensive overview of the corpus, rationales for its models and various subcategories, traditional and new methods of filmic analysis, and a number of pedagogical options. Films that employ classical themes and allusions (e.g., Mel Gibson’s The Man Without a Face, the Cohen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou?) generate different types of queries. Our examination into these types of films includes questions about the artistic intent, the classical source or its intermediary representation, and the kinds of responses contemporary filmmakers expect from their audiences.

Participants will view segments of different films and work together to develop model lesson plans. The readings for this program will incorporate primarily original Greco-Roman sources (in English) and contemporary studies of films and the classical tradition. We will tailor the seminar to meet the needs and interests of the participants.


Monica S. Cyrino is a professor of classics at the University of New Mexico. Her academic research centers on the erotic in ancient Greek poetry, and the reception of the ancient world on screen. She is the author of Aphrodite (2010), A Journey through Greek Mythology (2008), Big Screen Rome (2005), and In Pandora’s Jar: Lovesickness in Early Greek Poetry (1995). She is the editor of Rome, Season One: History Makes Television (2008), Screening Love and Sex in the Ancient World(2013), and co-editor of CINEMYTHOS: Classical Mythology on Film and Television (forthcoming). She has published numerous articles and book chapters and often gives lectures around the world on the representation of classical antiquity on film and television. She has served as an academic consultant on several recent film and television productions.

Jon Solomon, Robert D. Novak Professor of Western Civilization and Culture, and professor of the classics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, works on the classical tradition in Boccaccio, cinema, opera, mythology, and ancient Greek music, as well as ancient Roman cuisine and The Three Stooges. He helped establish the sub-discipline of the classical tradition in the cinema with The Ancient World in the Cinema. His recent publications include Volume I of the I Tatti translation and edition of Boccaccio’s Genealogy of the Pagan Gods, a co-edited Ancient Worlds in Film and Television: Gender and Politics, articles on Boccaccio’s Demogorgon, the origin of the name “Aida,” the reception of ancient Greek music in the late Renaissance and the nineteenth century, and a review article on ancient film philology. He is presently working on volumes II & III of Boccaccio’s Genealogy, and a book on Ben-Hur: A Prototype of Popular Culture and Commerce.

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Co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University

The Program

The question of identities—how they are formed, why they are significant, and who can claim or reject them—has been a vital social issue throughout human history. Interpretations of “self”/“other” and “us”/“them” comprise notions of similarity and difference that are fundamental to the ways that social relations are organized. This strikingly has been the case during the past 500 years in the Americas among peoples of African, Asian, European, and indigenous heritage located in disparate positions of authority and privilege.

Emphasizing ethnographic approaches, but also drawing on a variety of interdisciplinary sources, this seminar will take a comparative cross-cultural, hemispheric approach to the study of race and color. Focusing on the histories and lived experience of peoples of the Americas, the course will highlight cases from English-, Spanish-, French-, and Dutch-speaking societies as we inquire into the construction, transformation, and struggle of identities within particular contexts of unequal relations of power. We will also look at the ways that race and color are mediated by other expressions of identity, such as gender, class, religious practice, and sexuality.

Key questions that we will explore include: *If race and color are ways of categorizing identity rather than being inherited essences of identity (according to most scholars and activists), then how and why are race and color still so powerful in shaping social life and experience? *Do race and color signify the same things? Are they mutually dependent classifications? *What is the relationship of race and color to other kinds of social differentiation, such as gender, class, sexuality, or citizenship? *How do race and color become embedded parts of the cultural landscape of countries, regions, and hemispheres? *Do “mixed race” and “color continuums” democratize social hierarchies? *Does a “post-racist” world require a “post-racial” world?

Readings will include Bengali Harlem (Vivek Bald), Pretty Modern (Alexander Edmonds) , Black Behind the Ears (Ginetta Candelario), American Karma (Sunil Bhatia), Shades of Difference (Evelyn Nakano Glenn), Race and Ethnicity in Latin America (Peter Wade), Blacks and Blackness in Central America (Gudmundson and Wolfe), The White Minority in the Caribbean (Johnson and Watson), The Power of Sentiment (Lisa Douglas); and among other works of fiction, “The Baker’s Story” (VS Naipaul).


