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Spring 2014

Critical Theory and (post)Colonialism

Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 10:00am

 A.D. White House, Cornell University

Critical Theory and (post)Colonialism 
A joint workshop with the Institute for German Cultural Studies 
Organized by Natalie Melas and Paul Fleming

* Registration required

Lecture: American Muslims of Imagined and Re-Imagined Communities

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 4:45pm to Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 10:00am

Kaufman Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall (March 12th)
Toboggan Lodge, Cornell University (March 13th)

Abdullahi An-Na’im (Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, School of Law, Emory University)


In this lecture, Professor An-Na’im will introduce the main themes of his book, What is an American Muslim? An American Muslim is a citizen of the United States who happens to be Muslim, but religious identity or lack of it among any community is irrelevant to the practice of citizenship. To be a Muslim by conviction and choice, which is the only way to be a Muslim at all, An-Na’im needs the state to be neutral regarding all religions or lack thereof. Being Muslim is one of multiple identities that he practices as a citizen of the United States, but citizenship is the only identity that all Americans share. Thus, there is no permanent minority or majority, whether religious or in any other marker or indicator of identity.  Self-perceptions of identity tend to shift and change as people constantly engage in tactical and strategic negotiation among their contingent and contested identities. As a citizen, An-Na’im demands his right to religious self-determination, which doesn’t exhaust who he is. He refuses being boxed into a religious communal identity because in fact he shares political, socio-economic, and other identity formations with all other citizens, often more with non-Muslims than with other Muslims. This leads him to revisit Benedict Anderson’s notion of imagined communities to call on all citizens, Muslims or not, to keep imagining and re-imagining their communal affiliations and the implications of such affiliations to the fundamental rights of all citizens. 

Philip McMichael - "Historicizing the Land Grab: The Unfolding, and Unraveling, of the Global Food Regime"

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 4:45pm

165 McGraw Hall, Cornell University

PHILIP MCMICHAEL (International Professor & Chair, Development Sociology, Cornell University)

This lecture historicizes the current land grab through the lens of governance mechanisms overriding the WTO trade rules architecture of the late-20th century food regime. Emergent principles and partnerships of a restructuring food regime justify an intensifying commodification of land, labor and ecosystems, portending a final enclosure via a 'rational' planning of planetary resources in a quest for security. Such neoliberal mechanisms promote private power through public authority, reformulating the state system as an instrument of privatization and redefinition of land and territory in the face of growing counter-movements for food and land sovereignty.

Trained as a historical sociologist, Professor McMichael’s research examines capitalist modernity through the lens of agrarian questions, food regimes, agrarian/food sovereignty movements. This work centers the role of agri-food systems in the making of the modern world. He has worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - most recently as a member of its Civil Society Mechanism, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, and the international peasant coalition, La Vía Campesina. He has authored Settlers and the Agrarian Question(1984), Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective(2012), and Food Regimes and Agrarian Questions (2013), and recently edited Contesting Development: Critical Struggles for Social Change (2010). 

Fall 2013

Anne Blackburn - "Monks, Texts, and Relics: Towards a Connected History of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 4:45pm

Toboggan Lodge, Cornell University

Bregtje van der Haak - "DNA Dreams"

Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 2:45pm

Africana Studies and Research Center, Multipurpose Room, 310 Triphammer Road

Françoise Vergès - "A Mutilated Cartography"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 4:45pm to Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 5:00pm

Lewis Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall (October 29th)

Chantal Thomas - "What Does the Emerging International Law of Migration Mean for Sovereignty?"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 2:45pm

Kaufman Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall

Chantal Thomas (Professor, Law, Cornell Law School)

Spring 2013

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im - "Islam and the Secular State"

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 4:45pm to Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 12:00pm

Kaufmann Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall (April 17th)
Room 390, Myron Taylor Hall (April 18th)

Saree Makdisi - "Making England Western"

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 4:45pm to Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 10:00am

Kaufmann Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall (March 6th)
Toboggan Lodge, Cornell University (March 7th)