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2014-2015 events

September 2014
Identity in Past, Present, and Future Tense: The Emotional Work of Navigating Gender, Class, and Nation in Vietnamese and English
Ilene Crawford, PhD, Southern Connecticut State University

The process of second language acquisition is highly emotional for many language learners, for reasons that often turn on conflicts the language learner experiences between the discourses of identity in her first and second languages. This talk will examine how different cultural scripts for gender, class, and national identity impact Vietnamese women working as English teachers in urban Vietnam and strategies these women have developed for mediating the tensions they experience between Vietnamese and western cultural expectations. Of particular interest will be how these women’s experiences have in turn shaped the ways they are fostering their own children’s English language learning and second language identity formation.

About the Speaker
Ilene Crawford, PhD is Professor of English and Women’s Studies and Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut, where she teaches courses in rhetoric and writing studies, interdisciplinary studies, and transnational feminist theory. Her research is in the areas of literacy studies, with particular interests in transnational literacies, second language identity formation, intercultural pedagogies, and higher education reform in Vietnam. She was a 2010 Fulbright scholar to Vietnam, where she taught intercultural communication and American literature at the University of Education-Ho Chi Minh City.

October 2014
Who Owns the South China Sea? Politics of Knowledge and Evidential Claims Making
Bill Hayton, Writer and BBC Journalist

The South China Sea appears to be on the verge of conflict. In the past two years, Chinese Coastguard ships have rammed their Vietnamese rivals, blockaded Philippine outposts, disrupted Malaysian oil surveys and threatened Indonesian fisheries protection vessels. The Chinese government claims ‘indisputable sovereignty’ over the vast majority of the Sea while its southern neighbors assert that all or some of the islands in the Sea rightfully belong to them. This presentation will locate the origins of the disputes in the nationalist anxiety that marked the confused transition from empire to republic in China and the processes of decolonization in Southeast Asia. It will show how the first territorial claims were provoked by the commercial exploitation of bird droppings and then how the lure of hydrocarbons combined with the adoption of a new UN Convention on the Law of the Sea led to the occupation of almost every feature in the Sea. The presentation will tell the often bizarre stories of how the rival claims came about, examine the evidence for them and discuss whether they can ever be reconciled.

About the Speaker

Bill Hayton is the author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia to be published by Yale University Press in the fall of 2014. His book Vietnam: Rising Dragon was published by Yale in 2010 and well received. He currently works as a journalist for BBC News in London, specializing in Southeast Asian affairs. During 2013 he spent a year embedded with the state radio and TV service in Myanmar attempting to persuade the former military regime to introduce pluralism into broadcasting, with predictably mixed results. In 2006-7 he was the BBC reporter in Vietnam. Prior to that he focused on European affairs and the Middle East, writing and reporting on the Balkans, Yemen and Iran among other places.

November 18, 2014
Sowing Seeds of Change: Education for Partnership Between Jews and Palestinians in Israel
Karen Ross, PhD, University of Massachusetts--Boston

Sixty years after Israel’s establishment, tensions between Jewish and Palestinian citizens continue to simmer. The instability caused by these tension looms over Israeli society, creating an ongoing threat of violent conflict. To counter these tensions, bi-national encounter programs have brought together Palestinian and Jewish citizens to for decades. While they have been the subject of much academic research, it is still unclear whether or how these programs might play a role in reducing tensions and preventing future violence. My research addresses this gap in knowledge by drawing on case studies of Sadaka Reut and Peace Child Israel, two veteran organizations implementing bi-national encounter programs. I examine the link between participation in Sadaka Reut and Peace Child activities and the way that participation shape the long-term worldviews and identity claims of alumni as well as subsequent engagement in activities aimed at challenging structural inequalities in Israeli society. My research suggests that bi-national encounters can significantly shape participants’ ethno-national and activist identity claims, and can prime them for continued participation in activities aimed at large-scale social change. However, pedagogical approaches utilized in encounter programs, personal experiences, and events in the socio-political context all play a role in shaping the beliefs and actions of program alumni. Ultimately, this research indicates that broader approaches to conceptualizing and measuring “impact” are important for providing meaningful knowledge about the consequences of encounter program participation – knowledge with significant implications for the future of Israeli society.

About the Speaker

Karen Ross is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Peace, Democracy & Development at UMASS-Boston and will be an Assistant Professor in UMASS-Boston’s Conflict Resolution program as of January 2015.  Karen’s research focuses on the methodological and conceptual intersection between peace building, education, and social change, with a geographic focus on Israel/Palestine.  She is particularly interested in approaches utilized to conceptualize and measure “impact” in relation to value-focused educational programs in both formal and non-formal contexts.  Outside of academia, Karen is a dialogue facilitator and facilitator trainer, and has worked as a consultant for UNESCO, GPPAC, and the American Friends Service Committee.  She earned her PhD from Indiana University, with a dual concentration in Inquiry Methodology and Comparative & International Education, and holds a MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a BA in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from Columbia University.  

