The following are abstracts of both past GloJo master’s projects (journalistic works of some 7,000-10,000 words) and, at the top, the pieces we are expecting this spring will be posted shortly.
Nidia Bautista GloJo-Latin American Studies Women and families of the victims of Ecatepec’s femicide epidemic reveal problems with government programs, undermining government’s effort to appear it’s making strides against gender violence.
Isabel Cabellero Samper GloJo-Latin American Studies One third of the members of the FARC, the Marxist guerrilla that recently signed a peace agreement in Colombia, were women. Reports from government sources say that during the war the female guerrillas were raped, harassed and forced to have abortions by their own commanders. But some female guerrillas actually say they joined the FARC to escape from those same forms of abuse, which are rampant in the Colombian countryside, and learned about women’s liberation and gender equality for the first time there, finding that men and women lived as equals sharing everything from the everyday tasks of cooking and cleaning to going into battle.
Ben Dalton GloJo-Russian/Slavic Studies Village activists protest the relentless expansion of one of Ukraine’s largest agribusinesses and win surprising victories, but at considerable cost. Meanwhile, a debate rages at the national level over whether to permit the sale of Ukraine’s fertile agricultural land. Will an open land market mean a windfall for rural Ukraine, or will villagers see a repeat of the 1990s, when the rich and connected preyed on everyone else?
Nikki Galteland GloJo-International Relations Anti-immigrant policies abroad and a thin job market at home have made it nearly impossible for Tajikistan’s traditional male breadwinners to support their families alone. Now, women in Tajikistan are finding new ways to enter the workforce, often traveling out of the country by themselves to find good jobs. Along the way, these women are redefining gender norms in communities across the country.
Lauren Gurley GloJo-Latin American Studies For many Mexican factory workers in Ciudad Juárez, the available jobs allow them to bring in only $6-7 a day, making necessities like water, tortillas, shoes, and electricity unaffordable. As the United States dives deeper into NAFTA renegotiation talks, union movements have sprouted across the city’s 330 factories in response to labor shortages. Workers are demanding higher wages and better treatment, and planning for strikes. With NAFTA’s future uncertain and workers leveraging their power against employers, the future of this strategic city in the globalized economy is unknown.
Dillon Henderson GloJo-French Studies
Ayenat Mersie GloJo-International Relations For two decades, president Yahya Jammeh clung to power in The Gambia through the enforced disappearance, torture, and intimidation of his dissenters. But in the December 2016 elections, the dissenters were triumphant, forcing Jammeh into exile. So now, for the first time, victims of an autocrat’s abuses are coming forward, demanding truth, justice and reparations – but questions remain as to what that those lofty ideas actually mean, and what the new government is willing and capable of delivering.
Jessica Salley GloJo-Near Eastern Studies The rebuilding of an abandoned village in Northern Cyprus shows the most persistent fault lines in the division that has separated Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots since 1974: to whom does cultural heritage and abandoned property across the island belong? What is the future of the Turkish military on the island? And what might a united Cyprus look like?
Lucia Seda GloJo-French Studies This project profiles some of the many refugee chefs and cooks who took control over the kitchens of French restaurants during the Refugee Food Festival to prepare meals of their home countries, showcase their culinary savoir-faire and eventually make inroads in the French culinary landscape.
Simone Somekh GloJo-European/Mediterranean Studies (In June 2018, Tablet Magazine published a substantial excerpt.) The ongoing growth in the technological sector for Israel’s Arab population seems, at least to some visionary entrepreneurs, both local Arabs and Jews, to hold promise for narrowing the enormous gap between the two communities.
Stephanie Sugars GloJo-International Relations For Bosnians born amid the Yugoslav Wars, a lifetime of corruption, nationalism, and unemployment has triggered widespread frustration and antipathy. While some of these millennials have turned to activism, a feeling that nothing is changing has many discouraged and emigration is on the rise. With the elections in October—in which there are signs of both growing popularity for new progressive parties and significant electoral irregularities—the outcomes could harken a new chapter for the country and its youth or the country’s continued descent into division and a renewal of violence.
Symphonie Swift GloJo-Africana Studies In Kingston, Jamaica the practice of skin bleaching takes on new meaning. In a small, inner-city community, a family and their closest neighbors explain why body modification isn’t just about self-hate, but self-love too and demand to be seen as complex human beings.
Allie Vlachakis GloJo-European/Mediterranean Studies In the summer of 2016, changes concerning Family Reunification altered the situation for migrants in and “around” Greece. Extensive research for this piece in Greece and Serbia highlights the geopolitical tensions on Greece’s northern and eastern borders (with the Balkan states and Turkey, respectively), the detention system and the shortcomings of humanitarian aid, all through the voices of migrants of various backgrounds.
Clare Church GloJo-International Relations (On Bastille Day, 2017, Tablet magazine published this piece in full.) Confronting Memories of Nazi-Occupied France: A trip with Clare Church’s grandmother to her French hometown revealed a complex narrative of forgotten stories, newly discovered facts, and misremembered details.
Carol Schaeffer GloJo-European/Mediterranean Studies (In May 2017, a substantial excerpt of this piece appeared in the Atlantic and further elaboration on the subject as a cover story for India’s Caravan.) Extreme-right Westerners are moving to Hungary, the Eu’s first “Fascist State.” An attempted intellectual circle inspired by 20th century Parisian ex-pat communities, they see themselves as cultural warriors against a “degenerate” West.
Clare Busch GloJo-Near Eastern Studies (In April 2017, a substantial excerpt of this piece appeared in Jacobin.) The Saturday Mothers, a protest movement that meets weekly in Istanbul, demonstrates against the Turkish state’s past crimes and, in doing so, criticizes the current government’s move toward authoritarianism.
Katie Schlechter GloJo-Latin American Studies (In June 2017, this appeared in podcast format on NPR’s Latino USA.) LGBTQ Central Americans seeking refuge in Mexico, whether permanent of temporary, face increased danger and discrimination on their journeys north.
