Schedule Spring 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Moderator: Uday Chandra, GU-Q

Opportunity Costs: Upward Servility in the New India
Patrick Inglis
Grinnell College, Iowa, United States


This paper explores the limits and possibilities of low-wage face-to-face service work in facilitating social mobility in India. Main informants include poor lower-caste caddies who carry the golf sets of wealthy members at private golf clubs in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. The caddies are not regular employees of the clubs, and thus receive no guaranteed wages, benefits, or basic protections normally associated with formal employment. As a result, they must rely on members to supply them with tips and additional provisions either scarce or unavailable in the public sphere, such as interest-free loans, health care, and education for their children. The paper argues that these forms of support are necessary but not sufficient to alter the status position of most caddies. Many stay in the job for years, sometimes decades, performing the same tasks, and those who seek work elsewhere often only succeed at making a horizontal move in terms of skill, pay, and prestige. While children of some caddies attend private English-medium schools paid in part or in full by club members, these schools do not rise to the quality of education members afford their own children, who proceed along a markedly different path. The paper develops the concept of upward servility to capture the aspirations of caddies and the obligations of servility and deference members require of them in order to secure the most basic resources, and yet without the opportunity to significantly improve life chances.

Patrick Inglis is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Grinnell College, in Iowa. Inglis also organizes the International and Comparative Studies Working Group at the Grinnell College.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Moderator: Mohamed Zayani, GU-Q

The Making of World Literature in Turkey
Firat Oruc
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar


This paper examines the connections between national identity and translation by investigating the construction of a state-sponsored world literature canon as a project national “culture planning” in Turkey. With the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk introduced a series of radical cultural reforms aimed to leave the Ottoman/Islamic past irrevocably behind. These measures promoted identification with Europe as “the universal civilization” while simultaneously emphasizing Turkish identity as the foundation for the new nation. One of the most significant Kemalist revolutions was dil devrimi, or “the language revolution,” which mandated that all “old, fossilized” Arabic and Persian words be abandoned completely and replaced by ur-Turkish equivalents. The paper focuses on the ways in which this architectonic language revolution shaped the translation of “World Classics” into modern Turkish in line with a strong commitment to the ideals of humanism and secularism.

Firat Oruc is Assistant Professor of World Literature at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He received his Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University in 2010. His teaching specialties include contemporary global literature, 20th century Anglophone writing, literatures of the Middle East, and world cinema. Before joining Georgetown-Qatar, he taught in the Comparative Literary Studies program at Northwestern University (2011-2013) and the departments of English and Comparative Literature at University of California, Los Angeles (2010-2011). His recent work has appeared in English Language Notes, Criticism and Postcolonial Text. He is currently working on two book projects: (1) Translation, national humanism and culture planning in Turkey from 1930-1970; (2) Arab-Turkish literary relations from the Nahda to the present.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Moderator: Firat Oruc, GU-Q

Re-telling Myth in Mexican, Turkish and Bengali Fiction
Ian Almond
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar


The research looks at parallel projects of modernity in the literatures of these three regions, seeing the re-telling of myth as one such aspect of the modern. It considers how myth is re-told, with an emphasis (for now) on Mexican literature, what kinds of myth are re-told, and why. Larger questions of what this means for our attempt to talk about a global modern – and whether a process of modernity can be discerned in very different cultural and historical contexts – will be addressed.

Ian Almond is Professor of World Literatures at Georgetown University-Qatar. He is the author of five books, most recently The Thought of Nirad C. Chaudhuri (Cambridge UP, 2015). He has spent most of his life outside the UK, and has lived in the Middle East for eight years. His work has been translated into nine languages.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Moderator: Mohammed Reza Pirbhai, GU-Q

Post-Cold War Middle Passage Remembrance: Rethinking the Triangular Trade through the Art of Edouard Duval Carrie
Peter Sutherland
Louisiana State University


After summarizing the latest project -- a large-scale ethno-graphy of the reconstruction of Middle Passage memory by a circum-Atlantic wave of post-Cold War creative remembrance --this talk focuses on one of the seven case-studies examined -- the curious afterlife of Haitian-born, "world-artist" Edouard Duval Carrié's modernist sculptures, which were reappropriated by the Supreme Chief of Vodun in Benin, West Africa, and repurposed as ‘traditional’ Vodun fetishes. The presentation will explain this remarkable example of repatriation as the culmination of a century-long circulation of African religious imagery in the opposite direction to the cycle of the Triangular Trade. By charting the spiritual geography of its various reuses by ethnographic museums and schools of modern art, the talk describes this trajectory of religious imagery out of Africa and back, via France, Cuba, and Haiti, as a previously unnoticed triangular counter-trade in art with a novel spatial history of the modern.

