Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Date: Thursday, April 12, 2018
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM
Location: Kohlberg 228
Ballin’ During the Global War on Terror: South Asian American Sporting Cultures and the Politics of Masculinity
Stanley Thangaraj, City University of New York
Instead of universalizing masculinity (Kimmel 2005; Connell 1995), this talk theorizes the politics of masculinity through the taken for granted realm of sport (basketball) and the strange racial figure of the South Asian in the U.S. South. In particular, Thangaraj theorizes how South Asian American men, Muslim Pakistani American men in particular, stake claims through their American-ness through their sporting practices of the quintessential American sport of basketball. Through their basketball practices of “cool,” “swag,” and “manning up,” the young South Asian American men challenge their shifting racializations as “terrorists” and “model minorities” during this time of the global war on terror. Thus, South Asian American men manage the politics of basketball masculinity in relation to the black- white logic, in relation to the Hindu-Muslim binary, and in relation to the foreigner-American binary. Sport offers a space for these young men to offer their own renditions of American masculinity while also using the same logic of their exclusion as the compass for national belonging. As a result, these young men exclude various “Others” at the moment they insert themselves into American masculinity.
Stan Thangaraj is a Socio-cultural Anthropologist with interests in race, gender, sexuality, class, and ethnicity in Asian America in particular and in immigrant America in general. He is a former high school and collegiate athlete and coach who considers sport a key site to understand immigrant enculturation, racialization, and cultural citizenship. He is contracted with New York University Press for his monograph Brown Out, Man Up! Basketball, Leisure, and Making Desi Masculinity. His key communities of study are South Asian Americans. He also has a contract with New York University Press for the co-edited collection Asian American Sporting Cultures. In May 2014, his other co-edited collection Sport and South Asian Diasporas will be out from Routledge. He looks at the relationship between citizenship, gender, race, and sexuality as critical to understanding diasporic nationalism. Prof. Thangaraj has two new projects. His first project examines how Kurdish American communities embody, negotiate, challenge, and manage U.S. Empire. Instead of juxtaposing Muslim Kurdish women as victim of Islamic patriarchy, he is interested in how women assert agency and form identities on the ground while challenging mainstream U.S. racializations of them. The second project explores the spatialization of race, class, and sexuality in the construction of the Civil Rights narrative at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. In this project, he looks at the relationship between celebrating Civil Rights history, the propping up of heterosexual black nationalism and social movements, and the gentrification that follows this discourse. Stan Thangaraj takes his intellectual inspiration from Women of Color Feminism and Queer Theory. Professor Thangaraj was awarded the “Comparative Ethnic Studies Award” from the American Studies Association.
This event is open to the public.
Sponsored by Sociology & Anthropology, Peace & Conflict Studies, Asian Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Islamic Studies, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility
Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Location: Science Center 101
Daniel Ellsberg‘s Ph.D. thesis at Harvard- published as Risk, Ambiguity and Decision- dealt with decision-making under extreme uncertainty, when evidence is “ambiguous,” scarce or contradictory. As an official in the Defense and State Departments and a participant in the study of US decision-making of Vietnam known as the Pentagon papers, he revealed the findings to the Senate and then to the press in 1971. For his unauthorized disclosures he was put on trial facing 115 years in prison. Charges were dismissed in 1973 because of presidential criminal misconduct against him which figured in the resignation of President Nixon facing impeachment.
Sponsored by the Center for Innovation and Leadership, History Department, Lang Center, Peace & Conflict Studies, Political Science Department, The President’s Office, and the Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Join the Progam in Peace & Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College for a lecture presented by Prof. Beshara Doumani.
Date: Monday, March 26, 2018
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM
Location: Kohlberg 228
Between House and Orchard: Family, Shariʿa and the Making of the Modern Middle East
In writings about Islam, women, and modernity in the Middle East, family and religion are frequently invoked but rarely historicized. Based on a wide range of local sources, Beshara Doumani argues that there is no such thing as the Muslim or Arab family type that is so central to Orientalist, nationalist, and Islamist narratives. Rather, one finds dramatic regional differences, even within the same cultural zone, in the ways that family was understood, organized, and reproduced. In his comparative examination of the property devolution strategies and gender regimes in the context of local political economies, Doumani offers a groundbreaking examination of ordinary people and how they shaped the modern Middle East.