Aisha Khan is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Trinidad, Honduras, and Guyana, and has published widely on Asian and African diasporas, religion, race, and creolization. Her forthcoming books include Islam and the Americas (2014), and her published works include Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad (2004), Empirical Futures: Anthropologists and Historians Engage the Work of Sidney W. Mintz (with G. Baca and S. Palmie, 2009), and Women Anthropologists: Biographical Sketches (with U. Gacs, J. McIntyre, and R.Weinberg, 1989, Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award winner).

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Co-sponsored by the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University

The Program

This seminar will explore the changing politics of the Middle East and North Africa after the dramatic uprisings and revolutions in 2011 that came to be known as the "Arab Spring." We shall begin with a review of the economic, political, an social causes of these political upheavals and the role played in them by the various social groups, the media, and political Islam, focusing on Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain. In the second part of the seminar, we shall examine the varied outcomes of these uprisings, including the setbacks and reversals that in most cases have dashed the hopes for a transiction to democracy, restored authoritarian rule, or led to full-fledged civil and sectarian warfare. We shall conclude with an exploration of the role of the United States in response to these historic changes in the Middle East and possible future directions for American policy in the region.


Ali Banuazizi is a professor of political science and director of the Program in Islamic Civilization and Societies (ICS) at Boston College. After receiving his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1968, he taught at Yale and the University of Southern California before joining the Boston College faculty in 1971. Since then, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Tehran, Princeton, Harvard, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Oxford, and M.I.T. His research interests include the comparative study of culture, religion, and politics in the Middle East. He served as the founding editor of the journal of Iranian Studies, from 1968 to 1982, and is a past President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA). He is the author of numerous articles on society, culture, and politics in the Middle East, and coeditor (with Myron Weiner) of three books on politics, religion and social change in Southwest and Central Asia. He is currently associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World.

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The Program

This seminar aims to examine one of the "hottest" topics in international economics at the present time - namely, the current socio-economic situation of the European Union and its prospects for the future.

From 1957, when Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany signed the Treaty of Rome, the work of creating a fully-fledged economic union has been on-going, beginning with the creatiuon of the European Economic Community on January 1, 1958. Today the EU is greatly expanded - to 28 members- as well as a number of others applying for membership. It is, further more, more fully integrated. It now has a common currency - the Euro - as well as a political structure consisting of the President and the Commission (the executive branch): the Council of the EU (the legislative branch), which - together with a democratically elected Parliament - sets policy; and a Judicial Branch.

On paper, this transition to an integrated economic union has been fairly smooth and on-going, but there has been and continues to be, several stumbling blockes. Significant questions that need to be answered include:

  • What is the nature and extent of divergence among EU members, Northern vs. Southern, for example, as well as more developed vs. emerging markets?
  • What divergences exist between current members and those seeking membership - most notably, Turkey?
  • Is the expansion of a preferential trade agreement, such as the EU, actually economically desirable from the perspective of the international economy or would global, multilateral free trade agreements be more efficient?
  • Where does the EU go from here? Is it equipped to deal with the macroeconomic policy objectives of high employment, low inflation, and robust growth as a single entity? What have been the consequences of the creation of the Euro? From a fiscal perspective, is there a two-tier EU, with responsible and irresponsible members?
  • What are the EU's growth prospects?

A main objective of the seminar will be to recognize the extent to which the European Union is a "work in progress" and for seminar participants to have a better understanding of the socio-economic forces shaping that work.


Christine Shaw worked for the United Nations for over thirty-five years. There she was engaged in analytical work geared toward both the diplomatic and academic communities. She served as senior economic affairs officer in the Development Policy and Planning Office of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs. She was the Department’s trade specialist, writing regularly for the UN’s World Economic and Social Survey, as well preparing policy-oriented papers and background material for the Committee for Development Policy and serving as a report writer for a number of United Nations World Conferences and Summits. For several years, she has been teaching courses in micro- and macro-economics and international economics at FIT/SUNY and at Baruch/CUNY, at the latter to both undergraduates and business school students. She teaches as well in the global affairs program at NYU. She holds a B.A in economics and sociology from Harvard, an M.A. in economics, statistics and demography from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University. She is a member of the American Economic Association.

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