Peter Sutherland has a multi-disciplinary training: in architecture at the Architectural Association in London, ethnomusicology (M.A. at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), photography (B.A. at Polytechnic of Central London), and cultural anthropology (D.Phil. at University of Oxford). After ten years work as an architect in London, which was interrupted by several research trips to India to study classical music and vernacular architecture, he made a mid-career switch to Cultural Anthropology to study the traveling gods of the Western Himalaya. Since marrying an American and gaining his D.Phil. at Oxford in 1998, he has taught Cultural Anthropology and International Studies at Louisiana State University, where he founded and directed the International Studies program in 1999.  Since coming to the USA, his ethnographic fieldwork has shifted location from India to the Black Atlantic, while maintaining a constant focus on religious forms of mobility and memory.    


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Moderator: Alexis Antoniades, GU-Q

Transition Enhanced Returns to Schooling through Improved Labor Markets: Vietnam 1998 – 2010
Zhaoyang Hou
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar

The paper behind this presentation is coauthored by Daniel Westbrook & Zhaoyang Hou, both of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.


Positive effects of schooling on a variety of outcomes provide incentives for investment in human capital. These incentives are particularly important in developing countries because education presents a route out of poverty for countries as well as for individuals. The quest to measure the impact of schooling on various economic outcomes has produced many fine papers. Several advances in econometrics have been directed at overcoming the challenge posed by the likely endogeneity of schooling in the regressions of interest. Lately, a number of empirical papers have examined changes in the payoffs to education as economic development or economic transition proceeds. One important maintained assumption in this work is that workers with various levels of education have access to labor markets sophisticated enough to provide good matches. Some papers use distance from the household to the nearest market, town, or city to measure market access but few focus on the nature of the labor market of interest.We exploit detailed data in a series of household living standards measurement surveys for Viet Nam to develop measures of local labor market intensity and sophistication; the latter is based on an index of job-type diversity. We also develop external instruments for schooling and topographic-based instruments to address the potential endogeneity of labor market intensity and sophistication.
We estimate the impact of schooling on wages, both at the mean and at various wage quantiles, during the course of Viet Nam’s economic transition. In an early version of this work the impact of schooling on real per-capita household consumption was found to be economically substantial, increasing over time, and powerfully enhanced by the degree of labor- market intensity.

Daniel Westbrook received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1978 and joined the faculty at Georgetown at that time. He joined the School of Foreign Service in Qatar in 2008. His current research interests focus on applied micro-econometrics in economic development and on Vietnam. Professor Westbrook regularly teaches micro-economic principles, international trade, economic development, globalization, economic statistics and econometrics.

Zhaoyang Hou is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Georgetown University SFS-Q. He earned his PhD degree in economics at the George Washington University. Prior to joining Georgetown University, Hou taught economics at the National University of Singapore. Hou’s research interests are in development economics, applied econometrics, and international economics. In particular, his research focuses on micro-economic development issues in China: rural poverty, inequality, returns to education, determinants of income and consumption, and how those outcomes are affected by openness and market development. One of his papers was recently published in The Review of Economics and Statistics.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Moderator: Rogaia AbuSharaf, GU-Q

Africa's digital revolution: techno anti-politics and valuing citizens’ voice 
Sharath Srinivasan
University of Cambridge


Voice and shared experiences of meaning-making are at the essence of our humanity and must be integrally valued. Through coming together and communicating via speech we create our common world. Voice also embodies our enduring capacity for dissent and new collective beginnings. Voice and recognition are thus essential to political life. Now, these capabilities are increasingly dependent on and beholden to the material infrastructures of digital information and communication technologies. Digital technologies create new affordances for diverse and plural voices in social and public life but also allow for modes of data aggregation, computational analysis and knowledge assembling that may stifle those voices. As the proportion of human communication that is not digitally mediated decreases, the rendering of diverse human expression in binary code comes to dominate. Data not rendered and incorporated in this way – analog, non-networked voices – are invariably devalued and made more silent. Scale efficiencies also operate, flattening and stifling the uniqueness and particularity of individual voices.

Dr Srinivasan’s talk asks provocatively whether the communications mediums of a digital society are essentially anti-political, even coercive, and, if so, how a defence of the political should value voices in the digital public realm. The talk has two parts. The first part elaborates how the digital has transformed communicative arenas of politics in structural and processural ways that paradoxically amplify opportunities for voice and yet easily devalue those voices. Drawing upon the political theory of Hannah Arendt, this part examines how speech and action are both enabled and disabled in digital public realms. Digital communication technologies disintermediate and reintermediate the ‘in-between’ space between people when they speak and act, in new and sometimes troubling ways. The second part of the talk focuses on empirical and applied work in Africa that Dr Srinivasan has conducted with colleagues to better value voices in all their plurality in emerging digital public realms across the continent. Recently, this research has led to the spin-out of a non-profit social enterprise, Africa’s Voices Foundation, which combines social and computer science expertise to gather, analyse and represent dynamic public opinion in radically different ways.

Sharath Srinivasan directs the University of Cambridge's Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR). He is also David and Elaine Potter Lecturer in Governance and Human Rights in the Department of Politics and International Studies and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. Initially trained in law in Australia, where he majored in human rights and public international law at the University of New South Wales, Srinivasan completed his MPhil and DPhil in Development Studies at Oxford University. At Oxford, he was a Chevening, ORS, Clarendon and ORISHA scholar and his research was supported by the Chr. Michelsen Institute (Norway).