Prianka Srinivasan GloJo-International Relations As coal production dwindles across the United States, communities in central Appalachia’s coalfields are fighting for survival. (In December 2017, a selection of Prianka’s work in coal country appeared on Jacobin.)
Rachel Leah GloJo-Africana Studies In Ghana, hip-hop is the vehicle for social change, and a new generation of young artists are challenging the legacy of colonialization and disrupting the country’s peaceful global identity. A selection of this reportage appeared in December 2017 in Quartz.
Layla Quran GloJo-Near Eastern Studies Beyond and despite the exploitation they endure, migrant domestic workers in Jordan are organizing for change in public and private spaces of resistance.
Kyle Walker GloJo-European/Mediterranean Studies For all those touched by the refugee crisis in Austria—asylum seekers and native Austrians—accepting their new neighbors requires a “migration of the soul.”
Esme Montgomery GloJo-International Relations Some 163,000 refugees made Sweden their home in 2015. These Iraqis, Afghans and Syrians face a country torn politically down the middle — between those who welcome them and those who don’t.
Natasha Bluth GloJo-Russian/Slavic Studies In one Ukrainian region bordering the warzone, a small movement of social workers keep the 2014 revolution alive as the only group actively fighting for internal refugees.
Kasper van Laarhoven GloJo-Near Eastern Studies This portrait of a building in Beirut gives a unique insight into how Syrian refugees and Lebanese nationals cohabitate in a country where one-third of its residents are displaced persons.
Hanna Wallis GloJo-Latin American Studies An indigenous resistance movement living at the epicenter of the Colombian conflict defends its territory and identity through the transformation of a newly established peace agreement.
Dany Hoffman GloJo-European/Mediterranean Studies A recent law enables descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 to claim Spanish citizenship. Who are the candidates? What are their motivations?
Sabahat Zakariya GloJo-Near Eastern Studies A rising class of single and divorced women in Pakistan is grappling to create space in a society where life choices are often contingent on family decisions.
Nigar Hacizade GloJo-Russian/Slavic Studies The wrestler emigrated, the judoka stayed put: The divergent paths of two elite Soviet athletes from Azerbaijan tell the story of post-Soviet collapse and renewal.
Andi Wang GloJo-International Relations A textile workshop on the tibetan Plateau connects nomads with the modern world while preserving their tradition.
Juan Carlos Castillo GloJo-Latin American Studies The ban on homosexuality during Revolutionary Cuba fostered clandestine sexual encounters in public places and increased the popularity of the bugarron as forms of resistance.
Jenny Feng GloJo-International Relations Immigrants and asylum seekers in Hong Kong are facing a bleak future as Chungking Mansions, once their dreamland and shelter, is in a state of transformation.
Dusty Christiansen – GloJo-Latin American Studies (NPR‘s “Latino USA” ran a portion of this work as a radio piece). Cotacachi is a small mountainous town in the north of Ecuador surrounded by tiny indigenous villages with hand-built cobblestone roads and cinderblock houses. Amid the region’s poverty are luxury houses inside gated communities–a sign of the growing number of US retirees moving to the area, driven by recession, rising health care costs, shrinking pension funds and the rising age of retirement.
Jesse Coburn – GloJo-European-Mediterranean Studies (Foreign Policy published a portion of this work in January 2016 and on February 5, 2016, he presented on his research at The Spatial Impact of Forced Migration conference at the Columbia University School of Architecture.) Germany is sending asylum seekers to live in decrepit mass housing estates in the formerly communist east. The arrangement could help revive these dying places but it also risks ghettoizing their newest residents.
Carmen Cuesta Roca GloJo-French Studies 2016 (the Miami Herald published this in part) Over forty community radio stations in Haiti broadcast educational content for a population that lacks access to formal education and is widely illiterate. The Miami Herald has published a substantial excerpt of this work. These communities also find themselves isolated because of a deep-seated divide between the capital and rural Haiti, based on negative stereotypes of the rural population as uneducated and uncultured. Community radio stations do not exist under Haitian law. In fact, the decree that currently governs radio communications in Haiti was written under the Duvalier dictatorship. A draft bill that will recognize community radio stations in Haiti may do more harm than good to stations facing economic obstacles and discrimination if passed.
Alex Kane GloJo-Near Eastern Studies 2016 — (This piece appeared in the Intercept) In recent years, the Israeli security forces have arrested dozens of Palestinians for social media activity–like Sohaib Zahda, a Palestinian from Hebron who created a Facebook page against the 2014 war in Gaza. Different Israeli security agencies–from the police to the Shin Bet to the army–have their own methods of monitoring Facebook. But they all share information. The security services have created a vast surveillance apparatus, well equipped to monitor Facebook activity. The monitoring of Facebook has also lead to profit for some veterans of Israel’s security forces. These veterans are now selling tools that promise to monitor social media feeds to ferret out security threats. The expertise in surveillance Israel has developed is marketed around the world by Israeli start-up firms with close ties to the military and intelligence apparatus.
Ilaria Parogni GloJo-Russian/Slavic Studies (the Nation magazine published this in part). The Russian anti-abortion movement is growing louder, with groups and centers mushrooming across the country and their structures becoming increasingly centralized. On paper, the success of the ant-abortionist cause in Russia would seem unlikely. In Soviet times abortions were the most common form of family planning and today Russian women carry out more than a million abortions every year. Even the Kremlin shows caution in approaching a topic that would touch such a large part of the population, and has curtailed efforts by Russian lawmakers to impose restrictions on the practice. Still, with supporters among religious and secular figures, a constant cash flow and the ability to infiltrate the medical establishment, the movement might just be ideally positioned to thrive.
