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Best of Global Studies


Didier Course

Professor of French 

Tel: 301-696-3478
Email: dcourse@hood.edu
Office: Tatem Arts Center, Room 210

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What brought you to Hood College?

During my first visit to Hood College, I was very impressed by the level of the students. Their level of French was excellent; they showed dynamism and a sense of involvement I was not used to seeing in a large university setting. Very soon, I realized that the same level of interaction and open mindedness excited between the various programs of the college. Being deeply interdisciplinary in my research and my teaching (literature, religious studies, art history), I was very impressed by the spirit of collegiality on the campus.

What Global and International Studies related courses do you teach?

I teach Introduction to Global Studies (GLBS 200), which is required for the major. This course gives students the opportunity to see how history, economics, political science, foreign languages and many other academic disciplines are all necessary to understanding current, complex global issues. In addition to GLBS 200, I also teach a large variety of French classes related to the language, the culture and the literature of France and Francophone cultures. Learning a language as well as the history and the various cultures in which it is spoken is obviously an essential part of becoming an educated and active member of a global community. As a professor of French and Francophone cultures, I dedicated my life to open new horizons for generation of students eager to understand the world with a diverse vision.

What attracted you to the field of global and international studies?

I arrived in the U.S as a foreign student working on y Ph.D. As such, I was amazed by the diversity of the country. It had a deep impact on me. I have always been an avid traveler and discovering the world is essential for me. I have traveled on all continents and experienced both the diversity but also the common ground of the human experience. I can’t imagine myself as a “one citizenship” person. Indeed, today, I have two nationalities and I live regularly in three countries, the US, France and Italy. My main field of research is by essence, global. I am a specialist of the writings of Jesuits who travelled all over Europe and also to Asia and North America. In order to fully appreciate their experiences, I have to understand the world, both in the context of the early modern times, but also in the consequences it has in the world of today.

Please describe three forces that are changing the world.

In the current situation of conflicts and economic challenges, the migrations of population is an event that can’t be ignored. As some see it as a threat, I see it as an opportunity to understand each other and to share knowledge and our common heritage as human beings. Indeed, as primarily a language instructor, I see the importance of knowing and using a foreign language in order to fully integrate information, cultures and people. Indeed, one of my most rewarding - and humbling- experience was to learn English as an adult (I spoke German and Italian, but my level of English was not good enough to function fully in American society); it opened a complete world in front of me. I think that linguistic diversity is an incredible opportunity in this changing world. Indeed, communication is a key issue in order to comprehend the world in all its complexity.

What are the three major global threats in your opinion?

I am very concerned that the current climate of tension, terrorism and international stress could find its way through extremism and the rejection of others in every part of the world. Indeed, the past years, we have seen some resurgence of past ideologies and acts of violence we hoped had disappeared for ever. Only through education, exchange of ideas and direct communication can we look forward a better world.

As a humanist, I am also very concerned by the disappearance of the unique cultural experience each country has to offer. I don’t want to be in Paris and feel that I am in New York or Tokyo. I don’t want to see a poor level of English replacing the riches of languages. This disturbing homogenization has a terrible effect on feeling part of a diverse world and fully integrate the value of being different. And again, the use of a foreign language has a great impact on this need for diversity in an open world. And finally I am very concerned about the growing disparity between the rich and the poor both within the parameter of our own western cultures but also on a global scale. While globalization could be a formidable push for the repartition of riches, it also could be seen as a dangerous economic trend. We have seen it happen through history and it has been the cause of wars, violence and revolutions. I hope that our future economy and politics will integrate as many people in a growing middle class though education and opportunities.

Please explain why we should care about events outside of the U.S.?

In the extremely close knit world of today, not a single country can wish to stand apart. In doing so, it would suffocate itself, economically, humanly, culturally. It is also the case for the US. Although one of the most powerful and diverse countries in the world, the choice of ignoring the rest of the planet, in its technological discoveries, cultural creativity and economic success but also in its ever growing threats and feuds would certainly mean a weakening of what makes America a land of opportunity, of diversity, of stability. In ignoring the world, the U.S would take the risk of being ignored and lose it role of moderator as well as one of the leading forces of the planet.

