The Global Migrations Program at Hampshire College was a College-wide initiative to rethink old cold war paradigms of knowledge and citizenship in light of the unprecedented movements of persons across national and cultural borders that characterize our globalizing world. The program sought to develop new curricular initiatives that are responsive to these transnational/multicultural movements and the local conflicts over identity, belonging, and citizenship to which they give rise. The program encouraged collaborative efforts between faculty and students to bridge divides across old geographies and disciplinary boundaries, between local community issues and complex global processes, and between the university and the wider communities of which it is a part. The goal of the program was to develop a transnational, community-based model of teaching and learning that engendered not only global literacy, but a sense of cosmopolitan citizenship.
The idea of developing a curriculum around the theme of "global migrations" was born out of a faculty retreat in the School of Social Science in the Spring of 2000. In keeping with Hampshire's progressive approach to education, the School of Social Science, now known as the School of Critical Social Inquiry, is organized around social issues rather than departments and has an interdisciplinary faculty who, in previous years, have taught around such curricular themes as "Third World Studies" and "Feminist Studies." Yet the complex and often contradictory realities of living in a globalizing world demand of us a new kind of interdisciplinarity—one that takes into account the increasing and varied mobilities of persons across time and place, the formation of new geographies and communities, and the rise of new forms of political identity and claims to citizenship. While these are issues that many of our faculty already grapple with in their own teaching, research, and community work, "global migrations" offered us a shared framework for recognizing and building on the existing strengths of our school. This emphasis on global migrations, rather than static notions of culture or nation, also enabled us to build curricular linkages between the social and natural sciences, as well as with the humanities and arts.
With the generous funding of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, the Global Migrations Program was initiated in January of 2002. Our first year was devoted primarily to refining the focus of our program around an emerging conception of "citizenship" that has become central to the definition and goals of our program. Through our speaker and seminar series, curriculum retreats, development of new courses, and support of student internships and projects, the Global Migrations Program has in its first year brought together faculty and students from across the college in conversation about the meaning of citizenship in a globalizing world. Out of these conversations had emerged a critical conception of "citizenship" that challenged the notion of the nation-state as the primary source of both identity and rights, and called for a more cosmopolitan way of thinking about self, community, and the ethics of global living.
Papers from the 2003 Global Migrations Seminar have been published in book form by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. The anthology, edited by Betsy Hartmann (Hampshire), Bamu Subramaniam (University of Massachusetts/Amherst), and Charles Zerner (Sarah Lawrence College), is titled Making Threats: Biofears and Environmental Anxieties.
Global Migrations Faculty Seminar, Spring 2005
Saskia Sassen, professor of xociology at the University of Chicago and author of key works including Globalization and Its Discontents, gave a Global Migrations seminar on April 14, 2005, at Hampshire College. Click on "Events and News" link at left for more information and readings.
The grant supported collaborative efforts between faculty and students to bridge divides across old geographies and disciplinary boundaries, between local community issues and complex global processes, and between the university and the wider communities of which it was a part.