Camilla Osorio GloJo-Latin American Studies (the New Republic published this in full) Colombia is right now at a juncture in which the country can challenge the causes that triggered a 50-year civil war, and end it once and for all. The Government promised a land reform for all landless peasants in the country, if peace negotiations with the FARC guerrillas are signed by March. The media has celebrated land reform as the perfect recipe for transition to a post-conflict society. This story captures this critical moment in a place that has been known for hosting paramilitary groups, left-wing guerrillas, and drug cartels: Urabá. The article follows a man from the area named Afranio Solano, a threatened peasant leader. Whoever kills Solano may claim $35,000. That is the bounty a group of Colombian right wing paramilitaries offered to anyone who can stop this 50-year-old peasant who opposed banana business owners in Urabá that own most of the land. If the Government can bring justice and land to Solano and the landless peasants with him in this banana cultivated area, Colombia’s history might be about to change. But if armed groups kill them, 2016 will be just one more year in the world’s longest civil war.
Zehra Rehman GloJo-International Relations (Buzzfeed Longform published this in full and Zehra presented on her reporting and research at McGill University in Montreal on February 22-21, 2016 at the “Expert Seminar on Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Health,” a meeting called to prepare a proposal for the United Nations.) Maskwacis, like many other indigenous reservations in Canada, is struggling with an alarmingly high suicide rate. As the community tries to deal with the trauma of these losses and prevent more suicides, they are also trying to understand the reasons behind this epidemic. The answer may lie in the residential school experience. The Canadian government took generations of indigenous children away from their families and put them in these schools to forcibly—and often brutally—separate them from their language, culture and beliefs. For many survivors, the scars of that experience haven’t healed and they are passing that trauma on to successive generations. Increasingly, those who cannot cope with that inherited trauma are trying to escape it by taking their own lives.
Nicki Fleischner GloJo-Latin American Studies Mikis and hipsters are two social enclaves on opposite ends of the Cuban youth spectrum. (Univision published this in full.) Mikis, named for Mickey Mouse, are obsessed with U.S.-style consumerism, products and culture. They wear Nikes and faux-American Eagle, download every Chris Brown song they can get their hands on, and can spend up to one month’s state salary on entrance fees to one of Havana’s chicest clubs. Hipsters roll their eyes at the mikis. Typically young creative and academic types, they are highly critical of the United States’ growing influence in Cuba and the effects of capitalism. My article follows Jorgito Ramírez, a hipster, and Leonardo Marin, a miki, as they go to school, hang out with friends, and negotiate their country’s evolving political and economic landscape in an attempt to eek out the future they desire. As much media attention as Cuba has garnered in the past year, youth have been largely left out of the conversation. But Jorgito and Leonardo’s stories show just how much more complicated and nuanced Havana is than foreign projections of “change” (or the lack thereof) in Cuba. As different as the mikis and hipsters are they share a fundamental commonality: they are not okay with the status quo and they represent Cuba’s future.
Tom Brant GloJo-French Studies – (This was published in part by PC Magazine) A growing number of French startups are trying to capitalize on their country’s worldwide renown for food, design, love and other quintessential parts of the good life. There are new artisanal bakeries and “love stores,” gorgeous $150 wooden iPhone cases and 3-D printed retro bicycles. In many cases, these new ventures survive with very little initial funding, at least compared to their American counterparts: for tech startups, the average seed money is around $500,000. A would-be wine and cheese shop owner is lucky to raise a twentieth of that amount. These entrepreneurs remain optimistic about France’s ability to foster creativity and innovation, but some of their compatriots disagree, and have moved to the U.S. in order to pursue their dreams of starting a business. These expats have numerous reasons for leaving. They appreciate the French government’s efforts to attract investment, including new twin incubators for French companies in New York City and Paris built with public and private funds. But many believe something bigger has to change—tax reform, or even changes to the sacred welfare state—for France to remain a desirable place for its brightest young people to stay.
Kate Drew GloJo-International Relations — To build up the still-green startup scene in Berlin, German companies and the government are scouting for talent in Tel Aviv—a known startup hub. And Israelis, looking to grow their businesses internationally, are responding positively to these advances, and making the move to the German capital. Through the eyes of three Israeli entrepreneurs, this story focuses on the budding entrepreneurial relationship between Tel Aviv and Berlin. Although these entrepreneurs hail from a nation born of the Holocaust, where even German-made films once were banned, lengthy conversations with nearly a dozen Israeli entrepreneurs now working in or with Berlin evinced no trace of that painful cultural memory. With Germans looking for talent and Israeli entrepreneurs in need of a place to do business outside of their small home market, the two appear on the brink of a collaboration that could propel entrepreneurial aspirations in both cities.
Deganit Perez GloJo-International Relations — In Israel it is now acknowledged as a historical fact that, in the years following the creation of the state, Jews who emigrated from Muslim countries (called Mizrahim in Hebrew) have been treated as inferiors by Ashkenazim, who arrived from Europe. The current situation is, however, subject to much debate and the Israeli society is divided between those who believe the gap is closed or on the verge of closing and those who advocate for more rights for Mizrahim. Through a personal journey to find out about my paternal mother’s name and my family’s history, I draw a picture of the current Mizrahi/Ashkenazi divide and discuss how ethnic identity shapes individuals and politics in today’s Israel.
Mireia Triguero-Roura GloJo-International Relations Almost 1 million of Rohingya Muslims are stateless in Myanmar. They face persecution in their own towns: houses burnt, old and young men killed, and women raped. Those who manage to escape put their lives in the hands of traffickers, who cram them onto small boats and take them to the Thai-Malay border. There, if they can afford to pay the high fees, they are released into Malaysia. But life in Malaysia isn’t much better. Malaysia is not a signatory of the 1951 UN Refugee convention, and thus these asylum seekers (200,000 by some accounts) are considered illegal immigrants. They have no rights to education, or legal jobs. Health care is 50 times more expensive than it is for locals. They are pushed to live in the shadows. They have no one they can go to to learn how to register with the UN refugee agency, or what the process for resettlement is. Often they end up in mafia-like organizations that constitute their only safety net. At best, they can find some informal work in construction, plantations, or in the fishing industry–sometimes in indentured conditions. Few are those who are lucky enough to be resettled into a country that will recognize their refugee plight.
