Global institute adds faculty, new focus

Jake Kapsner

Recognizing a globalized political and economic world, the University expanded student resources in July with the Institute for Global Studies, replacing the University’s 16-year-old Institute of International Studies.
“We want people to know it’s more than just a name change,” said Gloria Goodwin Raheja, institute director.
A more coherent, global intellectual approach and added resources in the form of faculty are the two big changes, said assistant director Evelyn B. Davidheiser.
Newly allocated resources from the College of Liberal Arts means that, for the first time, the institute will have its own faculty appointments to help instruct and advise some 400 students pursuing one of two majors housed in the department in the Social Sciences building on the West Bank, Raheja said.
The impetus for change came from a task force appointed by Steve Rosenstone, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Raheja said.
Charged with the task of improving the college’s international education, the task force advocated creating faculty positions with a global studies focus as part of the institute’s transformation.
Programs of old were largely delivered by teaching assistants, but now some of the college’s best faculty members will step in, Rosenstone said.
Three first-time openings for joint positions in both the institute and the respective departments of anthropology, history and geography have been announced. Officials expect further appointments in coming years.
“We think this represents a real commitment to international education across the college,” not just in the institute, said Raheja, who is also an associate professor of anthropology.
Raheja encouraged undergraduate students to help interview the final candidates for faculty positions this winter. While graduate level students typically join that feeling-out process, she emphasized in this case undergraduates will be most affected.
That’s because over the next two years, new programs will be phased into the institute’s curriculum now home to International Relations and Area Studies majors. The latter major emphasizes six world regions: East Asian, European, Latin American, Russian Area and South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.
“Right now there’s a division between International Relations and Area Studies,” Rosenstone said. “The task force decided that didn’t make sense.”
But students majoring or planning to major in those areas needn’t worry, officials said. The old system will remain as a new program track is gradually created. The new institute aims to immerse students in a broader global curriculum while allowing them to retain the option of a regionally focused major, Raheja said.
In the fall of 1999, the institute will also sponsor a 60-student residence hall for American and international students called the Global Studies House. The home will offer University new-comers an early sense of study abroad options, hold a film series and host faculty dinners.
On the Institute’s hotplate this week are two speakers in a year-long lecture series.
Ashis Nandy, a high-profile public scholar from India, lectures on “the Invisible Holocaust: The Violence in South Asia in 1946-48” on Friday in the Humphrey Center.
Fellow Indian Arjun Apadurai, a professor from the University of Chicago, speaks about “Predatory Identities in the Era of Globalization” on Oct. 2 in the Humphrey Center.
Both events are free and open to the public.