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Distinguished Lectures

Spring 2016 Distinguished Lecturer

Peggy Levitt

Peggy Levitt
Wellesley College and Harvard University


Immigration: Images, Icons, and Institutions.
The Politics and Poetics of Creating the Global

XLII JAR Distinguished Lecture

We live in a world on the move.  Nearly one in seven people in the world today is an internal or international migrant. These dynamics challenge basic assumptions about how and where inequality is produced, family life gets lived, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship get fulfilled. They raise questions about the new kinds of social safety nets and institutions that are needed to respond to people’s mobile lives. And they require us to find new strategies for instilling the willingness and skills to engage with difference across the world and across the street.

This talk enters these questions through three doors. First, I look at sites around the world where cosmopolitan ideas and skills are created, with a particular focus on museums.  I ask what it is about certain cities and nations that help explain why museums represent diversity and respond to immigration so differently? Second, I look at if and how new global canons are being created, by whom, and for whom? Why is it that the work of some authors becomes part of “world literature” while others remain national? Finally, I look at new forms of global social protection.  In this world of widespread voluntary and forced migration, how are people protected and provided for outside the traditional framework of the nation-state? 

Dr. Levitt is a senior research fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society, Harvard Kennedy Center and Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College.  She also co-directs the Transnational Studies Initiative, a project based at the Hauser Institute and at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs where she is also a fellow.

Thursday, Februrary 25, 2016
7:30 pm in Anthropology Room 163
Free and open to the public.



Specialized Seminar

Friday Februrary 26, 2016
Noon in Anthropology Room 248
Free and open to the public.


Style Guide[PDF] for JAR References now available on the Manuscript/Author page.

Now available: Re-issue of Vol. 53, no. 3, 1997

Human Rights vs. Cultural Relativity with guest editors Carole Nagengast and Terence Turner

Suitable for course adoption.
Individuals $14.00 post paid in U.S., (add $3.00 for foreign orders)
Institutionals$18.00 post paid in U.S., (add $3.00 for foreign orders)


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Department of Anthropology