Bailey Wolff – GloJo-Russian/Slavic Studies In spite of western narratives describing Russia as a country that oppresses its residents and prohibits personal expression, exchange students from Central and East Asia continue to enter Russian universities because the experience offers them opportunity for greater freedom and personal expression. This story profiles a group of Vietnamese students who have finished or are finishing their education at Irkutsk State Technical University in eastern Siberia. It looks at historic and contemporary connections between the two countries, and identifies some of the challenges and benefits these students encounter as the result of living in Russia.
Mariam Elba GloJo-Near Eastern Studies – Cairo has been expanding rapidly over the past two decades, largely through informal communities for the urban poor, or through upscale, exclusive, gated housing compounds for Egypt’s wealthiest residents, funded mostly by private investors with little (if any) state involvement. As the number of compounds increase and grow, so does concern about privatization of the city, and lack of affordable housing in Cairo. This project is a profile of Al Rehab (pronounced re-HAAB) one of the oldest housing compounds in the greater Cairo area, and how it has developed and transformed over the past two decades, defying the expectations of both real estate developers and the general public perception of these exclusive compounds. It is home to one of the largest commercial centers in greater Cairo and is home to several Syrian, Iraqi, and Libyan owned businesses. We follow some of these business owners, workers, and residents of Al Rehab in looking at how life has changed in the compound, and how Al Rehab is a paradox given its accessibility and growing commercial spaces.
Katie Whittaker GloJo-European/Mediterranean Studies Greeks are searching desperately for the best place to go – the villages, the cities, or abroad – and at the same time, young refugees are also trying to find a way to survive in a city that is suffering economically. There are no jobs, and there are few options for escape from a financial crisis that continually threatens daily life. Ali is a 25 year old from Afghanistan who currently lives in Athens and has a foot in both worlds. He navigates the challenges of living in Athens as a twenty-something, trying to finish his college degree in computer science and playing for a recreational soccer team. But his life is complicated further by the problems of living in the country as a refugee, and like many Greeks, he is bound to a country that does not allow him to live the life he wants.
Alex Hall GloJo-Latin American Studies – The tourism industry in Cartagena, Colombia masks the inequalities facing Afro-descendant locals who must assert their culture and identity in an environment that has misappropriated them for profit. After decades of news stories about an ongoing political conflict and the pervasive drug war, the country is shedding its forbidding reputation and encouraging the world to witness a Colombia very different from the headlines. A growing number of tourists who visit the “walled city” will find Afro-Caribbean culture on display. The popularity of this tourist destination would suggest that the “ethno-tourism” scene is a great success. But the locals feel differently. Many of them must perform their africanidad or blackness to earn a living, because the benefits of the tourism boom have yet to reach their barrios, where the city’s racial and economic divide are most palpable.
Daniel Pleck GloJo-International Relations A journey into the world of Mouridism takes me from cab drivers and street sellers in New York to the holy city of Touba, Senegal. Sample Interactive 360 footage here: (warning graphic imagery):
Nadeen Shaker GloJo-Near Eastern Studies In November 2013, the interim government in Egypt passed an anti-protest law, which prohibited protesting without a police permit. Because of this draconian law, two years later, Egypt is suffering from the highest incarceration rate in its modern history, and that has put its prison system in shambles. By NGO estimates, it is estimated that 41,000 people have been arrested in 2013, eight and a half times more than 4809, the number of arrests in 2012. Inside prison walls, the result was overwhelming: prison overcrowding, mixing of political and criminal offenders, and the brutal squashing of prison riots, and much more. And the response to the crisis wasn’t much better on the outside either. Neither have prison officials been able to respond properly to the hundreds arriving at their doors nor have human rights lawyers and activists been able to gain any traction on getting the law scrapped. I follow the stories of two sets of prisoners: an all-women debtors prison in Damanhour near Alexandria, and male political prisoners in Wadi Al Natrun prison, a former CIA black site, on the Cairo-Alexandria road. Their stories reveal the broken structure of the prison and judicial systems in Egypt, and how solutions are imbued with contradictions. For example, the Egyptian Prison Authority has adopted a mandate to run its prisons in compliance with basic human rights standards, but a lack of commitment stands in the way of any meaningful reform. Lawyers attempting to repeal the law have no chance of doing so and are up against the exceptional politics of the nation.
Danielle Mackey – GloJo – Latin American Studies: The story of Tania Vasquez, a transgender rights activist in El Salvador, was murdered by an unknown assailant near downtown San Salvador in May of 2013. She is one of more than 100 transgender women who have bene murdered in the country since 2003. Her story shows how systemic discrimination, exacerbaged by organized crime and gang violence, makes survival difficult for most transgender women in the country. It also shows how international human rights law may help. (Mashable published this piece.)
Maggy Donaldson – GloJo – French Studies: (Al Jazeera America posted this selection from the full work.) The exploitation of seasonal migrant workers on the farms of France exposes the social weaknesses of Europe’s borderless economy. Facing competition from neighbors such as Spain and Italy, French farmers must cut labor costs to remain viable. France has therefore been allowing seasonal labor migration from North Africa for decades. But now those already precarious positions are threatened by Spanish temporary contract agencies. These companies send thousands of Ecuadorians to France each year, working them harder with minimal labor standards and job security.
Makini Brice – GloJo – French Studies: Thousands of children have migrated to Europe in recent years without their families, including the teenaged migrant from Mali who is the centerpiece of this story. In France, these young people find themselves in a legal gap. They are neither fully documented or undocumented, caught between immigration policy and a child protection system administered by overburdened local authorities with the legal obligation to care for any minor who arrives along on French territory, regardless of citizenship. After they turn 18 and age out of the system, the ground underneath them can shift altogether.
Kavitha Surana – GloJo – European/Mediterranean Studies: Italy’s worker-owned cooperatives are sometimes the noble labor innovation they appear to be but are also have become a creative form of outsourcing that results in the exploitation of workers at society’s margins.
Thalia Beaty – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies: A 2014 hunger strike of former political prisoners in Tunisia hints at a growing unwillingness among the country’s political leaders to look into the country’s past.
Paris Liu – GloJo – European/Mediterranean Studies: An in-depth look at the old Shanghai ghetto, where some 23,000 European JEws found protection from the Holocaust, and the modern-day efforts to preserve this history.
