Global Tensions

A One-Day Conference
Friday, October 9, 2009
Lehigh University, Mountaintop Campus
Iacocca Tower, Wood Conference Room [directions below]
9 AM to 5:15 PM
Registration and lunch, free of charge

  • A small, almost intimate, conference for faculty and graduate students.
  • Dedicated to the study of globalization and social change.
  • Broad and interdisciplinary, across the humanities and social sciences.
  • Time for discussion, questions, conversation, contemplation.
  • Opportunities to meet new colleagues, collaborators, and perhaps friends.
  • Atop a mountain with spectacular views of the Lehigh Valley.
  • Free registration and food in these harsh economic times.

These were the goals of the Globalization & Social Change Initiative (GSCI) when we were planning our fall conference. Somehow, I think we have accomplished them all.

We are a 75-minute drive from New York and Philadelphia. Registration, schedule, panel descriptions, and directions are just below. We hope you can join us. Please let me know if you have any questions. Jack Lule, Director of Global Studies


Conference Schedule

9:00 - 9:30          Arrivals, coffee, breakfast, conversation

9:30 - 11:00        Panel 1: Migration and Politics - Mobile Bodies and Sovereign States

11:00 - 11:15      Coffee, snacks, conversation

11:15 - 12:45      Panel 2: Global Political Economy and Identity - Enduring Structures, Fractured Identities

12:45 - 1:45        Lunch

1:45 - 2:00         Coffee and conversation

2:00 - 3:30         Panel 3: Diasporas and Media - Reading Identities in Diasporas

3:30 - 3:45         Coffee, snacks and conversation

3:45 - 5:15         Panel 4: Religion and The Nation - Imagining Religion and Nation


The Four Panel Themes

Migration and Politics: Mobile Bodies and Sovereign States
This panel will explore the inherent and growing tensions between human spatial mobility and the imperative of sovereign states to submit their populations to ever-stricter regimes of control and surveillance. Panelists will discuss the ways human flows both challenge constructions of state sovereignty and inspire countervailing efforts to restrict population movement and fix identity.

Janet Roitman, The New School
John Picarelli, Department of Justice, USA
Roxanne Doty, Arizona State University

Panel Organizers:
Bruce Whitehouse, Lehigh University, Sociology & Anthropology
Janice Bially Mattern, Lehigh University, International Relations

Global Political Economy and Identity: Enduring Structures, Fractured Identities
The tension within globalization has always been the relationship between structure and agency, stasis and change. This panel will explore the process of identity formation, maintenance and change across space and time. The flow of peoples, products, monies, ideas and images has accelerated significantly in recent decades as the global political economy has been restructured. As a result, individuals and peoples are confronted with new challenges and opportunities as they negotiate identities. Questions our panelists will address: Who are today's people? What makes us? Where do we come from? How do we situate ourselves? Where might we be going?

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Princeton University
Michel Laronde, University of Iowa
Joseph Straubhaar, University of Texas, Austin

Panel Organizers:
Marie-Helene Chabut, Lehigh University, Modern Languages & Literature
Matthew Sanderson, Lehigh University, Sociology & Anthropology
John Jirik, Lehigh University, Journalism & Communication

Diasporas and Media: Reading Identities in Diasporas
DaiSil Kim-Gibson, filmmaker and former director of the media program for the New York State Council on the Arts, will discuss her acclaimed documentary, "Motherland: Cuba Korea USA," as well as, more broadly, how the media represent the complex nature of diasporic identity. Professors John Savage and Vera Fennell will complement this discussion, drawing upon their work on the West Indies and China/Africa.

Panelists and Panel Organizers:
DaiSil Kim-Gibson, Documentary Filmmaker
John Savage, Lehigh University, History
Vera Fennell, Lehigh University, Political Science

Religion and The Nation: Imagining Religion and Nation
"Imagining religion and nation" will feature a discussion with the authors of two important books: Islam Sufism Unbound, by Professor Robert Rozehnal, Religious Studies, Lehigh University, and Politics After TV: Religious Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Indian Public, by Prof Arvind Rajagopal, Media Studies, NYU. Two discussants, Khurram Hussain, Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University, and predoctoral fellow at Lehigh University, and Professor Nandini Deo, Political Science, Lehigh University, will comment on and raise questions about these texts. Brief summaries of both books will be made available; the books are also available through Amazon.

Panelists and Panel Organizers:
Rob Rozehnal, Lehigh University, Religion Studies
Nandini Deo, Lehigh University, Political Science
Arvind Rajagopal, NYU
Khurram Hussain, Yale and Lehigh Visiting Scholar



(Wood conference room is on the top floor)


Hotel Bethlehem
Comfort Suites, Bethlehem
Morningstar Inn