Jumping Scales: Studying and writing about
The Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU is offering a
three-day dissertation workshop titled "Jumping Scales:
Studying and Writing about Transational Processes." It is open
to students of all disciplines who are writing their Ph.D.
dissertations on transnational issues. The workshop will be
held on May 10-12.
Location: Institute for Public Knowledge, New York, USA
Workshop Date: May 10-12, 2010
Deadline for Application (details below): February 28, 2010
This workshop is organized and directed by Sally Merry and
Nicolas Guilhot (full bios below).
Some of the most important topics of our time are also the
fuzziest objects when it comes to study them: human rights,
global governance, humanitarianism, development, transnational
networks, processes of global intellectual or institutional
diffusion. If you are currently writing your Ph.D. dissertation
on similar topics, you may have spent a lot of time wondering
about substantial as well as methodological issues, no matter
what your core discipline is. How does one write about a
"global" object? What's the proper way of handling it? From
which side do you hold it – the thick description of the local
or the wide but maybe thin expanse of the global? How should
one relate the description of situated empirical material to
the consideration of international or transnational issues?
How does one track the global diffusion of a set of ideas or
Most of the disciplinary toolboxes turn out to be ill-equipped
when the moment comes to "jump scales" from the local to the
global level: sociology, anthropology, law or political science
each provide some insights, but hardly a method. Or maybe they
have developed an international perspective so late in their
historical development and have remained so tethered to a
national framework that they have created an artificial gap
between the so-called local and the so-called global. Maybe
there are no scales to jump, after all.
Jumping scales is an intensive three-day workshop organized by
the Institute for Public Knowledge to help dissertating
students escape their isolation and share both their work and
the problems they encounter. Each student will have the
opportunity to discuss his or her project with the other
students and with two instructors, who will facilitate
discussion and offer comments. The objective of the workshop
is to help students connect their own work to wider debates –
both around their topics and around methodological issues. The
workshop is student-centered and allows for the in-depth
discussion of each project, as well as general discussions.
Sally Engle Merry is Professor of Anthropology and Director of
the Law and Society Program at New York University. Her recent
books include Colonizing Hawai'i: The Cultural Power of Law
(Princeton University Press, 2000), Human Rights and Gender
Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice
(University of Chicago Press, 2006), and The Practice of Human
Rights: Tracking Law between the Local and the Global (co-edited
with Mark Goodale; Cambridge University Press, 2007). She is
past president of the Law and Society Association and the
Association for Political and Legal Anthropology and a member
of the Executive Board of the American Anthropological
Association and of the Law and Society Association. The Law and
Society Association awarded her the Hurst Prize for Colonizing
Hawai'i in 2002 and the Kalven Prize for overall scholarly
contributions to sociolegal scholarship in 2007.
Nicolas Guilhot is a senior researcher at the CNRS. His
research focuses on the history of international relations
theory, and on the role of philanthropy in the development of
the social sciences. Guilhot has taught in the department of
sociology and the Center for the Study of Human Rights at the
London School of Economics, and at Columbia University. He
earned his doctorate from the European University Institute in
Florence in 2001. His recent publications include The Democracy
Makers: Human Rights and the Politics of Global Order
(Columbia University Press, 2005) and a forthcoming volume on
international relations theory at Columbia University Press.
He is also executive editor of Humanity: An International
Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, a
new journal published by the University of Pennsylvania press
starting in Fall 2010.
Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of
Globalization, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1996,
Pierre Bourdieu, "The Social Conditions of the International
Circulation of Ideas," in Richard Shusterman (ed.), Bourdieu:
A Critical Readers, Oxford, Blackwell, 1999, p. 220-228.
Yves Dezalay & Bryan Garth, The internationalization of palace
wars: lawyers, economists, and the contest to transform Latin
American states, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 2002,
p. 3-16, 32-58
Margaret Keck & Kathryn Sikkink, Activists beyond borders:
advocacy networks in international politics, Ithaca, Cornell
University Press, 1998, Introduction, p. 1-39.
Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to
Actor-Network Theory, Oxford University Press, 2005,
Introduction + p. 173-190.
George Marcus, "Ethnography in/of the World System: The
Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography," in Ethnography through
thick and thin, Princeton University Press, 1998, p. 79-104.
To apply, please provide a brief statement (1 page) of your
proposed research. Please also include a one-paragraph bio
describing your educational background and academic work, your
contact information, and anything you think is relevant about
your research profile.
Workshop participants will be selected on the basis of their
research projects and the possibility for meaningful exchanges
among other participants. Please submit proposals and bios to
February 28, 2010.