Beshara Doumani is the Joukowsky Family Professor of Modern Middle East History and Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. His research focuses on groups, places, and time periods marginalized by mainstream scholarship on the early modern and modern Middle East. He also writes on the topics of displacement, academic freedom, politics of knowledge production, and the Palestinian condition. His books include Family Life in the Ottoman Mediterranean: A Social History, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900, Academic Freedom After September 11 (editor), and Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property and Gender (editor). He is the editor of a book series, New Directions in Palestinian Studies, with the University of California Press.
This event is sponsored by Peace & Conflict Studies, Arabic, Gender & Sexuality Studies, History, Islamic Studies, Sociology & Anthropology, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.
Video of Padraig Ó Tuama’s poetry reading is now available:
The Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Swarthmore College is thrilled to announce the visit of Pádraig Ó Tuama to campus.
The Art And Soul Of Peace – Poetry, Story and Complications from Northern Ireland’s Peace Process
Poet, theologian and group worker, Pádraig Ó Tuama has worked with groups in Ireland, Britain, the US and Australia and currently serves as the Community Leader of the Corrymeela Community, an historic ecumenical center on the north coast of Northern Ireland. With interests in storytelling, groupwork, theology and conflict, Pádraig lectures, leads retreats and writes both poetry and prose. We are thrilled that he will join us for a poetry reading and discussion about Northern Ireland’s peace process. This event comes at a tenuous time for Northern Ireland as plans for Brexit (the divorce of the UK from the EU) collide with the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement. Padraig’s ability to perceive and articulate the humanity and spirituality of peacemaking is rich and not to be missed.
Sponsored by Peace & Conflict Studies, English Literature, the Interfaith Center, and the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility.
Congratulations to Prof. Denise Crossan and her students!
Social Innovation Lab opens at Lang Center, aims to branch out
In January 2017, the Social Innovation Lab at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility was created by visiting Lang Center professor Denise Crossan. Its purpose is to extend the Lang Center’s mission to promote engaged scholarship at Swarthmore. Currently, it is being used by groups from Chester and SwatTank as well as some Swarthmore student groups. One of the ways the lab is teaching these concepts is through Design Thinking trainings, which are courses about how to create social projects relating to a particular field of interest. Recently, Crossan and fellows have been promoting the lab as a space for students to visit.
“The Social Innovation Lab creates a space where the campus community can come to apply their deep and thoughtful theoretical knowledge into active practice focused on creating positive social impact. Learning and practicing problem solving skills within the Social Innovation Lab, such as Design Thinking, allows students to apply their Swarthmore education to complex real-world problems and better equips them for experiences post-graduation,” Crossan said.
Crossan renovated an office space and small library into a maker’s space filled with magnetic whiteboards, markers, crafting supplies, and a bin of cardboard. According to her, the space is designed for the creation of prototypes. Some of the prototypes on display in the lab are colorful, cardboard versions of imagined apps from Crossan’s social entrepreneurship class.
According to Michelle Ma ’20, a University Innovation Fellow who works with the Social Innovation Lab, the space is a natural extension of the classroom. This is an expansion of the Lang Center’s push for engaged scholarship, which is applying classroom learning to solve social issues in the world.
“We really want to push this idea of integrating your studies, what you care about, and making it more,” Ma said.
University Innovation Fellow Mariam Bahmane ’19 said that getting students to come to the lab is a current challenge they are facing. She said that even though Swat students are busy, many have dreams and projects, and the lab wants to create incentives for student attendance to help students find a balance between their studies and ideas for innovation.
“We [are working] to develop a whole spirit of the Social Innovation Lab and programs to get students into the culture of getting out of the library and their books and doing awesome things that they know and they learn about,” Bahmane said.
The maker’s space is still undergoing changes. According to Ma, some of these changes will include decorating the rooms, making the room more colorful, and adding to the currently plain walls. Crossan also said that the windows will have covers that are whiteboards.
