“Nervous Borders” Conference Features International Scholars

Posted: April 5, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jennifer Mitchell

Tomorrow, April 6, renowned Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan, who was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Important Thinkers in the world, will appear via teleconference at George Mason’s Arlington Campus. Ramadan was denied access to the United States in 2003 while attempting to secure a work visa for a teaching position at the University of Notre Dame, and he remains on the U.S. terrorist watch list.

Ramadan’s video appearance is part of “Nervous Borders: Culture, Politics, and People Flows After 9/11,” a conference that will feature five panels and a keynote speaker over the course of two days. The panelists will discuss immigrant communities, international affairs, and policy changes since 9/11. The free conference is open to the public and will continue through Thursday, April 7, on Mason’s Fairfax Campus in the Johnson Center Cinema.

Joining Ramadan for a discussion of his case will be David Cole, legal affairs correspondent for The Nation and author of No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System, and Kareem Shora of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The panel and teleconference will begin at 4:15 p.m. in Room 225 at the Arlington Law School.

The conference is sponsored by the Cultural Studies PhD Program and the Center for Global Studies. Dina Copelman, associate professor of history and cultural studies, says the programs joined forces because of their mutual interests in globalization and in the ways nations are being transformed and redefined as a result of global population shifts. “Both programs also wanted to ensure that these processes are examined in complex, multidimensional ways. Culture, politics, and economics all need to be considered, and this conference will not only foreground these different aspects, but also explore the interconnections between them.”

Among the authors and experts who will speak during the conference are Bobby Sayyid of Leeds University, UK, author of A Fundamental Fear: Eurocentrism and the Emergence of Islamism and Yvonne Haddad of Georgetown University, editor of Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens and coeditor of Islam and the West Post 9/11.

Keynote speaker Saskia Sassen is currently completing her book Denationalization: Economy and Polity in a Global Digital Age, which is based on a five-year project on governance and accountability in a global economy. Sassen is the Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics.

Other panels scheduled for the event are: “New Immigrants: Labor, Community, Identity” with Rhacel Parennas, author of Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration, and Domestic Work, and “Representations” featuring Eren McGinnis, an independent filmmaker and producer of Beyond the Border, a PBS documentary that chronicles the experience of four brothers from Mexico as they try to make a better life for themselves and their families in Kentucky.

For more information on the conference, see the web site or call 703-993-2851 or 703-993-9433.

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