Interview with IGS Faculty: Dr. Janet McIntosh

What is your current research about?

My past research was based on ethnic tensions in East Africa and my first book was on Islam and ethno-religious boundaries on the Kenya coast. My second project that is a book in progress is about White Kenyans and their peculiar dilemmas because just as they try and fit in as good Kenyan citizens in this post-colonial world, it seems like the colonial unconscious rears its head. However, when they try to be good Europeans, it turns out they have in fact been more acculturated to African life ways than they are necessarily comfortable with. So I am writing about the interesting dilemmas that they face.

How does your research speak to contemporary global issues?

There has been quite a lot of scholarly attention paid to subaltern groups particularly colonized groups. My research is a slightly unusual perspective on the post-colonial condition because I am looking at elite Whites who used to be in power and held sway across much of the globe. However, now they find themselves a foundered elite and I am wondering how they try and find a place in a world that has judged colonialism so negatively. My work speaks to the currents of liberal humanism moving across the globe and challenging old regimes, by asking what happens to the former destabilized elites. White Kenyans think of themselves as capaciously multicultural but it is their very multiculturalism that is considered a problem from the vantage point of some Kenyans who think citizenship is linked to race. So White Kenyan dilemmas and identities are intricately linked up with contemporary global questions about national identity and race and ethnicity. Continue reading “Interview with IGS Faculty: Dr. Janet McIntosh”

Soli Sorabjee Lectures in South-Asian Studies: Bina Agarwal

March 19, 2012

5:30 pm, Rapaporte Treasure Hall

Bina Agarwal is a prize-winning feminist economist who studies gender, development, and agriculture in India and throughout South Asia. She writes about changing the framework of traditional economics to include women and implicit power relationships in decision making found in patriarchical societies.

The Soli Sorabjee lecture series engages with themes of “justice” — broadly defined to include the interrogation of human rights, historical narratives, literary and political representations, gender and social justice, citizenship and democracy, and cross-border connections between the nations of South Asia. Our goal is to expose students at Brandeis (and the larger public) to the scholarship being conducted in the multidisciplinary fields of South Asian Studies, both in the United States and in South Asia itself, as well as to the vast range of South Asian intellectual and artistic traditions. The series is sponsored by the South Asian Studies Programand the Brandeis-India Initiative. It was named after the honorable Soli J. Sorabjee, former attorney general of India and a friend of Brandeis University.

Improvisations: Raga in Afghanistan and North India

Intercultural Residency Series, Spring 2012

March 6-10, 2012 

Concert: Saturday, March 10, 8:00 p.m.

Pre-Concert Talk: 7:00-7:45

Speaker: Theodore Levin, Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music at Dartmouth College; Raga residency curator.

Slosberg Recital Hall

Master performers virtuosically reunite two historically kindred stringed instruments through the common language of raga and tabla. Improvisations is a group of three extremely talented men who bring to Brandeis a taste of culture that is part of not only the world music scene, but also part of the Music Unites Us program.

Homayun Sakhi is the outstanding Afghan rubab player of his generation. His performance style has been shaped by traditional Afghan and Indian music and by contemporary music from around the world. Born in Kabul into one of Afghanistan’s leading musical families, Sakhi studied rubab with his father, Ustad Ghulam Sakhi. He performs around the world is active in teaching rubab to young Afghans, both in Afghanistan and in the West.

American, Ken Zuckerman is internationally acclaimed as one of today’s finest sarod virtuosos, is also known as a master of improvisation. He completed 37 years of training under the rigorous discipline of India’s legendary sarod master, the late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. He has performed with Maestro Khan in Europe, India, and the United States and with some of India’s finest tabla virtuosos.

Salar Nader, born in Germany in 1981, is one of his generation’s leading performers on the tabla. A disciple of the great tabla master Zakir Hussain, Salar Nader frequently accompanies Homayun Sakhi as well as other performers of Afghan and North Indian classical music. A resident of San Francisco, Nader recently appeared as an on-stage musician in an American theatrical adaptation of the best-selling novel The Kite Runner.

This residency is supported in partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Full Residency Schedule Here

The Snow Revolution and the Thaw of Putin’s Regime

Elections this past Sunday returned Vladimir Putin to Russian presidency; more than 60 percent voted to give Putin back the office he held for most of the past decade.  International and domestic observers, however, claim the election was marred by fraud; right now thousands of protesters are filling Moscow’s Pushkin Square, promising a prolonged demonstration.

A Brandeis twist: there’s an alum right at the heart of the protest movement and she’s speaking on campus tomorrow night!