December 16, 2014 - CANCELLED
The Internationalization of a German University: English Language Master's Programs, the State, and the New Nationalism
Roger Geertz Gonzalez, PhD, Drexel University

This preliminary study identifies why the University of Hamburg in Germany has developed English taught Master’s programs via a case study that includes interviews, collection of documents, and observations. Since 2011, Germany has increased its Master's programs taught in English by 11%. Some of these programs include: business, economics, physics, and engineering. The University of Hamburg, founded in 1919, is a large, urban public university with 44,800 students. It currently offers 18 English Master's programs and 10 combined English/German Master's programs. In 2011, it was awarded an internationalization certificate by the German Rectors' Conference, a voluntary group consisting of state and state-related universities. The goal of this preliminary research is to determine: if the states of Hamburg and Germany incentivize the increase in English taught Master's programs, how do faculty, staff and students perceive this programs taught in English as opposed to German, and what are the goals for these programs in light of internationalization efforts on campus

About the Speaker

Roger Geertz Gonzalez is an Associate Clinical Professor of Higher Education at Drexel University. His research focuses on: college student civic engagement, comparative higher education access, and college student ethnic identity. The areas of his focus include: Europe, Latin America, North America, Japan, and Oceania. The specific research methods he incorporates are: ethnography, historical, phenomenology, case study, and political science.

January 20, 2015
A Return to God? Muslim Youth, Education, Politics, and Identity in a Post-Modern World
Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, EdD, University of Pennsylvania

Across the world, we are witnessing a revival of religion, especially among Muslim youth, but what it means must be contextualized across different spaces, places and process of social incorporation. This research examines the role of growing religiosity among youth in Pakistan, a country that defines itself as an Islamic republic and where Muslim youth are in the majority, and Muslim immigrant experiences in the US, a secular state where Islamic religiosity may be less understood or welcomed. Drawing on ethnographic data collected in US public schools and textbook analysis of Pakistani school curriculum, this research examines the differential experiences of majority and minority Muslim youth in trans-national contexts. Findings indicate that youth sense of “belonging” intersects with educational experiences, political and religious identity, and notions of citizenship. Findings indicate a re-reading of religiosity is needed by researchers and policy makers in order to better inform our understandings of politics, nationalism, citizenship, and education, particularly among Muslim communities.

About the Speaker

Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher is a Senior Lecturer in the Education, Culture and Society division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education where she is also the Associate Director of the International Educational Development Program.  Her research interests include immigrants and education, trans/nationalism and citizenship, educational policy, youth cultures, and religion in education.  Her practitioner work has focused on school climate, teacher education, curriculum development and pedagogy.

February 17, 2015
Hot and Bothered: How Globalization Stemmed Sex Education
Jonathan Zimmerman, PhD, New York University

Click here to view the archived webcast.

Sex education has never won a sustained foothold in modern schools. Although sexual attitudes around the world have liberalized in the past half-century, sex education has not followed suit; indeed, the modern phenomena of globalization have mostly served to inhibit--not to expand--the subject. As visual and digital technologies spread new sexual images and ideas around the world, citizens joined hands to curtail sexual instruction in their schools. In the 20th century, the movement of people and ideas across nations made sex education into a subject without a home.

About the Speaker

Jonathan Zimmerman is Professor of Education and History at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. Zimmerman also holds an appointment in the History Department in NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. A former Peace Corps volunteer and high school teacher, Zimmerman is the author of Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education (Princeton, 2015) and four other books. He is a frequent op-ed contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other popular newspapers and magazines; he also appears every other week on WHYY, Philadelphia's National Public Radio affiliate, to discuss contemporary events in historical perspective. In 2008, Zimmerman received NYU's Distinguished Teaching Award.

March 17, 2015
Engaging Knowledge and Strategies: Rural Parental Involvement in Gansu, China
Peggy Kong, PhD, Lehigh University

Parental involvement in their children’s schooling has been identified as critical to a child’s academic future.  Researchers have identified specific at-home and in-school activities for parents to support their children’s schooling, but at the same time note parental involvement is highly influenced by socio-economic status. Wealthier and more educated parents relate to school personnel and their children differently, and often perceived as more effectively, than parents who are poor or are less educated. While most of this research has been conducted inside the US, it nevertheless shapes educational policy-making and school-community relations around the world. This study uses ethnographic data collected in rural Gansu, China, to challenge the assumption that poor parents are backwards, unable to support their children’s schooling, and pose as a barrier to their children’s educational success. Findings from this study indicate that parents are motivated, knowledgeable and strategic about their involvement in their children’s academic lives. They desire social mobility for their children and take action towards this goal.  Findings provide important lessons for teachers, school administrators and education policy-makers in China and around the world.   

