Global Babel: Interdisciplinarity, Transnationalism and the Discourses of Globalization
CALL FOR PAPERS:
We invite papers for possible inclusion in an anthology tentatively entitled GLOBAL BABEL: INTERDISCIPLINARITY, TRANSNATIONALISM AND THE DISCOURSES OF GLOBALIZATION. The main focus of the anthology will be on the potential for interdisciplinary, cross-cultural exchange of ideas and discourses to overcome barriers to mutual intelligibility among disciplines and discourses concerned with globalization. Do economists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), antiglobalization activists, proponents of transnational corporations, intellectual historians or other cultural theorists always mean the same thing when they speak about globalization? If not, what are the points of incommensurability? Even if transcultural or interdisciplinary discourse is possible, what lingua franca can we elaborate? What shared forms of rationality can we articulate between and among disciplines and cultures without falling into the trap of Eurocentric universalism?
We welcome papers no longer than 7500 words postmarked no later than March 1, 2004 on topics including but not limited to the following topics, with a focus on whether we can imagine coherent discourses for theorizing these issues, or elaborating problems that a variety of perspectives can engage creatively.
Institutions, Transnational exchange, and Power Differentials.
What roles do institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the World Trade Organization, and environmental groups play in the generation, control, and dissemination of knowledge about globalization? How are the horizons of this knowledge defined by the terms of a given discourse, and what constraints are there on the translation of these terms into other disciplines? What are the “real” effects of such epistemological functions? What are the consequences of the transnational exchange of ideas and information under globalization: exploitation or avenues of resistance to cultural appropriation? How is power distributed under globalization? What is the relative institutional power of the World Bank, the IMF, NGOs, Environmental groups, or labor unions to influence policy regulating transnational flows of goods and information and to define the terms of the debates about access to resources and institutions?
Activism and the Academy.
What is the role of the academy in the geopolitics of the contemporary period? Is the “university in ruins” complicit with transnational capitalism? To what extent can activist discourse generated in the academy have a political role in the global public sphere?
Identities in Translation.
What is the effect of globalization on the politics of immigration, cultural memory and national identity? How are subjectivities of both immigrants and hosts being transformed in the process of large-scale demographic shifts as borders become more porous within the European Union? What alternative identities and what imagined communities can we project into the future to bring about more democratic civil societies? How are these identities in transition represented in art, film, performance and/or video, and how are these representations themselves affected by global economic flows?
Empire, Nationalism and Postnationalism.
How should we talk across disciplines and across national borders about Empire after the World Trade Center bombings of September 11, 2001and the U.S. invasion of Iraq? How do formulations of Empire such as that of Hardt and Negri help us to talk about the Realpolitik of globalization? In what ways is “empire” itself a disputed term? How is empire to be distinguished from globalization, and if they are different the question in a given situation may be: Whose “empire”?
In what discursive frames do defenders of sexual customs and rituals such as female genital mutilation in non-Western cultures respond to challenges from proponents in the West of universal human rights and gender parity? How stable are the discursive categories of the body and even the ideas of the human body’s integrity across cultures and disciplines today? How are discourses of pleasure, desire, and criminality in gender relations being conditioned by the age of transnational travel and the cross-border transmission of pornography or provocative images in advertising into formerly insular cultures?
Conjunctures among Discourses of Technology, Business and Culture.
What possibilities are there for meaningful collaboration between “third world” nations and “first world” nations on moral and financial issues such as the international distribution of AIDS drugs and other medicines? In what ways do national corporate interests, as well as transnational institutions, regulate and police the distribution of scientific technology and medical research? How are cultural differences produced or perpetuated in the process? How do we articulate an understanding of flows of transnational, “flexible” capital with libidinal and psychic economies?
Mass-Mediated Culture, Technologies of Globalization, and the Cultures of Cosmopolitanism.
How are we to understand the circulation of discourses and ideologies in transnational circuits? How do we thematize the desirability of a plurality of forms of rationality, religion, secularism--in short, difference --as an alternative to the thesis of the “conflict of civilizations” taken by some to be imminent? What can we say about the cultures of cosmopolitanism in the context of technologies that further the processes of globalization or that advance the interests of multinational or transnational corporations (TNCs) to the disadvantage of local cultures in the developing world?
Please send proposals by November 1, 2003 or, preferably, finished papers by March 1, 2004, to Margueritte Murphy and Samir Dayal via email. Hard copies of both proposals and finished papers may be sent to the postal address below.
Samir Dayal and Margueritte Murphy
The English Department
Waltham MA, 02452-4705, USA
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