Could you describe your top three international experiences?

Traveling in La Réunion Island on the coast of Africa as a teenager; it was my first trip outside Europe. I had traveled to Germany and Italy before but nothing had prepared me for the 19 hour trip ahead of me in a plane, alone! I will always remember the sunset when I landed for a layover of 5 hours in Kenya. I was very young, but that day, I realized that I wanted to know more about the world.

Moving to the US as a young man; I was 24 and ready to experience graduate life in the US. My plane was delayed (of course!) and I missed my connection in New York City. Exhausted, with a very weak level of English, I managed to get some (very basic!) food and a hotel room for the night. Past the first experience of stress and helplessness, I decided to take advantage of the few hours I had before going back to my final destination in the Midwest: I went to Manhattan. It was my first experience in America and I loved it.

Four years ago, I was invited to participate in a very prestigious seminar in Rome at the American Academy in order to share my research. The group of scholars was outstanding, the setting magnificent, but what I will always remember of these 6 weeks of stimulating intellectual exchanges will be the walk from my apartment to the Academy. Every morning and every evening, I walked through the ruins of the Antique forum, the palaces of the Renaissance and the market of the Campo dei fiori. History, beauty and a deep feeling of belonging were my gifts, every day!

Name three books in global studies that you recommend everyone read.

Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies (1999)
Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red (2000), Istanbul-Memory and the City (2005)
Marguerite Yourcenar, The Memoirs of Hadrian ( 1951)

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Paige W. Eager

Professor of Political Science, Chair of the Department

Tel: 301-696-3699
Email: eager@hood.edu
Office: Tatem Arts Center, Room 121H
Office hours: By appointment

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What brought you to Hood College?

I always wanted to teach in a small, liberal arts college environment. I value the personal interactions with the students in this setting as well as the ability to get to know and work with faculty across academic disciplines. Often, those opportunities are more difficult to come by in a larger university setting. I was inspired by the teacher-scholar model that Hood College implements and emulates and was excited about the prospect of having the ability to create new courses in my area of specialization.

What Global and International Studies related courses do you teach?

I teach Introduction to Global Studies (GLBS 200), which is required for the major. This course gives students the opportunity to see how history, economics, political science, foreign languages and many other academic disciplines are all necessary to understanding current, complex global issues. In addition to GLBS 200, I also teach Introduction to International Relations, Politics of Developing Countries, Political Violence and Terrorism, and the Global Studies Senior Seminar (GLBS 470). Most of the courses I teach are under the “Global Governance and Conflict” thematic concentration within the Global Studies major.

What attracted you to the field of global and international studies?

As an undergraduate student, I was a double major in Communication Arts and Political Science. I took a class on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and I was hooked. I realized then how important it was to understand current conflicts and the potential for peaceful resolutions to them from multiple perspectives. In addition, I was an undergraduate student when the Rwandan genocide occurred in 1994. I had obviously studied the Holocaust, but I never thought that the world would stand by and watch another mass slaughter of people. I vowed to myself then that if I ever had the opportunity to be in a position to teach young people, I would make them aware that powerful leaders often do nothing in the times of immense suffering; however, everyday individuals at times remind us how great a capacity we also have for empathy, compassion, and forgiveness.

Please describe three forces that are changing the world.

The first force is social media for both good and ill. We cannot ignore the fact that terrorist organizations like al-Shabab in Somalia and the Islamic State have become very adept at harnessing the capacity of social media for recruitment and propaganda. On the other hand, social media has also played significant roles in events such as the Arab Awakening as well as hastening responses to both humanitarian and natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti. The second force changing the world is the youth bulge. A large percentage of our global population is under the age of thirty. These young adults will need to be sure that economic and education opportunities are available for them to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy. The third force changing the world is the rise of Asian powers, such as China and India. We need to remember that these countries together have over 2 billion people, and both possess nuclear weapons. China is a soft authoritarian regime, whereas India is a complex, albeit functioning democracy. Both countries are increasing their military spending and especially their naval presence. It will be interesting to see how traditional U.S. allies, such as South Korea and Japan, respond to these developments.

What are the three major global threats in your opinion?