Yasmine Al-Sayyad – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies: The story of three groups and the obstacles they face in trying to put the history of Egypt’s uprisings into the historical record.
Lynn Edmonds – GloJo – Africana Studies: A writer’s quest to enter the lives of three African immigrants to Greece, examining issues of whiteness, wealth, language and barriers to citizenship.
Avi Asher-Schapiro – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies: Deep in rural Egypt, 300 miles away from Cairo, a young female journalist struggles to do her job in an increasingly authoritarian climate that becomes more hostile to honest reporting every day.
Jamiles Lartey – GloJo – Africana Studies: After decades of economic stagnation, mismanagement and exploitation, one of the few things Ghana can successfully export is its own poverty – specifically, through its system of orphanages for children who often still have families of their own.
Sara Afzal – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies: This journalistic micro-study of urban Tehrani life focuses on the largest apartment complex in Iran’s capital, Ekbatan located in Western Tehran. As a predominately middle class neighborhood, Ekbatan houses more than 55,000 residents. For the over 8 million Iranians living in Tehran and nearly 14 million in its greater metropolitan area, high-rise apartment complexes like Ekbatan are the common housing structures since Tehran’s colossal urban development in the post-revolution years. These urban environments shape social practices, underground cultures, identity formations, and ultimately how Tehranis interact with each other and understand themselves.
Mel Bailey – GloJo – French Studies: Many of thee estimated 240,000 West Africans who have taken up residence in Paris since 2005 work as street merchants, selling goods smuggled from their home countries to members of their own communities while others work in fast food or car washes and very few pursue schooling beyond what they were able to complete before they left their countries of origin. Through the lives of three of these men, this project explores how West Africans who move to Paris make money, find better quality of life, start up communities and connect with family back home, often through the obligation to remit funds to those family members they have left behind.
Anna Callaghan – GloJo – International Relations -(This piece was published in a number of papers, including the Seattle Times and the Spokane Spokesman-Review.) In 1984, the Olympics heralded Sarajevo’s entrance to the world and the city welcomed foreigners with an Olympic smile they learned through television and radio campaigns. For the first time, there was Coca-Cola. Then, as the world’s eyes turned toward Sochi, Russia, Sarajevo celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Winter Olympic Games, rousing memories of the turbulent years that followed. The jubilant Olympic city descended into a brutal war and in time, rebuilt itself. Sarjevo is a city of contrasts and extremes, and while the story of war is a tragic one, there are other stories, too.
Peter D’Amato – GloJo – Latin American Studies -(Dissent published this piece in part.) Stretched across the length of the southern Pacific Ocean, Chile’s coastline benefits from one of the most productive ecosystem of fish in the world. A robust fishing industry developed in the middle of the twentieth century, and eventually the behemoth industrial ships and the conglomerates that owned them came to dominate the ocean. In late 2012, as part of the country’s management regime, Chile passed a new law allocating the majority of fishing quotas to the seven major fishing companies in the country, leaving the smaller, artisanal boats with the remaining slivers. What fish there is left to compete over is another question.
Tamerra Griffin – GloJo – Africana Studies – Ghanaian musicians who identify as Afropolitans have rich international experiences that inform their musical production, allowing them to challenge conventional ideas about African cultures to diverse audiences. This project investigates not only the concept of the afropolitan, but illustrates the ways in which self-identified afropolitan musicians from Ghana incorporate elements from both the United States and Ghana into their music. More specifically, these artists combine hip-hop (the genesis of which is in the Bronx) and highlife (Ghana’s own instrumental genre that originated in the 1930s) to create hiplife, which itself is the embodiment of synthesized artistic influence.
Tom Finn – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies – In Yemen, the poorest Arab nation and the worst in the world for gender equality according to a U.N. metric based on literacy and other factors, women were at the forefront of the protests that led to the downfall of president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012. After starting the uprising on the fringes: delivering blankets, cooking food and tending to wounded protesters – women moved to the frontlines. They led rallies, slept in protest camps, went on hunger strikes and covered the unrest as bloggers and photographers. They were also among the hundreds of protesters killed during the government’s bloody crackdown. In a staunchly conservative society governed, almost exclusively, by men and tribal mores women defied tradition emerging as plotters, publicists and pioneers of the revolution.
Katharina Kempf – GloJo – Latin American Studies – Women are challenging their limited opportunity to participate in an indigenous-style government due to traditional gender roles in two small towns in Oaxaca, Mexico, an area where women have not been allowed to vote or run for office in 80 towns.
Anna Kim – GloJo – International Relations – This project explores the lives of more than 200,000 women in international marriages in South Korea and the dramatic policy and demographic implications of the presence of these “foreign brides.” Divorce rates are high as are instances of domestic violence and discrimination.
Michael Lee – GloJo – East Asian Studies – The world of Otaku in Japan: It’s a term used to describe someone who has an extreme level of investment in a particular hobby. A word that has floated around the Japanese lexicon for at least 30 years, it has long stood for a socially awkward, out of touch male whose obsession has consumed his very being. The negative association to the word Otaku has lessened, but the obsessive culture it connotes is still thriving. What makes being an Otaku a phenomenon unique to Japan.
Lauren Morton – GloJo – Africana Studies – This project examines the rate of maternal mortality in New York City and its disproportionate impact on women of color, a situation exacerbated by the lack of funding allocated by the city to address the issue.
Nicole Disser – GloJo – Russian/Slavic Studies – Sochi-fueled international spotlighting and human rights watchdog organizations have encouraged global demands for the repeal of laws which are seen as threatening the basic human rights of Russian LGBT citizens. But the situation is much more complicated than many Western media outlets have imagined. It is not so simple as a widespread homophobia in Russia that’s to blame, but the combination of a cultural tradition eschewing public discussion of sexuality, and a government seeking yet another conduit toward a separate, exceptionalist vision of Russia against an increasingly globalized and Europeanized world.
