VIU Global Challenges Initiative
May 24-28, 2021
Call for applications: December 5, 2020 – February 10, 2021 via the VIU website
This Graduate Seminar will be led by:
- Duke University, USA
- University of Lausanne, Switzerland
- Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy
In cooperation with:
- Korea University, Korea
- Waseda University, Japan
From local anti-cruise ship protests in Venice to pro-democracy mobilizations in Hong Kong and the global Black Lives Matter movement, organizing for change is shaping planetary history just as it always has. We face the rise of xenophobia and authoritarianism in many places; economic inequality has increased; alt-right, anti-immigrant and even neo-fascist movements have grown in various countries; and global warming threatens our species in the perhaps not so faraway future. Yet, at the same time, we have seen increased environmental action and awareness; LGBTQ organizing has gained traction; new feminist and anti-racist initiatives have developed worldwide. Far from any consensus about the best way forward, the range of social activism reflects the profound polarization of politics and ideology in many countries. The seminar will give students tools for understanding organizing and its sometimes unexpected pathways.
Our student and faculty participants will be invited to think deeply about the complexities of protest and social movements. Understanding mobilization demands attention to the forces of history, economics, and emotion at work, as well as to the forms of expression and identity that develop in the course of mobilizing. Special attention will be paid towards how cultural forms like art, dance, video and film, and language itself may give voice to new visions. We will also explore the crucial role of new social media technologies in mobilizing dissent, hope, and sometimes hate, including experimenting with video-making techniques ourselves. The seminar will give students valuable academic training — and perhaps also ideas and tools for activist work of their own.
Orin Starn, Duke University (Scientific Coordinator)
Katya Wesolowski, Duke University (Co-Coordinator)
Martina Avanza, University of Lausanne (Co-Coordinator)
Pierre-Emmanuel Sorignet, University of Lausanne
Susanne Franco, Ca' Foscari University of Venice
Patrick Heinrich, Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Co-Coordinator)
Koji Toba, Waseda University
Doowon Suh, Korea University
Ayşe Gül Altinay, Sabanci University
The format of the seminar will be strongly participatory and interactive. There will be presentations by faculty, who in some cases will be paired in groups of two to promote a more open-ended exchange of ideas. Students will lead breakout sessions following the presentations to discuss questions posed by faculty, then reporting back to the whole group. There will also be activities in Venice involving culture, media, and protest, including meeting with local activists involved in dance and the arts as well as some video training and experimental production. The layering of seminar activities to complement classroom discussions with outside activities and participatory experiences is designed to make for a thought-provoking week at multiple levels. The aim is to create a welcoming collective experience where students and faculty come together to learn from their activities in Venice and each other.
- Approach: Students will be challenged to think about social issues in an interdisciplinary and multi-perspectival way.
- Experiential learning: Students will link what they hear in lectures and discuss in seminars, to activities in Venice related to culture, media, and protest.
- Methodology: students will expand their toolkit of methods through exposure to how differing disciplines approach the interpretation of social change.
- Deliverables: students will be grouped in video-making teams, to do a project for presentation on the last day. They will also gain new insights and perspectives to bring to their own research, and also for thinking about their own role and responsibilities in changing the world.
Who can apply?
This Graduate Seminar is offered to Master and early PhD students in the Humanities and Social Sciences, with special relevance among others for Anthropology, History of Art, Visual Studies, Dance, Development Studies, History, Political Science, Public Policy, Sociology, and Women's studies.
Fees & Grant Support
Students from the VIU member institutions will pay no participation fees. Grant support is also available to support, partially or fully, the costs of international travel and accommodation.
Excellent candidates from non-member institutions will be also considered and evaluated, although these candidates will pay fees and are not eligible for financial support. VIU Alumni are eligible for a reduced fee.
Applicants must submit the application form, a letter of motivation – which should include a brief description of the candidate’s research interests, a curriculum vitae and a photo.
For further information please download the Brochure and the Program (available soon) or write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, VIU will continue to monitor the situation, and in the event that it is not possible to confirm the program on the VIU campus as scheduled, other practicable solutions will be evaluated. Applicants and confirmed participants will be informed of any changes.