Three major global threats are global pandemics, a growing global middle class, which is good and bad at the same time, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Please explain why we should care about events outside of the U.S.?

I get this question a lot in my courses. I think that it is impossible in this day and age not to be informed about what is happening around the world. We have to help students understand that complex events such as the global economic crisis a few years ago have real implications for them and their families such as the interest rates on student loans and whether their parents’ mortgages will be ‘underwater.’ Conflict in other places around the world may seem distant and not pertinent to our students, but cultivating the capacity to realize that many people around the world with different religious traditions, cultures, and even political systems are all mostly trying to achieve relative stability for their families through education, jobs, and a decent living environment.

Could you describe your top three international experiences?

Visiting Europe with my husband and seeing the small street in the former West Germany where he was born; being in the United Kingdom during the 2004 U.S. presidential elections with everyone asking us who we were going to vote for; and visiting Winnipeg, Canada in the dead of winter to give a lecture on female suicide bombers of all topics.

Name three books in global studies that you recommend everyone read.

The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us about Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert Kaplan.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity by Nicholas Kristof and Cheryl WuDunn

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Jay Harrison

Assistant Professor of History

Tel: 301-696-3268
Email: harrison@hood.edu
Office: Rosenstock Hall, Room 103

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What brought you to Hood College?

My first interaction with Hood College was in 2008 as an adjunct history instructor. That experience working with Hood students in smaller classes than my previous teaching posts convinced me to return when offered a full time position in 2015. I find that Hood students are engaged learners and the campus community is supportive of a wide range of inquiries, both international and more local. Knowing Frederick since 2001, my family and I were glad to return when we could do so.

What Global and International Studies related courses do you teach?

I teach Latin American cultural history (HSLS 330) and world history (HIST 262 & 263). As a specialist in the pre-modern world, I work with students on non-Western topics related to cultural studies, especially interactions between indigenous peoples and the many groups of colonizers who appear throughout history.

What attracted you to the field of global and international studies?

I was drawn to international affairs and especially Latin American history and cultures as a high schooler and did my undergraduate work in a Latin American studies program in the 1990s. My work in the years since have been a mix of business experience and academic work, and some of that has required me to travel abroad. I’ve developed interests in additional areas through these experiences outside the U.S.

Please describe three forces that are changing the world.

Global migrations are a major force of change whether in Europe and Asia or closer to home in the Americas. The growth of global corporations and the influence these companies have on markets is closely tied to migration patterns. As warfare changes in this post-modern world, communications advances fuel new conflicts and methods of both perpetrating and preventing conflicts, and the rise of perpetual terrorism across regions is rapidly altering the viewpoints of many peoples around the globe.

What are the three major global threats in your opinion?

Globalized networks of trade, terrorism, and mutual aid have intertwined to make the world a much more volatile place than before. One enormous threat is the persistence in the poverty of many regions of the world and great disparities between enclaves of richer, powerful persons. With a vast population of youth worldwide, these factors present a massive challenge to developing nations and the older, developed nations to provide for human life around the world.

Please explain why we should care about events outside of the U.S.?

Today’s world is inter-dependent beyond most persons’ conceptions. Markets, migrations, armed conflicts, and scarce resources influence our daily lives in ways that become clear with study but that are not always obvious. Watching events outside the U.S. allows us to know our neighbors better in this nation of immigrants while we can learn from the experiences of others to better govern ourselves. Markets abroad influence purchasing at home; conflicts and peace negotiations either cause or staunch the flow of migrant refugees, many of who might like to make a home in North America if no other option presents itself. Global awareness fosters a more balanced view of the human condition, and that is key to making better decisions as citizens of an emerging global society in the information age.

Could you describe your top three international experiences?

Much of my research happens in Mexico, where I’ve lived short term in Mexico City, Guadalajara, the Bajío (Mexico’s farming heartland), and Zacatecas. All of those places provided fascinating interactions with local people and research in dusty, colonial archives. As a business person I worked in London from time to time, once with an office just up the road from Piccadilly Circus and a hectic commute through the ‘tube’, the London Underground, where often one travels without touching the floor at the height of the morning rush to work. More recently I joined a group of scholars on the old Muslim-Christian frontier of medieval Spain in the province of Ciudad Real where, after a conference on frontiers and conflicts throughout the Spanish-speaking world over Spain’s long imperial history, we toured a former Crusader castle and convent where one could easily recreate the feeling of staring over an armed border in the thirteenth century.

