Newsletter GDS June-2019

As always, this past May was a month of transition for GDS.  The class of 2019 left with its share of stories: from the mischievous and norm-shattering to the impressively pre-professional, to the bridge-building and deeply “relational.”. Some stories were all of these things together.  We who are left behind will miss you all and will be ready to have you back to give us updates on your lives. Earlier classes, please welcome the new graduates now to the growing community of GDS alumni.   A few pictures of graduation can be found here: 

I hope graduates will add their own photos too.

This May, those of us who continue the work of GDS at UVA experienced three transitions.  First, Richard Handler is finally taking some time off.  He won’t be teaching over the 2019-20 academic year so that he can work on a new book. I have convinced him to offer guest lectures on some of his favorite subjects – Whorf and time, Lee and needs, DuBois (and himself) on nationalism.  We also have the brilliant and engaging Gabi Kruks-Wisner to teach GDS 3010 from within the intellectual traditions of the Politics Department. This was missing from our curriculum, and students last year were very impressed with and grateful for this new set of insights.  Still, there is no replacing Richard’s sustained effort to get students to see the world as an anthropologist would: as a more-or-less fluid tableau of ways of being and doing, with none more natural or inherently better than another, and ours (for white male Americans especially but not exclusively) often wreaking havoc on others through the practice of “global development.”  We will all have to work a little bit harder to generate these crucial discussions without him.  You can see some pictures of Richard at a “thank you” party here:

When Richard returns, he will no longer be Director of Global Studies.  This is another important transition.  He will remain as an “éminence grise,” offering advice to me and to other GS faculty and students.  Lucky for us, Phoebe Crisman, one of the founding members of Global Studies and the track director of our Environments/Sustainability track, will be taking over as GS Director. Phoebe shares our dual focus on critique and engagement, and who is an experienced administrator as well as a world-class architect and teacher, will be taking over as GS Director.   We’re excited to welcome her and see how she puts her own mark on GS and, by extension, on GDS.

Our last transition is to say goodbye to Dr. Sree Sathiamma. Sree came to us on a two-year contract, and we were fortunate enough to have her here for three years.  She taught courses on Women, Work and Women’s work, and on Social Movements that were very popular across Global Studies. She brought a theoretical depth and rigor to her classes that students appreciated very much.  She also drew on her extensive on-the-ground experience working with social movements in India to help students visualize the daily impacts of exploitation and oppression, and how people organize to fight back.  Her contributions will be sorely missed.

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