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Approaches to Transnational Studies: Core Readings, Social Theory and Case Studies

Term 1

Wednesdays 2-4 and selected additional sessions Wednesdays 11-1

The realities of social life do not necessarily fit national categories. Transnational identities (generated through patterns of migration, religious belief systems, or political and cultural identities) often have a stronger impact on people’s lives then nationality or statehood. Therefore, transterritoriality constitutes a fundamental anthropological reality. People, goods and ideas travel across national boundaries; as a consequence they change or acquire new meaning. Social forms of organisation take account of these realities. As Khagram and Levitt have argued, “studying contemporary social life by comparing experiences within or across nations blinds us to many of the ways the world actually works”.

Students are expected to develop a profound understanding of theoretical and methodological debates in the interdisciplinary field of Transnational Studies to enable them to apply these in their optional modules and their dissertation work.

Assessment: 2-hour examination, coursework essay of up to 3,000 words and review of up to 1,000 words

Theory Readings: WEEKS 1-5

This first section of the core course introduces students to a core set of readings in social theory relevant to transnational studies. The aim of this section is to provide students with a shared vocabulary of references and concepts.

  • Week 1: Cross-disciplinary approaches

Sanjeev Khagram and Peggy Levitt, “Constructing Transnational Studies”, in: idem., eds, The Transnational Studies Reader. Intersections and Innovations. New York: Routledge, 2007, 1-18

Alejandro Portes, Luis Eduardo Guarnizo, Patricia Landolt, “The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfalls and Promise of an Emergent Research Field”, in: Sanjeev Khagram and Peggy Levitt, eds, The Transnational Studies Reader. Intersections and Innovations. New York: Routledge, 2007, 275-284

  • Week 2: Transnational History

C.A.Bayly, Sven Beckert, Matthew Connelly, Isabel Hofmeyr, Wendy Kozol, Patricia Seed, “AHR Conversation: On Transnational History”, in: The American Historical Review, vol.111, issue 5 (December 2006) http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/111.5/introduction.html

Pierre Yves Saunier, Transnational History. New York : Palgrave, 2013

  • Week 3: Identity and Violence

Amartya Sen, Identity and Violence. The Illusion of Destiny. London: Penguin, 2007 (Extracts)

  • Week 4: World Culture

Frank J. Lechner and John Boli, World Culture. Origins and Consequences. Oxford; Blackwell, 2005, chapter 2

  • Week 5: Ethnoscapes

Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996 (Extracts)

Case Studies: WEEKS 6-10

The following set of five sessions introduces students to the ways different disciplines use the concept of transnationality through particular case studies.

Assessment: a 1,000-word book review, followed by 3,000-word thematic essay. Book review and essay do not need to be directly related to one of the seminar sessions, but should exemplify transnational approaches.

Week 6: International Relations: Intergovernmental or Transnational? (Alex Goodall)

Week 7: The International Co-operative Movement (Mary Hilson, Scandinavian Studies)

Week 8: International Law and Transnationality (Lily Chang)

Week 9 : Transnational Economics (Coskun Tuncer) *PLEASE NOTE THIS SESSION WILL BE 1-3pm*

Week 10: Statelessness as global citizenship (Dina Gusejnova)

Case studies taught in previous years:

A. Religious communities in transnational perspective (François Guesnet, Hebrew and Jewish Studies)

B. Healthcare in transnational perspective: the case of China in Cuba (Vivienne Lo)

C. Food-Chains (Helga Satzinger)

Page last modified on 01 oct 14 10:50 by SRP