Emma Quail – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies – This project explores the situation of Egypt’s 4 million Sudanese refugees, beset by a colonial history that fuels contemporary attitudes of racism and domination of this population and how they resist repression by both the U.N. High Commission for Refugees and the Egyptian state.
Elizabeth Shim – GloJo – East Asian Studies – This project focuses on the lives of three North Korean defectors, whose harrowing tales of escape to South Korea via a highly dangerous route from northeast China to Laos and Thailand, are not only testimonies to a commitment to a better life, but also about the gravitational pull of South Korea, a leader in technology and pop culture in Asia. This story also uncovers South Korea’s growing influence on daily life in North Korea and how bootlegged images of South Korea seduce the imagination of North Koreans to leave their homeland to resettle in a country that is paradoxically Korean and foreign.
Natalie Shure – GloJo – Russian/Slavic Studies – (Buzzfeed Longform published this piece.) There are many reasons to be skeptical about newly state-controlled TB programs in the former Soviet Union, where worldwide drug-resistant rates are the world’s highest.
Rosario Yori – GloJo – Latin American Studies – Trafficking of women for prostitution has grown as a result of illegal mining industry in Madre de Dios, Peru. The situation illustrates the Peruvian state’s inability to tackle illicit activity.
Amy Elmgren – GloJo – International Relations: Tibetan refugees living in Nepal have faced increasing economic hardship and political repression as China invests more and more money in Nepal’s security forces. Nepal—a small and impoverished country dwarfed by its neighbors China and India—has hosted a Tibetan exile community of around 20,000 for over half a century. Because of their cultural similarities with Nepali ethnic groups, Tibetans blended into Nepali society well, and even established a thriving carpet factory industry until fighting between Maoists and royalists disrupted daily economic and social life in the mid 90’s. Despite their relatively successful social integration, however, Tibetans in Nepal have always lived in a legal limbo — most don’t have citizenship and aren’t officially recognized as refugees by Nepal or even the UNHCR, which has helped to run a center for Tibetans traveling by foot over the Himalayas from Lhasa to Kathmandu, en route to India, for decades. In recent years, tensions within Tibetan regions of China have combined with Nepal’s internal political turmoil and the country’s increasing reliance on Chinese aid money to create a situation nearing crisis for many Tibetans who live in Nepal. Without documentation, the exiles can’t work, go to school, or even celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday without risking arrest—let alone advocate for a return to Tibet or Tibetan independence. For the most part, delegates of the India-based Tibetan exile government have stepped out of the way as young Tibetans organize in protest. Many speculate that Western intervention in the form of threatening to reduce aid money to Nepal could help to curb the current rate of deportations to China and general level of repression.
Katie Cella – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies: (Published February 2014 in the Boston Review) How statelessness in the Emirates became the result of defining citizenship as exclusionary privilege. The solution became making the citizens of nowhere citizens of somewhere else.
This is a story of how the Emirates became a place where only five percent of the people who live there are citizens. The majority are foreign workers, generating the wealth that has come to define the Emirati national narrative, yet these workers can claim little of it for themselves. At least these people are citizens of somewhere: In the Emirates, as well as in Kuwait and Bahrain, tens of thousands of people reside in the country without citizenship or hope of attaining it. These people, called the bidoun, reflect a wide range of ethnicities, resident localities and professions. On the whole, the bidoun cannot access the free education, housing, health care and marriage allowances that nationals receive as basic provisions. Although the state has attempted to naturalize portions of the bidoun on a few occasions, human rights groups have denigrated these efforts as piecemeal and ineffectual. News articles reported that these initiatives were labyrinthine, unclear, and exceedingly slow. Thus, despite these intermittent attempts, most bidoun remained stateless. Since 2011, the government began to crack down on bidoun activities and make it more difficult for them to accomplish routine procedures like renewing driver’s licenses and obtaining birth certificates. Suddenly, the government ordered that all bidoun must apply for citizenship from the Comoros Islands or risk detention. Reactions to this requirement varied widely. Exclusion and privilege are creating strange and multiple meanings for citizenship, which turns on the people who are fenced outside it.
Sasha von Olderashausen – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies: In the midst of the U.S. and Iran’s fraught politics, two classes (one in Tehran, the other in NYC) connect to each other through language.
An exploration of U.S.-Iranian relations, specifically in the context of recent international sanctions imposed on Iran, through the comparative lens of two language classes—one, a Persian language class taught in an inner-city high school located in the Bronx, and the other, an English language class comprised of students both young and old, located in Tehran.
Through these parallel narratives, I aim not only to analyze the real and everyday consequences of increasingly stringent sanctions enacted against Iran, especially as pertains to the young population living in Tehran, but also to explore the role of foreign language instruction within the public school system in the United States. These seemingly disparate realms in fact inform and influence one another. Through this project, I will suggest that the state of foreign language instruction in the U.S.—in particular, the relative dearth of classes offered in Middle Eastern languages—speaks to larger issues of political tensions between the U.S. and the Middle East. In addition to the case of these two classrooms, I will include examples of language programs implemented in schools across the nation that have sought to meet the demands of an increasingly globalized world, which at times have been met with dissent, and in some cases, blatant racism.
Jared Malsin – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies: (Time published this piece in January 2016.) Egyptians who participated in their country’s winter 2011 revolution experienced a rapid, sometimes traumatic transformation in self-understanding, changing from ordinary people into self-proclaimed revolutionaries.
In Egypt today there is a vast community of people referred to as “revolutionaries.” But the existence of such people raises a paradox. Prior to Egypt’s 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian regime, almost no one, including dedicated activists, expected to participate in a revolution. One of the extraordinary facts about the uprising is that it began simply as a day of large protests. The iconic chant of the uprising—“The people demand the fall of the regime!” did not fully coalesce until January 28th, after three days of continuous street fighting between demonstrators and Mubarak’s police. So how does a wave of protests become a revolution? How do ordinary people become revolutionaries? What I propose is that any answer to this question, however partial, must involve an understanding of individual Egyptians’ experiences of the uprising, and in particular of the tidal wave of demonstrations and the deadly police crackdown on January 28, 2011. My project narrates the story of a 20-year-old computer science student, Mohab Ali, who was shot dead by police during a demonstration in Cairo on the 28th, and also the story of his father, Abu Mohab, who is now a key figure in Egypt’s revolutionary camp, and a spokesman for the “martyrs families” movement. The families of the revolution’s “martyrs” have become the embodiment not only of this deep shift in political self-understanding but also of what they see as an ongoing movement to “complete the revolution.”