About the Speaker

Peggy A. Kong is an Assistant Professor of Comparative and International Education at Lehigh University.  Her research focuses on issues of poverty and equity in education in the East Asian context.  She combines in-depth ethnographic work with survey data to delve into the relationships between poverty, school-family connections, and gender in rural China.

April 21, 2015
Stratification and the Emergence of the Post-Secondary Private Education Sector in Vietnam
Kimberly A. Goyette, PhD, Temple University

Private education is the fastest-growing sector of post-secondary education in Asia and worldwide.  This growth is especially notable in developing countries with a long history of state-controlled, public education.  Vietnam has had a strong public, post-secondary education sector that has only recently begun to experience growth in non-public institutions.  In this research, I investigate how the growth of the private sector may influence stratification in Vietnam.  I find that private and other types of non-public institutions are more likely to serve more advantaged students from South Vietnam. They pay higher costs to acquire their post-secondary credentials; however, these students also seem to choose more lucrative fields like science, technology and engineering, and business, perhaps as a way to ensure good returns to this investment.  This research suggests that as the private sector in Vietnam expands, the influence of family background and region of residence on post-secondary attendance may grow.

About the Speaker

Kimberly A. Goyette is an associate professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture, and Society at Temple University.  Her recent work looks at relationships between schools, housing, and race in the U.S., and explores the privatization and internationalization of universities in Southeast Asia. 

May 19, 2015
Breaking the Glass Ceiling? Gender and Leadership in Higher Education
Barret Katuna, PhD, University of Connecticut

While gender research shows that women face exceptional disadvantages in the workplace based on sexual harassment, glass ceilings, mentoring and collegial work relationships and the work and family balance, it does not specifically focus on redefining leadership roles so as to uncover a degendered vision of leadership. Feminist degendering movement literature that encompasses degendering leadership, engendering leadership or taking gender out of the way that we define leadership recognizes the problems associated with role congruity and women’s subsequent leadership potential.  In my dissertation, I consider the possibility of a degendered leadership that does not pose gendered limitations for how women or men ought to act in leadership roles.  My research questions include: 1) What role does gender play in the narratives of women and men leaders? 2) How might leaders’ gendering of leadership reproduce gender stereotypes? 3) What strategies might leaders and institutions of higher education use to degender leadership? and 4) What might degendered leadership look like? Through 34 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with women and men who are serving as deans, provosts, and presidents at colleges and universities throughout the United States, I examine degendered definitions of leadership that are rooted in expectations of the prototypical academic leader. Respondents indicated that effective academic leadership is evident through a leader’s prestige through her or his credentials and publications, active engagement with institutional stakeholders and ability to lead strategic institutional initiatives that are in line with the institutional culture. While past scholarship has emphasized the negative effects associated with gendering leadership and an individual’s behavioral capacity to lead, there is a need for more scholarship that focuses on degendering leadership through labeling and discourse. Through the narratives of my respondents, who are some of the most esteemed leaders in higher education in the United States, I fill this gap in the literature.

About the Speaker

Barret Katuna is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut. Her research explores gender and leadership in higher education and gender and human rights issues. Her work has appeared in Societies Without BordersDisrupting the Culture of Silence: Confronting Gender Inequality and Making Change in Higher Education (forthcoming in October 2014) edited by Kris De Welde and Andi Stepnick, and In Our Own Backyard: Human Rights, Injustice, and Resistance in the United States (University of Pennsylvania 2011), edited by William T. Armaline, Davita Silfen Glasberg, and Bandana Purkayastha.

June 2, 2015
On Whose Wavelength? Learning What Our Shared Work is [and Is Called] Through a Pennsylvania/Ghana Collaboration
Alice Lesnick, PhD, Bryn Mawr College

Through the BiCo Dalun Community Fellowship, a group of US-based undergraduates complete a 10-week action research experience linking work in a community-based organization with local language study and structured reflective practices.  Alice Lesnick, founder and director of the fellowship, will speak about what she and her students and colleagues in Ghana are learning about what it means to work together across distances and languages.  In particular, the role of the regional community radio station as a hub for this work will be considered and its significance as an educational organ vital to the intercultural project as well as the local community characterized.

About the Speaker

Alice Lesnick, Term Professor of Education, Director of the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program, and Coordinator of Africana Studies.  A literacy researcher with particular interest in collaborative learning; networked learning; and the bridging of formal and informal contexts of education, Alice has created and teaches a broad range of courses including her Program's gateway and capstone seminars; literacies and education; qualitative research; education, technology, and society; first-year writing and thinking; and empowering learners. Awarded the Rosalyn R. Schwartz Teaching Award in 2004; a faculty associate/teacher trainer with the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College since 1993; and a former preschool, elementary, middle, and high school teacher, Alice now directs the BiCo Dalun Community Fellowships project linking Bryn Mawr and Haverford College undergraduates with a preschool, community radio station, and ICT Centre in Northern Ghana.