Name three books in global studies that you recommend everyone read.

Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration
Samuel Truett and Elliott Young, eds., Continental Crossroads: Remapping the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History
J.H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World

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Scott Pincikowski

 Professor of German

Tel: 301-696-3475
Email: pincikowski@hood.edu
Office: Tatem, Room 220

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What brought you to Hood College?

After receiving my academic training at large state universities, I was attracted to Hood College for its small size and commitment to the Liberal Arts. Unlike at larger universities, where big classes sizes often reduce students to a number, the small class sizes at Hood allows me to get to know my students really well and provide them with a lot of one-on-one attention. I also saw the opportunity at Hood to work across disciplines with other faculty, create new courses, and build a German program.

What Global and International Studies related courses do you teach?

I mainly teach German language and literature courses. I feel that language is one of the most important ways that we can connect with other cultures. When you learn a foreign language you learn to see the world through the eyes of the culture you are studying, while seeing your own culture in the global context and in a new and critical light. I have also co-taught Introduction to Global Studies (GLBS 200), which is required for the major.

What attracted you to the field of global and international studies?

Travelling abroad really attracted me to international studies. I spent a month in Germany as a high school senior and realized that I not only wanted to become fluent in German, but also understand the complexities of the world around me. I was also impressed by how the Germans I met really wanted to know about the United States and how they loved to discuss and debate world events. As a result of this formative experience, I decided to double major in German and International Studies when entering college.

Please describe three forces that are changing the world.

1. Global warming is changing our world. Some countries are reacting more quickly and effectively than others, transforming their fuel sources to renewable energy. Until this issue is dealt with on a global scale, however, problems like hunger, drought, wild fires, etc. will only worsen; 2. Speaking as an expert in German Studies, migration is changing the face of Germany and Europe. I see this as a great opportunity for Europe to reinvent itself, integrating Muslims into secular European societies. As a historical linguist, I am fascinated by how European languages will change over time because of the influx of Arabic speakers who will learn and shape, for instance, the German language. How the world handles migration is a pressing issue, one with which the U.S. itself has been greatly struggling; 3. New technologies connected to the digital revolution are changing our world, accelerating the processes of globalization, disseminating information and misinformation more quickly, and connecting people across the globe in new and profound ways.

What are the three major global threats in your opinion?

There are many global threats, but if I have to choose three, I would the world’s and in a great part, the United States’ addiction to fossil fuels, the growing international military arms industry, and the growing divide between East and West, Muslim and Christian societies because of terrorism and the threat of the terrorism.

Please explain why we should care about events outside of the U.S.?

Living in an age of globalization, we have the moral obligation to care for events outside of the United States. Given new media, it is so much easier to access news from abroad, helping us to see how events outside of the U.S. not only impact our lives and economy, but also how these events sometimes were triggered by U.S. foreign policy.

Could you describe your top three international experiences?

I experienced zeitgeist firsthand during my junior year abroad in Freiburg, Germany in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. I was taking an East German Literature Course and the professor told all of us to go to Berlin. It was incredibly exciting time to be in Germany as the Cold War was coming to an end and Germany was reuniting. I realized at this time how interconnected the world really is and how we are all impacted by events abroad; 2. I was the Fulbright Visiting Professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Innsbruck in spring 2014. I taught two seminars on medieval German literature, one exploring pain the Middle Ages and the other exploring medieval concepts of memory. My wife and I lived in a small farming village on the outside of Innsbruck and immersed ourselves in Austrian culture and language, learning that they are fascinating and much different from German culture and language; 3. Travelling to Egypt and Morocco was eye-opening for me. I had never been to a non-Western country before. I fell in love with the sights and sounds of the bazaar and medina, and was really impressed with how friendly people were.

Name three books in global studies that you recommend everyone read.

Valdimer Kaminer’s Russendisco/Russian Disco (2002) is a humorous autobiographical account of Valdimer’s misadventures as an immigrant Jew from Russia in Berlin of the 1990s.

