Past Working Groups

In the past the Center has offered financial support for interdisciplinary projects to a variety of working groups including those examining:

Global Innovation in Science and Technology

About

The mission of the proposed Working Group on Global Innovation in Science and Technology (GIST) was to investigate and compare how different countries are investing in and measuring innovation in science and technology. Locations for specific study focused on countries that are at different stages of development: China, which has emerged as a major player in science and technology (S&T) and has the world’s second largest economy; Korea, which has invested heavily in S&T and is poised to become a leader in green innovation; and Brazil, which has the goal of becoming the innovation leader in South America, and looking to become a leader in energy innovation.

Group contact was Connie McNeely.

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Global Relations of Emerging Powers

About

The past decade has witnessed the phenomenal rise to global prominence of countries such as China, India, and Brazil. While clearly driven by the economic dynamism exhibited by these “emerging powers,” this phenomenon is by no means confined to the realm of global trade and commerce. Emerging powers have been asserting themselves in the diplomatic arena through new great power conglomerations such as the G20 and have also been pursuing various “soft power strategies” centered on cultural projection and new development aid practices. The Global Relations of Emerging Powers Working Group brought together faculty from multiple schools and departments with the goal of cultivating a culture of multidisciplinary scholarship around emerging powers and their global relations.

Group contact was Peter Mandaville

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Globalization and Infectious Disease

About

The Globalization and Infectious Disease working group brought together scholars from epidemiology, geography, global and community health, international affairs, nursing, public health and other academic programs to address the complex determinants and the societal impacts of infectious disease. These issues included the widespread impacts of disease burden in the developing world and emerging concerns about global public health security. The core working group was a springboard for scholarship that advanced the excellence, visibility, and integration of George Mason University’s public health and globalization programs, and promoted interdisciplinary research on these important topics across the campus.

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Globalization and Society in India

About

The Globalization & Society in India Working Group fostered intellectual exchanges and academic discussions among scholars interested in issues related to globalization and India, both from within and outside of George Mason University. Its goal was to produce empirical research, contributing and engaging in current debates about the globalization processes that take shape in and are shaping India. The group organized myriad activities, such as guest speakers, publications, panel discussions, workshops, and film screenings. Key interests included questions of identity and personhood in post-liberalization India, restructured work spaces and relationships, visual imagery of a burgeoning consumer society, and a critical inquiry into the rhetoric of emancipation in India’s globalization process.

Group contact was Supriya Baily.

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Inequity, Exclusion, and Development:
Prospects for the Middle East and Other Developing Countries

About

In the 1980s, the dominant approach to the political economy of development emphasized growth and its presumed policy correlates (austerity measures, trade liberalization, privatization, etc.). The logic of this “Washington Consensus” was that long-term economic growth would offset the short-term social and political costs of these policies through a trickle-down effect. Yet as reform programs faltered and polarization and income disparity increased dramatically in various developing countries, these theories gradually came under new scrutiny, both by long-time detractors and proponents of growth. In recent years, fieldwork in the field of development has grown, providing data that demonstrated the importance of equity for sustained development. This working group engaged in research on the proposed topic, with the aim of developing research papers that made a contribution to the debate based primarily, but not exclusively, on Middle Eastern cases.

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Music of the Americas

About

The Working Group on Music of the Americas brought together GMU faculty and graduate students from several different disciplines with a common research interest in popular music. The working group proposed to move the transnational from the margins to the center. Through a series of panels and workshops, the Music of the Americas working group endeavored to advance interdisciplinary research into the hemispheric flow of musical ideas, sounds, practices, and preferences. The group included musical performance in their events in order to bring together realms of musical experience and ways of thinking about musical inquiry that have traditionally been kept separate.

Group contact was Matt Karush.

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Social Theory & Globalization

About

The Social Theory and Globalization working group served as a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship in order to analyze the evolution of social change in light of globalizing processes in societies around the world. Of special interest for the group were conceptual vectors that help explain contemporary transformations of global, social and political orders. This new global configuration has ramifications on theory debates including, for instance, development, nationalism, neoliberalism, social movements, and urbanism. Through discussion panels, reading groups, seminars, conferences and other public events, this group promoted research that focused on the theoretical underpinnings of newly rising global social phenomena as a result of burgeoning transnational structures and their influence on local, national and regional communities. The group’s work also addressed the interdependence of states and other international actors, such as multinational corporations, non-profit organizations and grassroots movements, and their sociopolitical consequences for society, using a multi-dimensional and critical perspective.