Tuesday, March 6, come hear Olga Golovanova ’10, a political activist just returned from demonstrations against the Putin regime inMoscow.

Golovanova’s talk, “The Snow Revolution and the Thaw of Putin’s Regime,” will take place in Rapaporte Treasure Hall at 7 p.m on Tues, March 6.  Russian refreshments will be served.

The talk is part of Russian Culture Week, with events all week.

The Bog and the Beast: Museums, The Nation, and the World

How are national identities created and maintained?  What role does culture play, and how do museums contribute to national identities?  These are questions that Wellesley Professor Peggy Levitt will address in her talk:

“The Bog and The Beast: Museums, the Nation, and the World”
Thursday, March 1

3:30-5 pm
Intercultural Center- Second Floor Multipurpose Room

As Prof. Levitt has written:

“During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama told an adoring crowd of more than 250,000 gathered in Berlin’s Tiergarten that he was speaking to them as a citizen of the United States and as a citizen of the world.

“The President’s globalism, however, stands in sharp contrast to the fierce nationalism and anti-immigrant fever plaguing Europe and the United States.  What do we make of these two seemingly irreconcilable views?

“Museums might seem like unlikely places to look for answers. But ever since August 1793, when the leaders of the new French Republic opened the doors of the Louvre to the public to celebrate Louis XVI’s demise, museums have strongly influenced how people imagine the nations where they live. To create a unified “team” out of millions of people who would never meet, museums showcased the knowledge and customs their citizens shared.

“But in today’s global world, have museums taken on the challenge of creating the global citizens of the future too? Where do they fall in the battle between multilingual globalism and parochial nationalism? Why do particular cities create regionally or internationally-focused institutions while others create museums that look barely past their front doors?

An IGS Conversation: The Challenges of Global Migration

Refugees of Libyan War head to Europe.Wednesday February 15
7 PM (6:30 for pizza)

Mandel Center Reading Room (3rd Floor)

IGS will kick of the new semester on Wednesday evening, February 15, with the next installment in its year-long Conversation Series on global issues. Up for discussion will be “The Challenges of Global Migration.”

Why are so many of the world’s peoples on the move?  What awaits them when they arrive?  How can North Africans migrating to Europe cross divides of wealth, religion, and culture?

Four Brandeis seniors from the IGS Department will be sharing their conclusions on these and other challenges of migration, drawing from their own research and first-hand experience with migrant communities while studying abroad.

Tess Raser ’12, will discuss the work she did with Libyan refugees while studying abroad in Sicily. She is currently completing a senior thesis on the political anthropology of the refugee crisis there.


 Gabrielle Santoro ’12, will discuss the role that Moroccan immigrants play in the city of Granada, where she studied abroad in the spring of 2011.


Nashrah Rahman ’12, will explore why Egyptians are continuing to leave Egypt, even though the revolution has technically ended. She will be discussing the “push” and “pull” factors that are affecting many Egyptians’ decision to emigrate.


Elise Allan ’12, will examine the battle over the immigration and assimilation of North Africans in southern France. She has studied abroad in both Montpellier, France, and Quito, Ecuador.


Professor Beatrice de Gasquet, Florence Levy Kay Fellow of Culture and Politics in the Francophone World, will be moderating.

As always, we want to hear your thoughts on the matter, too! While much of our panelists’ work has focused on migrants in the Mediterranean world, we hope to broaden our discussion to include other global migrations as well. Here’s your chance to share your thoughts on the challenges that come with so many people on the move.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Three great talks on British and Global history, Feb. 8-10

From 2012 to 2014, IGS and the History Department will share a postodoctoral fellow, someone who will teach classes on “Britain and the World since 1750” for both programs. We’ve got three candidates.  All are fascinating — and all three are speaking at Brandeis this week (Feb. 8, 9 & 10).

Whom should we pick?  Come hear them and let us know what you think!

First up is a talk on the British Empire’s detention camps.  Did you know that, long before the Gulag, long before even the First World War, the British Empire was imprisoning and “re-educating” whole populations?  Come hear Aidan Forth, a Stanford historian, talk about:

“Britain’s Empire of Camps, 1876-1907”
Wednesday, February 8th @ 2:00 p.m.

Next up: a reconsideration of Victorian England.  Was it really a militaristic place shot through with racism?  Or were there plenty of pacificists about, especially in religious circles?  Come hear Ian Hopper, a Brandeis PhD, talk about:

“Absent Minded Conquerors: the paradoxes of English militarism and imperialism before the Great War”
Thursday, February 9th @ 3:00 p.m.