Magaret Atwood’s Maddaddam Triology (2003, 2005, 2013) is a portrayal of dark and possible future for our earth because of human-made plagues, floods, genetic engineering, and global warming.

Duke Ernst is a travel narrative written anonymously in the twelfth century that tells of Ernst’s adventures in a Middle East populated by exotic humanoids such as giants, stork people, and giant-eared people.

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Donald Wright

Associate Professor of French and Arabic, Director of Middle Eastern Studies

Tel: 301-696-3890
Email: wright@hood.edu
Office: Hodson Library, Room 1015

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What brought you to Hood College?

What brought me to Hood College was a series of serendipitous, yet quite fortunate, events. I have taught students of very diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities and ages in many places in the world. I was first hired to teach Arabic here at Hood College; this was the first time Hood had offered Arabic among its foreign language requirements and it was an immediate success. The interest in the language has been growing ever since. What I truly love about teaching at Hood is the diverse nature of its faculty and student body and how inclusive different groups are of others. I have been welcomed warmly on many occasions to the Muslim Student Association and have enjoyed in celebrating Hindu holidays with my colleagues. Perhaps of all of the international teaching experiences I have had, this is probably the most diverse in that I am able to meet people from all over the world with different beliefs, ideas and cultures and feel as we all belong.

What Global and International Studies related courses do you teach?

I teach MEST 300, a course on the cultures of the Middle East. This course acquaints students with a part of the world that was first defined by Western think tanks, but that has changed to become an unavoidable part of any global discussion today. MEST 300 is the only course at Hood to deal exclusively with the history and culture of the Middle East, one of the most talked about regions of the world today. What is interesting is that although the Middle East was a Western invention thought up by politicians, the people of the region in their own language are conscious of living in a place so named by Europeans. I also teach a course on the creation of cultural and national identity in North Africa, a region closely related to the Middle East, yet very different indeed. I also teach courses on contemporary French thought and, of course, the Arabic and French languages, which are the prime definers of culture.

What attracted you to the field of global and international studies?

Even as a child I enjoyed the lore of faraway places, different from the place I grew up. This passion for discovering new places and cultures and, most importantly, meeting new and diverse peoples. I have traveled to over 25 countries and always make it a point to learn at least basic greetings of the region. It always amazes me how much can be exchanged between people with so little. I teach about and work in regions that are very sensitive to some; this makes me question how we gather information as a culture about other places in the world. Perhaps what students learn most in my classes is that 99% of the people in the world want to provide for their basic needs, have a family and feel loved, no matter how poor or what religion or ideological background they come from. Even though we talk a lot about terrorism in the world today and how terrorists have changed our post 9/11 world, they are actually a very small minority group among us. In fact, 99% of the people of the world are not so different from you or me.

Please describe three forces that are changing the world.

The first force that is changing the world is the population explosion. As much as the average age in Western countries is rising steadily with an aging baby boom population, much of the world’s population is young. This can be seen with the uprisings of the Arab spring. As I tell students, if you want to have a revolution, you need young people who have the energy to go out and revolt. This is also having an effect on the aging European population as well as many people are leaving the Middle East and North Africa hoping to start a new life there. These are again young people who have the stamina to do it. This ties into the second force changing the world today, a general loss in confidence in political structures. This is happening all over the world. This is why people in the Middle East are revolting, but reflected in a general apathy toward and distrust of Western leaders as well. Today there is a general feeling all over the world that if it’s not worthy of Facebook, it’s not interesting politics. It will be interesting to see how young generations, even those here is America, will find meaning and relevance in a future of fragmented, sensational information. The last force changing the world is climate change, and even if we are not talking about the change itself, whether it is happening or not, the very concept is politicizing people all over the globe and behind strong opinions and legislature of so many politicians and individuals.

What are the three major global threats in your opinion?

