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2016-2017 Colloquiums

February 07, 2017
How Cultural, Capital Emerged in Gilded Age America: Musical Purification and Cross-Class Inclusion at the New York Philharmonic
Shamus Khan, Columbia University

This presentation uses a new database of subscribers to the New York Philharmonic to explore how high culture was constituted as cultural capital in late nineteenth-century America. Our database has information on who subscribed to the Philharmonic between 1880 and 1910 Ā­ the key period of institutionalization of high culture in the United States, and in the city of New York in particular. In analyzing these data we seek to understand how culture became a resource for elite status in that era. We find support for the classic account of purification and exclusiveness of high culture, showing how over the long Gilded Age the social elite of New York attended the Philharmonic both increasingly and in more socially patterned ways. Yet we also find that the orchestra opened up to a new group of subscribers who did not share the social practices, occupational background, or residential choices of more elite patrons. These new members hailed from the professional, managerial and intellectual middle class that was then forming in U.S. cities. The rise of that educated class paved a specific way to the emergence of cultural capital, as it made possible to share elite culture beyond the ranks of the elite alone. We further show that the inclusion of these new members was segregated, by which we mean that they did not mingle with elites inside the concert hall. Thus, greater distinctiveness and greater inclusiveness happened together at the Philharmonic, enabling elite culture to remain distinctive while it also acquired broader social currency.

Dr. Shamus Khan is a professor of sociology at Columbia University, where he is the director of the graduate program. He writes on culture, inequality, and elites. He is the author of, Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School (Princeton), The Practice of Research (Oxford, with Dana Fisher), the forthcoming Exceptional: The Astors, the New York Elite, and the story of American Inequality  (Princeton) and Approaches to Ethnography: Modes of Representation and Analysis in Participant Observation (Oxford). He directs the working group on the political influence of economic elites at the Russell Sage Foundation, is the series editor of “The Middle Range” at Columbia University Press, and the editor of the journal Public Culture. He writes regularly for the popular press such as the New Yorker, the New York Times, and serving as a columnist for Time Magazine.


February 21, 2017
Pedagogies of Politics: How Schools Are Producing a New Generation of Leaders in Africa
Krystal Strong, University of Pennsylvania

Due to growing awareness of the dangers of the generational “disconnect” between Africa’s elderly leaders and the demographic majority of youth under the age of 30, who represent two-thirds of the continent’s population (Ibrahim 2013), schools are regaining traction as conduits for the training of a new generation of leaders. Education is generally recognized as having a central role in cultivating civic participation (Hahn 1998). In Africa, educational institutions have been especially instrumental in political processes, both as training grounds for national leaders throughout the continent’s post-colonial history, and as one of the only contemporary sites in which young people are able to meaningfully engage in political practices. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in schools in Nigeria and South Africa, this talk juxtaposes two contexts which are producing what has been called a “new breed” of young leaders: (1) highly-selective programs and institutions aimed at creating a “leadership pipeline” for gifted, “entrepreneurial” youth; and (2) recent campus political movements that are, perhaps less intentionally, developing in young people an awareness of their political power. The two contexts—institutionalized leadership initiatives “from above” and grassroots activism “from below”—articulate different political logics, educational praxes and, ultimately, visions of transformation. Both, however, demonstrate the political stakes of schooling and the pedagogical underpinnings of politics for a rising generation of young people in Africa, in a moment in which young people, globally, are making important demands for social change

Dr. Krystal Strong is Assistant Professor in Education, Culture, and Society at the Graduate School of Education at University of Pennsylvania. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Strong’s research and teaching combine anthropological approaches to formal and non-institutional educational processes, politics, youth, and new media in Africa. Her current research focuses on the political activisms and cultural practices of youth, and the intersections of these across transnationally and digitally networked spaces. She teaches courses on qualitative and ethnographic research methods, comparative youth cultures, activism and education, and the politics of education in the Global South. Her current book project, Political Training Grounds: Students and the Future of Post-Military Nigeria, examines the role of campus-based politics in preparing Nigerian students for aspired futures in national political leadership after the transition to democracy.