Fatima Malik – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies: By studying the case of Rashidabad, a service enclave three hours outside Karachi, my thesis examines development in Pakistan through the lens of Western ideas of development and the Islamic conception of charity.
Rashidabad, a service enclave three hours from Karachi in the Tando Allahyar district of Sindh, aims to bring basic services to the rural heartland in Pakistan. The most fertile region in the province when it comes to agriculture, the people living in the district remain one of the most poor in the province. The foundation stone of Rashidabad was laid in 1998 by Rashid Memorial Welfare Organization (RMWO), started by a group of retired officers of the Pakistan air force. Today, Rashidabad has three schools, a hospital, an eye clinic, a blood bank, a soup kitchen, a vocation training center for men, part time vocational training classes for women, a squash complex, and its own railway station. Work has commenced on a school for the hearing impaired. Service providers are given housing within the 100-acre premises. The development also provides outreach to schools in the surrounding villages, and relief and aid during floods which are common to the area. I spent a total of about a week living on the premises and talking to both service providers and beneficiaries. By examining the Rashidabad example through the lens of critical development studies literature and at the same time, putting it in conversation with Islamic notions to charity, I hope to make a nuanced argument about welfare in Pakistan. In the discourse of freedom through development, a kind of internal Orientalism seems to be at work, and I aim to outline its affects on the already marginalized people of the region and the further inequalities it generates.
Samantha Balaban – GloJo – Latin American Studies: (Samatha produced a piece working off this research as part of her PA responsibilities at NPR’s “Morning Edition.)”In Peru, volunteer-tourism is growing but unregulated sector of the tourism industry. The effects on the “voluntoured,” whether positive or negative, are often unknown.
The neoliberal Peruvian government has a vested interest in accepting free foreign aid work. At the same time, volunteer-tourism has become a popular trend in the United States. While people of all ages participate, most tend to be high school or college students and gap-year adventurers. Volunteer-tourism has been researched since the 1980s when it first emerged as a trend. Scholars have concluded that it is clearly beneficial to tourists, who have the opportunity to learn about a foreign culture, practice a foreign language and list the experience on their resumes. There has been comparatively little research, however, on how volunteer-tourism is locally beneficial to those who are toured. In the context of Cusco, Peru I argue that it is especially important to look at volunteer-tourism from the local point of view because of the historical context of the tourism industry’s relationship with indigenous culture. Traditionally, the industry has relied on the promotion of a commoditized image of an “authentic” indigenous identity to attract tourists. In rural communities, tourism is perceived as one of the only means of development and is therefore eagerly accepted. I look at how volunteer-tourism organizations operate in this context. Since this sector of the tourism industry is still unregulated in Peru, organizations are not obligated to benefit community members and they often do not. My thesis includes an in-depth case study of one volunteer organization and the perspective of the community members with which this organization worked for one summer.
Dana Varinsky – GloJo – International Relations: Boquete, Panama, now a major retirement destination for Americans, is undergoing an economic and environmental transformation informed by larger changes in the United States and Panama.
In the last decade, Panama has become a popular retirement destination for elderly U.S. citizens. This is no accident: a series of laws in Panama established a permanent residency visa for those receiving a pension and eliminated property taxes for the first 20 years after a new home is built. The mountainous region of Boquete quickly gained a reputation as one of the world’s best places to retire. Now, Americans are estimated to make up 25 percent of the population there. The retiree community in Boquete has established its own networks, services, and local charities, and has changed the area in significant ways, both positive and negative. Businesses now cater to this new population, wages have increased, and property values have skyrocketed. Boquete is Panama’s coffee growing region, so the country’s coffee exports have decreased as farmers have sold their land to residential developers, and landslides and water drainage are becoming bigger concerns as coffee farms get clear cut. Environmentalists are also worried that new construction and a lack of zoning or wildlife protection in the area will cause severe damage to the country’s biodiversity. Viewed in a wider context, the retirement trend reflects important economic dynamics in Panama and the United States. Panama is undergoing rapid economic growth and development– the canal is being expanded, the banking sector is flourishing, and multinational corporations are increasingly present. In the U.S., on the other hand, an aging generation is reevaluating its expectations of retirement after the economic downturn.
Laurent Bertscher – GloJo – International Relations: In the streets of Madagascar, thousands of children, left behind by parents and government, are left to fend for themselves.
Behind Madagascar’s legendary and unique beauty lies an ugly reality. Life for the Malagasy is often paved with hardships, the daily routine of the multitude crippled by violence and fear. A sad 151 rank on UNDP’s latest HDI report paints a bleak picture. Those most affected, naturally, are the children. Those who were made most vulnerable, it is they who end up paying the price of corruption and lust. In 2011 and 2012 I spent several months in Majunga, the country’s third largest city. I got to know many of these children through my work (I taught French at a shelter), and as I got to know them I was moved by their stories, and by the resilience they showed in the face of such hardships. While there are several local NGO’s trying to help these children, their resources are limited, and they often found themselves burdened by the corruption and the greed of institutions and families alike. In addition, I was shocked at the behavior of the so-called ‘tourists’, abhorred by that of those foreigners who had moved to Madagascar on a permanent basis. There is in Majunga a large parallel industry of prostitution, a market fostered by the demand of the vahaaza, the white man. If tourism constitutes the 2nd largest revenue stream in the country, it also certainly leads to bad practices. By telling the story of several characters of Majunga, street children from Tanarivo, retired French men living with their young wives, frustrated and unpaid educators and teachers, optimistic NGO workers and fifteen year old sex workers, I hope to show the fragility of the necessary balance between culture and globalization, the contradictions of a post-colonial present in Madagascar.