The first great threat in my opinion is industrialized farming. Although I have travelled extensively in my life and lived in many different places, I actually grew up on a farm not too far from here in Pennsylvania, so I have seen how the lives of American farmers have gotten more and more difficult over the past few decades. This scenario has been repeated all over the globe. This is both good and bad, for without industrialized farming we would not be able feed the earth’s vast population today. However, it also means that the financial and political power lies with corporations and no longer with individual farmers, who, at least in the history of America, are the very basis of our collective identity. It also means a waning biodiversity and the industrialized slaughtering of animals.

The second greatest threat is climate change, and it ties into the third greatest threat: migrant refugee populations. Whether we want to see it or not, the earth is changing, even if it is arguably not at the level of the climate we are talking, it is as far as pollution. The migrant crisis that has led to people streaming out of the Middle East and North Africa certainly has its origins in political instability. However, the fact that the region has a very fragile ecosystem cannot be overlooked. Even in biblical times man had already altered the regions ecosystem to a point of no return through deforestation. As the population grows, it means there are more people fighting for diminishing resources. Let’s face it, oil is great: you can have a rich oil economy; it allows us to sustain the high-tech society we live in today, but you can’t drink it. European nations are already preparing for a future when some 600 million people will lose their homeland because of climate change. Unfortunately, a large majority of the people who will be migrants will come from cultures not directly responsible for the pollution that causes climate change in the first place. Where will they go? What will they become? Will their languages and cultures disappear forever if assimilated into other populations?

Please explain why we should care about events outside of the U.S.?

Is this really a question? Why would you not want to know what happens outside of the U.S.? How could you understand what happens in the U.S. without understanding its global implications? How could we understand the reason for seemingly domestic policies without understanding how they are a reaction to something external? I don’t think we can say any one country lives alone in a state of isolation. It is important for students to understand the relationship between different nations and cultures in order to completely understand our own.

Could you describe your top three international experiences?

Sunrise in the Sahara after a sleepless night on the sand. The sun makes its presence known long before it actually appears above the horizon. It is the stuff gods are made of.

A Sunday night in December in Paris. The fog was so thick you couldn’t see two feet in front of you. I remember walking by the cathedral of Notre Dame and you could only make out a faint orange glow of electric lights through the haze. It reminded me of a short story by Marcel Schwob, Katherine la dentellière, about a poor woman in the Middle Ages who tries to rise above poverty but can’t. She ends up working as a prostitute in a cemetery where a man ends up slitting her throat and steals her money. Countless people have probably spent long, cold nights in that fog, and still do.

A small secluded beach in southern Turkey. Pebbles, cold turquoise water of the Mediterranean, that sun of the Middle East that also rises over the Sahara. I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. I am also an avid swimmer and I go there often. It’s a place that is a part of me. Not too far West of there is where Aylan Kurdi, the three year old Syrian boy, drowned and was found dead on the beach. Paradise for some is another’s Hell. It is sometimes overwhelming to think of all of the people who have swum in those waters: Hittites, Greeks, Syrians, Turks, Armenians. In fact, my experiences are not at all unique, but only have meaning as a minute part of the human experience, like a grain of sand in the desert. All of my experiences anchor me in the interconnectedness of life through time and space.

Name three books in global studies that you recommend everyone read.

Empires of the World: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler.
Raw Histories: Photos, Man and Museums by Elizabeth Edwards.
Marcel Schwob, Vies imaginaires

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Maria G. Zuffi

Professor of Spanish and Director, Latin American Studies

Tel: 301-696-3472
Email: gzuffi@hood.edu
Office: Tatem Arts Center, Room 212

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What brought you to Hood College?

I was coming from a large university with a very homogeneous environment and I knew I needed a diverse community to work in. When I came to Hood I was impressed with the diverse makeup of the student body. Many Latino, African-American, Middle Eastern,and Asian students interacted and enriched classroom discussion with different perspectives.

One of the things that also attracted me to Hood as a small liberal arts college was its commitment to teaching and scholarship. Since my arrival, I pursued my research interests, engaged my students in the field and brought back to the community what I am passionate about.

What Global and International Studies related courses do you teach?

I was one of the faculty to co-teach the Global Studies 200 in its initial stage. Currently, I teach Latin American thought, literature and culture and all levels of Spanish.

What attracted you to the field of global and international studies?