February 28, 2017
The Rescue of Science and Learning: The New Normal?
Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Institute of International Education, Drexel University

Although it is not often captured in the headlines, the sites of ongoing conflict and crisis around the world also present challenges for higher education. Among the 65.3 million forcibly displaced people by the end of 2015 reported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are hundreds of thousands of current or potential students, professors, researchers, and university professionals. Among displaced Syrians alone, one of the largest forcibly displaced groups reported by UNHCR, the Institute of International Education estimates there are 400,000 university age individuals and at least 2,000 professors. Still, these figures do not capture the global population of students and scholars whose study and work has been interrupted by conflict. Additionally, this is not the first time that higher education has faced challenges due to conflict. The Institute of International Education has assisted students and scholars through difficult times since its founding in 1919. Dr. Allan E. Goodman will explore critical questions for this global challenge. Given the scale of displaced students and threatened scholars, how do we avoid a lost generation? How can these individuals best reconnect with universities in America and around the world? What have we learned to date while working to ensure that higher education remains accessible to the world’s most vulnerable populations?

Dr. Allan E. Goodman is the sixth President of IIE, the leading not-for-profit organization in the field of international educational exchange and development training. IIE conducts research on international academic mobility and administers the Fulbright program sponsored by the United States Department of State, as well as over 200 other corporate, government and privately-sponsored programs. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a founding member of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), Co-President of the Partner University Fund (PUF) Grant Review Committee, and a member of the Jefferson Scholarship selection panel. He also serves on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation International Quality Group Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees of the Education Above All Foundation. Dr. Goodman has a PhD in Government from Harvard, an M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BS from Northwestern University. He was awarded the inaugural Gilbert Medal for Internationalization by Universitas 21.


April 11, 2017
Education Under Attack
Jo Becker, Human Rights Watch

In armed conflict, schools, teachers, and students have increasingly become deliberate targets of attack. The phenomenon is best known in Syria, where more than 6,000 schools have been destroyed or are no longer functioning. But in the last decade, repeated attacks on education have taken place in at least 30 countries. Military forces also use schools for military purposes, such as barracks, bases, sniper posts, and weapons depots, depriving children of their right to education, and in the worst instances, exposing them to attack.  Jo Becker will discuss recent research on how education is targeted during armed conflict, and the global advocacy campaign to protect schools from attack and military use.

Jo Becker is the advocacy director of the children’s rights division at Human Rights Watch and an adjunct associate professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University. As the founding chairperson of the international Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, she helped campaign successfully for an international treaty banning the forced recruitment of children under age 18 or their use in armed conflict. Her advocacy also helped lead to a groundbreaking 2011 treaty ensuring labor rights for domestic workers, which number 50-100 million worldwide. She has conducted field investigations on children’s rights in Burma, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and the United States. She has addressed the United Nations Security Council, testified before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, conducted trainings for American and international military officers, and testified as an expert in a Dutch war crimes trial. She has written several Human Rights Watch reports and her op-eds have appeared in the Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, and other major papers. She is also the author of Campaigning for Justice: Human Rights Advocacy in Practice (Stanford University Press, 2013) and the forth-coming Campaigning for Children: Strategies to Advance Children’s Rights (Stanford University Press, 2017).


May 17, 2017
Riding the Wave? Human Rights Education within the World Culture of UNESCO's Global Citizenship Education
Felisa Tibbits, Teachers College of Columbia University

This presentation examines if and how human rights education can be found within UNESCO's Global Citizenship Education framework. It does so through an examination of key UNESCO documents and indicators, and then applies this analysis a sampling of national curriculum to see what these indicators reveal in regards the presence of GCED-related curriculum themes and educational aims within these curriculum. The four contexts sampled include: Cambodia, Mongolia, Uganda and the United States (New Jersey State). Findings suggest the absence of the notion of “world culture” as presented in the Global Citizenship themes and learning objectives and associated indicators. Moreover any existing references to globalization that were found, referred primarily to its economic dimension, reinforcing the importance of national development and human capital theory of education. Results suggest that the world culture of Global Citizenship Education may end up revealing or reinforcing existing orientations towards a neo-liberal approach to education.

Dr. Felisa Tibbitts is a Lecturer in the Comparative and International Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include peace, human rights and democratic citizenship education; curriculum policy and reform; critical pedagogy; and education and social movements. She was a Fulbright Fellow at Lund University, Sweden (Fall 2014) and a Human Rights Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2011-2013).