“Buried in Silence: Lebanon’s ‘Disappeared’ and the Politics of Civil War Memory” (Grace Maalouf – GloJo Near Eastern Studies) The Mar Ephraim monastery, just down the road that slopes into the valley from the town square of Chbaniyeh, could hold clues to the resting place of more than a dozen of Lebanon’s “disappeared.” Two weeks earlier, a construction worker preparing a campsite on monestary land dug up 17 sets of bones, each in a bag, buried four feet beneath the ground. In a country where 15 years of anarchic fratricide led to the enforced disappearance of thousands, the discovery of a potential dumping ground for victims of mass killing could help bring closure to many remaining family members. Unless, of course, the bones once belonged to animals.
“Middletown on the Edge: A Midwestern City’s Route to a Post-Manufacturing Existence” (Ian Duncan – GloJo – International Relations) In 1924, two young sociologists came to Muncie, Indiana, looking to study the typical American city. They found a community with problems, but one benefitting from a rapidly developing economy. They called it Middletown. Nine decades later, Muncie has been nearly buried by waves of globalization, as the manufacturers that were its backbone have expanded their operations abroad to cut costs. The author examins how the shift to global manufacturing supply chains has affected the economic and social life of the city, and how it might revive itself in the course of coming decades.
“Running on Lithium: Evo Morales and the Modern Epic of Bolivia’s Lithium Reserves” (Juan Victor Fajardo – GloJo-Latin American Studies) An examination of Bolivia’s lithium reserves and its presdient’s drive to alter the world’s energy paradigm and lift his country out of poverty in the process.
“The Daily Battles of the Turkish Journalist” (Merel van Beeren – GloJo – Near Eastern Studies) In the nine decades since the founding of the Turkish republic, its record on freedom of speech and press has been questionable at best. The author examines the three most evident blocks to Turkey’s ambivalent aspirations for a free press: a long succession of repressive regimes, a challenging economy and an ambiguous penal code, meaning a dearth of jobs for journalists and a prevalence of legal actions against them. For the journalists themselves, it is little wonder that the abiding fear for personal safety and the need for economic security often take precedence over any desire to agitate for the adoption of more democratic ideals — creating a fourth block: self-censorship.
“Anti-Islam and American: The Anti-Sharia Movement” (Abigail Ohlheiser – GloJo – Religious Studies) An exhaustive examination of the Anti-Sharia movement in the United States, especially those who maintain that Islam poses a uniquely serious threat to U.S. security, specifically the possibility that radical organizations or individuals might target the American Muslim community and “radicalize” what are seen as vulnerable members of the population, including young males, poor immigrants, inmates, and those attending mosques led by “radical” Imams.
“The Schoolteacher” (Suzanne Rozdeba – GloJo-Russian/Slavic Studies) A documentary investigation of long-buried family history: the hiding of the village’s Jewish schoolteacher by the writer’s aunt and grandmother, on the family farm in Chociszewo, Poland, during World War II.
“Nicaragua’s Quest for Peace” (Jessica Eise – GloJo-International Relations) Some 25 years ago, U.S. headlines were full of stories about Nicaragua, the Contras, the Sandinistas and most principally the scandalous Iran-Contra Affair. Was Reagan lying? Did he really know about the arms sales to Iran and illegally defied the wishes of Congress? Were we, the U.S. people, betrayed by our president and our democratic institutions? To this day, many of our questions remain unanswered and as time passes, the affair fades from political discourse. Yet a couple of thousand miles to the south, in the second poorest country in teh Western Hemisphere after Haiti, the events of that epoch are inextricably linked to current politics.
“Cuban Lesbians Emerge from the Shadows” (Von Diaz – GloJo-Latin American Studies) (NPR Latino USA broadcast this radio documentary on May 11, 2012). Across the world, the stories of lesbians are always the last to be told, and Cuba is no exception. Lesbians who remained in Cuba after the revolution were thrust into the shadows, but they found ways to find love and maintain their identity although they risked being jailed or socially outcast. They persevered, and today they are able to be themselves. But the memories of that time live on. I spent the summer in Havana, talking with lesbians who lived through the fearful years of the revolution. I went to their homes, ate meals with them, and learned the intimate details of those fiercely homophobic years. In this narrative feature, I will share their personal stories, which speak to the struggles of gays lesbians worldwide.
“The Vagaries of Syrian Womanhood (Or, Syrian Womanhood, Prescribed)” (Hania Mourtada – GloJo-Near Eastern Studies) The author’s examination of the response of Syrian women to the recent ban on the niqab.
“Are the French Turning Japanese? A Look at the Japanese Pop-cultural Invasion of Paris” (Natalie Rinn-GloJo-French Studies) Teaching English in France from 2005 to 2007, the author started to see signs of the French fascination with Japanese pop culture, from selections of clothing to culinary offerings to vacation itineraries. But over time, the examples, from educational priorities to language study piled high enough to make it clear that something more was afoot. The author examines this surprising fascination.
“Child Trafficking in Ghana” (Dana Sherne – GloJo-International Relations) Although Ghana outlawed human trafficking in 2005, Projects Abroad estimates some 26,000 children are still being trafficked in the west African country each year. The author examines the crime and the organizations established to combat it.
“End Times: The Impossibility of the Religious Right in a Nation of Independent Voters and Religious Apostates” (Clint Rainey – GloJo-Religious Studies) American Politics and the Religious Right, the story of how the Religious Right has been rejected by the group that once identified itself most with it.
“Brazil May Have the World’s Largest Slavery Reparations Program in the Works” (Roque Planas- GloJo-Latin American Studies).(Published as a two-part series in the Huffington Post in 2014.) Brazil imported more slaves from Africa between the 16th and 19th centuries than any other country in the Americas. In 1889, it became the last nation in the western hemisphere to outlaw the institution. Today, more people of African descent live in Brazil than in any other country in the world besides Nigeria. People of color make up 51 percent of Brazil’s population, according to the most recent census. Now, more than one million black Brazilians are calling upon the government to honor their constitutional right to land.