“A lot of our efforts right now are focused on designing the space,” Ma said. “A lot of our goals are internal.”
Another goal that Ma emphasized was increased awareness and usage of the space, especially for students.
“We want more people to come in general. I stress this idea to just come and study… just experience the space,” she said.
However, the Social Innovation Lab is not just for individual students. University innovation fellow Natasha Markov-Riss ’20 said the maker’s space is open to any Swarthmore student.
“Individual students and various clubs also frequently inhabit the space — it is open to all. Even if you aren’t currently working on a project, the SIL provides a fantastic study environment,” she wrote.
Crossan said that Swarthmore faculty, staff, and the greater Swarthmore community are also free to use this space, and some groups from Chester are looking to collaborate with the Social Innovation Lab. SwatTank competitors are also encouraged to use the space.
Ma feels that the maker’s space can help faculty members innovate their lesson plans to make them more engaging for students and more applicable to what they care about. She stressed that the fellows at the Social Innovation Lab are eager for people on campus to use the new space that has been created and the supplies that they provide.
“We can’t work towards any necessary goal without people behind it,” she said.
The strategic plan for the first year of function outlines the goals of the Social Innovation Lab as education, experience, execution, and evaluation.
Crossan said that she wants to further educate students about the concepts of social innovation and entrepreneurship, and creative ways to apply them. One way that the Social Innovation Lab educates is Design Thinking Training, which are courses that teach potential innovators how to apply these abstract concepts. According to Markov-Riss, in the coming weeks, the Social Innovation Lab is running a Design Thinking session for the student group Kinetics.
“We tend to use Design Thinking as an underpinning methodology for students to really deeply understand what … community needs we have,” said Crossan.
Ma said that the Social Innovation Lab wants to help students understand concepts that may be difficult to define or apply to real life.
“We hear a lot about innovation, social change, and entrepreneurship and engaged scholarship but a lot of these terms are abstract. And the SIL wants to be a space where people can put their ideas to action,” Ma said.
According to Crossan, experience is built from engaged scholarship, which is the primary reason that she introduced this space in the Lang Center.
“The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility’s mission is to facilitate engaged scholarship on campus. That means engaging the community, the curriculum, and the campus, collectively,” she said.
This includes collaboration with other separate spaces on campus such as the new Swarthmore MakerSpace overseen by ITS in Beardsley Hall and the college’s libraries. Crossan said that the goal is to create a network of similar spaces throughout campus.
According to Crossan, the execution component of the Social Innovation Lab’s goals is that the maker’s space can be a place to incubate projects.
“One of the goals of the Social Innovation Lab is to create a space where Swarthmore Social Innovators (students, faculty, staff and community) can bring their projects to ‘live’ — that is, find a home, from a few weeks to months, where they can incubate their idea, share experiences with like-minded individuals, and receive dedicated support,” Crossan said.
The goal of evaluation is for students to reflect on their work.
“One of the big intentions for me is how do we take all that we’ve learned from what we do and turn it back into our knowledge,” said Crossan.
The goals of the Social Innovation Lab are part of its goal to help students turn their specialties, regardless of what they are, into social projects. Ma said that as a computer science major, she is developing the Social Innovation Lab’s website. According to Brahmane, her friend is trying to start a business that combines her love of baking and interest in biochemistry.
“With every area of study, there’s some application of your field that you find meaningful … We want to invite more people from all diverse backgrounds of life, whether it be a diverse identity or diverse major,” said Ma.
Despite the fact that the Social Innovation Lab is new, the University Innovation Fellows are positive about its future in cultivating a space for people to participate in engaged scholarship and social entrepreneurship.
“In the coming years, the SIL will become a well-used resource for students — I hope that the SIL is able to connect all of the innovators at Swat and support them as they build projects that reach beyond our campus,” Markov-Riss wrote.
“I see it as the birthplace of the next big entrepreneurs, innovators of the world,” said Brahame. “It would be a great starting spot for brilliance and sustainable big ideas.”