Perhaps my personal experience. I grew up in the United States and Argentina and had to struggle with the language and cultural differences both north and south. Later in life and in my career I shifted from language to places with a certain amount of ease with the unfamiliar. In fact, the unfamiliar is what attracted me to the study of languages, feeling “unheimlich”, losing that safe ground of home.

I studied translation and English at the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires, and pursued a doctorate in Latin American literature at the Univeristy of Pittsburgh. This cross-over I believe defines my search for knowledge. Understanding the importance of global in the local and specific cultural, historic and social dynamics so that the meaning does not get lost into myth, magic or stereotype in any given area of study. I entered into the field of Latin American Studies to better understand the causes that lead to dictatorship in the seventies and eighties in the Southern Cone and how many years later memory of the atrocities became an essential role in trials against human rights abuses in recent decades.

Please describe three forces that are changing the world.

Realignments of power in a global economy, creating a major gap between the wealthy and the poor.
Social media as a new form of revolution and change, bringing more awareness to a young generation.
Global warming and natural disasters.

What are the three major global threats in your opinion?

The displacement of peoples throughout several regions of the world. This devastating migratory pattern has brought back old forms of nationalisms and construction of walls mainly in Europe, but also in the US.
The post 9/11 war on terrorism. The language of war, enemies, evil, weapons of mass destruction, barbaric, etc. brings to the fore fear amongst people and tightens national security.
The fragile state of democracies in the West

Please explain why we should care about events outside the US?

It seems to me that what is wrong is the idea of “outside.” I like to think of borders as a porous skin or as Gloria Anzaldúa named the US Mexican border: “This is her home/this thin edge of/barbwire.” Translators, writers, politicians, builders of meaning, from the colonizer to the colonized have made up our modern nation states. In the case of Latin America it is clear what forces set out to construct the “civilized.” Ruins of the indigenous communities are in sight and it is quite obvious that Spanish and Portuguese have succeeded as the languages of law and city building throughout the continent.

Students have asked me “why didn’t I know what was happening in Argentina, Chile or El Salvador.” As citizens, we know how little or distorted information can be given in the media. The Western societies seem to sustain that barbarism exists elsewhere. However, we should remember that places like Guantanamo, a “grey zone” that operates as a camp, where prisoners are held without due process, and deprived of legal rights exists under our law. In public discourse, the prison camp is construed as “foreign” to our belief system but, in fact, it very much part of our own policies.

Could you describe your top three international experiences?

I had just arrived from Argentina in Hartford, Connecticut and I was looking for a place where I could buy an Argentine tea known as “yerba mate.” “Yerba” in slang is “weed.” When I stopped two Puerto Rican young ladies and asked where I could buy yerba, they looked at each other and one responded, “the white lady wants to get some weed.” I realized for the first time that to be Latina in the U.S. meant two things: that language shifts in time and space and that Spanish is a mark of racial identity.

Travelling to places far from my own upbringing, embracing some kind of anthropological journey where I can relate to others in the hopes of losing myself. Istanbul, Jerusalem, Tangier and Fez are still vivid in my memory. I was walking the streets of Tangier one afternoon and heard the call for prayer from the mosques. Inside a shopping center, with all shops closed, I saw men kneeling in sign of reverence as if the sounds and movements outside had come to a halt. Women in the sidewalk stopped and lifted the Coran to pray. I felt the presence and mystery of the divine without the altar, the image of the cross and the candles. So similar and yet different.

In Buenos Aires, it is quite an experience to hop on a public bus or metro at peak hour. It’s the law of the survivor. You push until you find your way to get on as much as the other fellow passengers. When I went to Mexico, D.F, for the first time, I took the metro in the early morning rush hour. I was getting ready to hackle and grab, but found people waiting in line so organized and polite that I just observed and wondered, this is a metro station of a city of over 20,000.000? It was. And no one attempted to cut in till all were out of the train and those who were older or ladies (as in my case) were given the courteous sign to go first.

Name three books in global studies that you recommend everyone read.

Nestor Garcia Canclini. Hybrid Cultures. Entering and Leaving Modernity. 1985
Tzvetan Todorov. Hope and Memory. Reflections on the XXth Century. 2003
José María Arguedas. Deep Rivers. 1958 (a novel)

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