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Moderator: Clyde Wilcox, GU-Q

The Party Decides: The Role of Party Insiders in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Nominations
Hans Noel
Georgetown University, Washington D.C.


Despite a system open to outsiders, U.S. parties tend to nominate loyal party insiders for president. The authors of the influential book The Party Decides argue that this is because party elites have ways of influencing the outcome to get their preferred candidates. Party elites provide resources to their choice and communicate their support to voters, and they have rarely lost in the last thirty years. The 2016 nomination race for the Democrats and especially for the Republicans appears especially open to outsiders. Hans Noel, one of the authors of The Party Decides, will discuss how and why insurgents might succeed in the invisible primary, and how party elites work to prevent them from winning the nomination.

Hans Noel is an Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University. His research is on political coalitions, political parties and ideology, with a focus on the United States. He is the author of Political Ideologies and Political Parties in America, and a co-author of The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform. He is interested in the way that a focus on competing policy demands helps explain political parties, coalition building and coordination. Noel blogs on political parties and related issues at Mischiefs of Faction:
Noel teaches on parties, elections, political history and political methodology, and he has lectured around the world on the American political system.
Noel was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan from 2008 to 2010. Before coming to Georgetown, Noel was a fellow in the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in 2006 from UCLA. From 1994 to 1997, Noel worked for a daily newspaper in Virginia. He is the co-director/co-producer of the award-winning feature film "The Rest of Your Life."
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Moderator: Hany Fazza, GU-Q

Post-Sufism in a Globalized World
Mark SedgwickAarhus
University, Denmark

Old distinctions between East and West, Muslim world and Europe and America are increasingly loosing their meaning. One consequence of this is that religious movements such as Sufism that were originally limited to the Muslim world have now become global. As Sufism has globalized, it has changed. Organization, doctrine, and practice have in some cases developed so much that a new term is needed: “Post-Sufism.” The lecture will discuss my current research into this phenomenon, looking at the current Post-Sufi scene, at the forms that Post-Sufism takes, and at what these may tell us about changes in global, Muslim and Western society.

Mark Sedgwick is a historian who specializes in Islam and, especially, Sufism. He has also worked on modernism. He has just completed Western Sufism: Origins and Development, 833-1968 (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2016) and his other books include Muhammad Abduh: A Biography (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2010) and Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004; Arabic translation forthcoming). He was educated at the universities of Oxford and Bergen, taught for twenty years at the American University in Cairo, and is now professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Moderator: Mongoljin Batsaikhan

Learning and Voting: Evidence from Indian Elections
Sulagna Mookerjee
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar


This paper investigates how the actions of early voters inform later voters' decisions to turn out and vote on polling day. The unique staggered nature of the Indian General Elections, where voting takes place in several different phases across the country, spanning several weeks, provides spatial variations in electoral dynamics. Exploiting the quasi-random assignment of different constituencies to different phases in each election, we assess the impact of average voter turnout in a given phase, on turnout in the subsequent phase. Endogeneity concerns arising from either correlated effects or homophily based channels, are dealt with by employing two distinct instrumental variables: 1) constituency specific average historical turnout in elections from the pre-staggered era, and 2) voter density as measured by the number of voters per polling location in a given constituency. Our estimates from both IVs show that a 1 percentage point (pp) increase in turnout in a given phase depresses turnout in the subsequent phase by 0.3-0.5 pp. Crucially, falsification tests, examining the effect on turnout in the current phase, of constituencies in the same phase or in future phases in the same election, produce no such effect. We further analyze the impact of ideological competition, and find that the data broadly support an ethical voter model, in which each agent acts as if setting an example for all and maximizing social welfare, by electing the `correct' party.

Sulagna Mookerjee is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Rochester in 2015. Her research fields are Applied Microeconomics and Development Economics. Her areas of study include women's status and household structure in South Asia, microenterprises, electoral behavior, and education.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Moderator: Harry Verhoeven, GU-Q

Piracy and Counter-Piracy in the Horn of Africa
Afyare Elmi
Qatar University


Piracy is an old phenomenon that has recently re-emerged on the world stage. In the past decade, piracy has been a concern for ships passing by the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Somalia. Since it threatens one of the world’s vital Sea Line of Communication, the international community has been pre-occupied with containing and eventually eradicating the piracy in the Horn of Africa. ​This lecture will discuss the origins, causes and consequences of the piracy phenomenon in the Horn of Africa. In particular, the talk will focus on assessing counter-piracy initiatives in the Horn.

Elmi teaches international politics at Qatar University’s International Affairs Department. He is the author of “Understanding the Somalia Conflagration: Identity, Political Islam and Peacebuilding”. His research interests include international security, state-building, conflict, identity and peacebuilding. Elmi has a BA in Public Administration from Ryerson University, an MA in Political Science from Brock University, a second MA in Education Policy from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in political science from the University of Alberta. Elmi has published articles in the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Edmonton Journal and Al-Jazeera Online.