Global Citizenship and Mobility—But For Whom?

Submitted by Suzanne St Peter on
Photo by Deenpreet Dhaliwal

This year has been an exciting and challenging one for CHID’s study abroad programs. Early Fall 2015 saw the renewal of our Exploration Seminars (Romania & Georgia, Amsterdam, and New York City), an innovation first developed in CHID and now run across the university. Our students and faculty program directors continue to travel far and wide, trying to learn individually and collectively about how they are positioned in the world.

But, as the events of the last year have made increasingly clear—especially through the migration crises of the Middle East and Mediterranean—“mobility” is a rather ambiguous cousin to the easy flows of globalization. What are the conditions under which different people can or must move, or are prevented from moving? We must no longer imagine—if we ever could—that global events will stay “there,” or vice versa.

Many of our programs, old and new, are taking up these issues directly. We’ve developed some incredible new programs, including Erin Clowes’s Island Migrations, Health, and Social Justice in the Mediterranean in Sardinia. Anu Taranath, our veteran Bangalore program director—and the recipient of a 2016 Fulbright-Hayes fellowship for study abroad faculty development in Senegal—will lead an innovative new program to Mexico City on LGBTQ Communities and Change, comparing activist communities in Seattle and Mexico. It’s one of the first study abroad programs to focus on LGBTQ issues, furthering our mission of inviting a wider range of students to study abroad.

We are also proud to partner with the Departments of American Indian Studies (AIS) and Scandinavian Studies on a program to Sápmi, the lands of the Sámi peoples of present-day Norway, called Indigenous Sámi Culture and Connection to the Land in Arctic Europe. With leading Native scholars Christopher Teuton (Cherokee Nation), Professor and Chair of AIS, and Pacific Lutheran University Professor Troy Storfjell (Sámi), students will explore global configurations of indigeneity and learn experientially about place-based modes of Indigenous knowledge.

And, as always, students are the agents of their education in CHID: this quarter, students are editing and producing the second volume of Neither Here Nor There, our online, multimedia undergraduate journal about travel and study abroad. Our students who travel abroad confront difficult questions, and it’s perhaps a sign of success that they continue to grapple with them long after they return home.

--By Nick Barr Clingan