Learning Globally

Students learn so much when they study abroad. Professors do as well. In May, Global Affairs Professor Johanna Bockman visited the Center for International and Transnational Area Studies (CITAS), which just opened at the University of Regensburg in Germany. CITAS invited Professor Bockman to give a keynote lecture at its first conference titled “Obsolete, Resilient, Resurgent. The Nation-State in a Globalized World” and to lead a graduate student workshop on neoliberalism. Professor Bockman said, “I brought discussions about critical globalization studies from Mason, and I brought back to Mason a new approach to globalization studies, the cutting-edge approach in Europe now.”


Professor Bockman’s lecture, “How the Global became National after 1989,” examined how Pan-African and Non-Aligned Movements combined nationalism and internationalism/globalization from the 1950s onwards. During these decades, the Second World (the former Soviet Bloc) and the Third World were much more global than the United States. After 1989, economists in the World Bank and other similar institutions misrepresented the countries in the socialist and Third Worlds as always isolated nation-states, which had to open up to the global economy. Paradoxically, this misrecognition undermined earlier forms of internationalism and globalization.


The CITAS conference more generally asked: How did the nation-state come to be seen as passé across many disciplines and regions? What political, economic, social and cultural consequences has teleological faith the nation-state’s obsolescence had? How has the nation-state been a crucial element of globalization rather than its antithesis? How are the global and transnational entangled in the current national resurgence? And how have the national, subnational and local proven both resilient in the face of globalization and also co-constitutive of the global world?

CITAS and other research institutions in Europe now are exploring what we might call trans-regional studies or inter-regional studies. Different research institutions there have taken this innovative field in various directions, which can be seen here: https://www.uni-regensburg.de/citas/area-studies-nuetzliche-links/index.html

CITAS has chosen to focus on both comparing regions (such as comparing the decline in ship-building industries in Southeastern and East Central Europe regions) and examining transnational connections across regions (such as Yugoslav companies working in African countries before 1989).

In her spring semester “Global Nationalisms” (GLOA 400) course, Professor Yasemin Ipek will examine questions similar to those in the CITAS conference. Keep an eye out for this course.

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