Finally, what did the colonies think of the First World War?  We’re used to the idea that Australia and Canada hated fighting for Britain and thus headed for independence.  But what if they loved contributing to the cause as England’s equals? What do museum exhibitions of the time tell us?  Come here Yale historian Jennifer Wellington talk about:

“Exhibiting the First World War in Britain and its Empire”
Friday, February 10th @ 4:00 p.m.

All talks will be held in Olin-Sang 207.  See you there!


IGS Spring Conversation TONIGHT!

Hello IGSers:

Just a reminder that we will be getting together for our IGS Spring Conversation tonight from 5:30 – 7:30 in the Reading Room of the Mandel Center (3rd floor, next to the roof garden!)

We’ll start with informal discussion — good classes for the fall (including some pretty cool new ones), how to best work in major requirements, etc.  Then we’ll enjoy presentations from seniors on how they made the most of international experiences from France to Nepal, from China to India to Cairo. (And did I mention the roof garden?  At sunset?)

Food, conversation, music and great stories from the worlds within our world: isn’t this what you came to college for?

See you there!

Internet Intifada

By Mark Grinberg, syndicated from Flash Drive Terrorism

Social networking has become a staple of our society. We spent much of the last decade making profiles and following each other. Using the phrase, “Facebook Me” has become commonplace, and Lady Gaga has almost 9 million followers on Twitter.

This decade, we are seeing how the spread of this phenomenon affects the rest of the world. In the Middle East in particular, we have seen what journalists have dubbed, “Facebook Revolution.” Revolutionaries all over the world have begun to use the internet and social networks to organize towards a particular end. In response, the governments of these revolutionaries have engineered internet shutoffs for entire nations. In their attempt to maintain control over these nations, dictators instead bring world attention to the issues in their country.

This type of press is envied the world over. How many have a particular cause that they would like to spread knowledge of? One group in particular – terrorists – vie for this type of attention day in and day out. Therefore, it is not surprising that murmurs around the internet suggest something new and dangerous called electronic intifada. Facebook groups by this name have been growing by the thousands daily. The comparisons between the struggles of the Palestinian people and those in Tunisia or Egypt ring true with those whom empathize with the Palestinian people.

Electronic Intifada is only one of many Facebook pages that are being used. Another page titled Third Palestinian Intifada had almost 250,000 members. I watched as the page grew from only around 1000 members to around 250,000, eventually attracting the attention of Facebook users. These members spread word of the page, eventually resulting in an appeal yesterday by Israeli Cabinet Minister Yuli Edelstein to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook took down the original page, but in the last 24 hours it has surged to 10,000+ members and spawned several smaller pages professing the same thing. Their main objective? May 15th – the day their “Facebook Intifada” begins.

Many groups are utilizing social networking and communication technology in ways that have not been seen before. Much like the Zapatistas, small groups are beginning to grow powerful through the use of technology and the internet. All of this is largely floating under the radar of news media who are preoccupied with events in Libya, elsewhere in the Middle East, and Japan.

As Americans, what can or should we do regarding this situation? Facebook’s policy on matters such as this generally is that they are against the censorship of any content on the site. I believe that individuals should be able to speak their minds, but when this results in violence, something needs to be done.

What are our options? Policing all of the content created by a group of people larger than the population of the United States cannot be done by Facebook by themselves. The government cannot check content, as there is simply too much over too widespread a geographic area. Additionally, this would violate Facebook’s privacy agreements with its users.

Many users of Facebook have come up with a creative solution to the problem – they have become “internet police.” Pages have sprung up in response to the Third Palestinian Intifada page, telling Facebook users to report the pages organizing the Intifada. I believe that this is the one of the most effective models for controlling the spread of terrorism utilizing social media. Individuals, when bound together by a common cause and with the proper tools, can be extremely powerful. We’ve seen the perfect example of this unfolding in the Facebook intifada.

As members of this digital era, we must be responsible for the content that we together create as a planet. The internet belongs to no one and everyone, and if everyone and no one is not responsible for it, it will become a tool for violence and mayhem, even more so than it already is.

In the words of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “When you give everyone a voice and give people power, the system usually ends up in a really good place.” We must be responsible for keeping this system in a “really good place.”

UPDATE: The ADL has posted a complaint about the page here. The page has been shutdown again as of 3/31, early morning, but has gone up again after a moment of downtime. They have around 2,000 “fans” in the past few hours.