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Welfare State in Times of Crisis

About

The Welfare State in Times of Crisis Working Group investigated the complex challenges faced by welfare states in the post-2008 era, exploring and comparing political and economic responses to tackle the tensions between the fiscal constraints faced by governments, on the one hand, and the need for policies that promote peoples’ well being on the other hand. The group addressed a key question—”What are the future prospects of the welfare state?” The group did not limit its work to advanced industrial democracies, but also studied the global implications of challenges to the welfare state.

Group contact was Mariely Lopez-Santana

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Cities and Globalization

About

The mission of the Cities & Globalization Working Group was to provide a space for faculty and graduate students from a variety of disciplines and approaches across George Mason University to share work, comment on writing projects, and build consciousness around urban issues and urban research in global and transnational contexts. The group created a dynamic environment where Mason scholars and graduate students came together, both to enrich our own work and thinking, and work to bring global urban studies to a wider audience. The Cities and Globalization Working Group co-sponsored the CGS Annual Conference in Spring 2014: Cities at the Center of the World.

Group contact was Tony Samara.

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Global Complexity and Ethical Education

About

Virtually every country in the world is currently trying to “reform” its formal education system to become more efficient (variously measured) and more effective (variously defined) and to take advantage of new opportunities and demands, both domestic and global. At the same time, the technology and infrastructure of education delivery are changing rapidly and thus providing a wider array of approaches to education. Not surprisingly, debates over the directions of reform and the very aims of education itself are contentious and highly varied. Among the heterogeneous challenges to the status quo within the education field are increasing calls for educators to broaden their purview and prepare learners not only to enter a “global workforce” but also to live ethically within an increasingly complex international context. This Working Group investigated emerging research on the changes in educational practice and purpose amidst such global complexity and examined opportunities for pedagogical innovation that supports informed ethical engagement.

Group contacts are Arthur Romano and Susan Hirsch

 

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Globalization and Northeast Asia

About

Asia continues to rise despite the Great Recession but it has also become clear that Asian prosperity is ultimately tied to the health of the global economy. This working group sought to enhance George Mason University’s global studies research agenda by linking Northeast Asia to the global community through interdisciplinary studies of global issues, starting with two areas: disaster management and gender equality. Northeast Asia has seen a number of massive natural disasters such as the Wenchuan earthquake and the East Japan earthquake and tsunami. In today’s globalized world, the impact of these disasters hit not only the countries where they take place, but also neighboring countries and people on political, economic, social, and psychological levels. This project reveiwed the impact of these disasters from multiple aspects, identified lessons learned from these disasters about disaster management in Northeast Asia, and explored possible areas of improvement for future preparedness.

This working group will also studied the historical, political, economic, legal and cultural dimensions of the gender equality issue in Northeast Asia and examined the potential opportunities for and risks to gender equality posed by the rapid economic growth and the increasing use of technology and media in the region and the global community.

Group contact is Ming Wan

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Human Rights and Global Justice

group of Mason scholars has convened and expanded a working group to explore mutual interests related to transitional and transnational justice. These include, among others, a comparative approach to justice; a comparative assessment of the variety and varied success of transitional and transnational justice initiatives; the conceptual challenge of defining victims, perpetrators, impartial judges, and other actors in the post-conflict justice arena as well as defining key concepts, such as justice, accountability, healing, trans-nationalism, reparations, etc.

Since Fall 2007, members began to narrow their focus to explore existing and emergent institutions of accountability after mass atrocity. For the 2014-2015 academic year, the HRGJ Working Group is currently exploring new possible themes including education, social justice, art after atrocity and narratives. They intend to continue and deepen their conversation with the goal of developing a collaborative interdisciplinary approach to the role of justice after atrocity, which we will share with colleagues and students through public presentations and publication.

Group contact is Jo-Marie Burt (SPGIA)

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Global Research Methods

This working group facilitates a learning community aimed at filling this need. Formally launched in January 2014, GFRM attracts diverse scholars interested in mastering new methods and strengthening the quality of their research.

GFRM also aims at larger goals, beyond these valuable near-term benefits that accrue to individual scholars. First, its policy-relevant focus responds to funding trends that require scholars to justify the social relevance of proposed research. Second, it builds collegial relationships across disciplines and departments, thus laying a foundation for effective interdisciplinary team research.

This is a key response to the recognition that today’s research challenges require both depth and breadth of expertise to address increasingly complex problems in our globalized world. These goals strongly support Mason’s strategic vision.

Working Group PI: Janine Wedel (SPGIA)

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