Borders, Nationalisms, Identities: The Ethics of Global Citizenship

The fall 2019 Muhlenberg College Center for Ethics’ programming includes lectures, a film and a gallery exhibition.

 Wednesday, September 11, 2019 00:25 PM

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This year’s Center for Ethics program examines our global moment as controversies arise from a resurgence in nationalism, the simultaneous hardening and permeability of national borders and boundaries and increased flows of people as tourists, refugees, asylum seekers, laborers and students. Traffic in and exchange of raw materials, information, weapons and diseases have increasingly transformed national identities, cultures and conceptions of citizenship.

The program will explore related questions, including: What are the ethical implications these issues present? How should we understand and respond to global changes in borders, nationalisms and identities? Are there historical precedents for such dynamic changes to the lives of peoples, states and our planet? What roles do new technology and communication play in crossing some borders while raising other barriers? How can we imagine our place in national and global societies when we are at the same time brought closer together and driven further apart?

The fall program kicked off with a September 3 campus community event, "Exit West—An Invitation to the Conversation." Faculty panelists Jim Bloom, Ioanna Chatzidimitriou and Sharon Albert presented reflections on Mohsin Hamid’s novel, Exit West, followed by an opening discussion of the Center for Ethics theme via key themes, moments, characters and symbols presented in Hamid’s work. 

The fall programming, which includes a number of lectures, a film, a bus trip to Ellis Island and a gallery exhibition, takes place September through November. Additional events will be held during the spring semester. With the exception of the College-only October 27 trip to Ellis Island, all events are free and open to the public.

Fall 2019 Schedule:

Ronny Quevedo – Art Gallery Exhibit & Talk
September 18–November 2, 2019
Martin Art Gallery and Trexler Library Field

September 18, 2019 (5:30–7 p.m.) Exhibit Opening Reception
Marten Art Gallery, Baker Center for the Arts

October 15, 2019 (7–8 p.m.) Artist Talk
Recital Hall, Baker Center for the Arts

Part of Muhlenberg's Center for Ethics 2019-2020 programming, Quevedo's multi-site exhibition locates the viewer as a player in an imaginary and unsettling space. The works on view, both in the Martin Art Gallery and on the Trexler Library Field, look at a space in negotiation and in constant shift. Acting as a metaphor for shifting landscapes and the role of play in re-imagining one’s position in the world, Space of Play, Play of Space is an investigation of the self through the games we play by magnifying the role of migration within that transformation.

Quevedo's field-sized outdoor drawing will include fragmented diagrams of basketball, soccer, volleyball and handball courts. Having moved from Ecuador to New York City in the 1980s, Quevedo’s work interlaces autobiographical and sociological insights in a reflection on his bi-cultural upbringing and his father’s soccer career as a player and a referee in both places. Taken together, the installation renders the disquiet, yet poetic and exuberant, state of peoples and cultures in global flux through a materially syncretized and conceptually complex body of work.


Borders & Immigration – Current Challenges and Constitutional Concerns
Friday, September 20, 2019 (2:00 – 3:45 p.m.)
Miller Forum, Moyer Hall

This Constitution Day panel discussion will feature Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center, and pending final details, one additional guest.  The panel will be moderated by a member of the political science department and discuss a range of important policy concerns affecting immigration in the contemporary American political context. 


Ellis Island Trip (Campus community only; Advanced sign up required)
Sunday, October 27, 2019
Sign up directly with Maureen Bayraktar, Political Science Suite, 3rd Floor, Ettinger Hall, M-F, 9:30 a.m.3 p.m.   


Ieva Jusionyte: “Injury and Rescue on the U.S.-Mexico Border”
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 (7–8:45 p.m.)
Miller Forum, Moyer Hall

Ieva Jusionyte is assistant professor of anthropology and social studies at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of political-legal and medical anthropology, with a focus on the study of state power and the materiality of violence; law and criminalized livelihoods; discourses and infrastructures of security; technologies of injury; politics and ethics of representation; and ethnography as method and storytelling.

Based on fieldwork in the tri-border area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay from 2008 to 2014, her first book, Savage Frontier: Making News and Security on the Argentine Border (University of California Press 2015), examines how local journalists both participate in and contest global and national security discourses and practices in a region portrayed as the hub of drug and human trafficking, contraband and money laundering. Drawing on her professional background as a news reporter and experience of producing an investigative television program “Proximidad” in Argentina, the book probes politics and ethics of representation and knowledge production in ethnography and in journalism. In addition to the book, her work on the tri-border area has appeared in Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Anthropological Quarterly, and Political and Legal Anthropology Review.

Her second research project, supported by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, focuses on security infrastructures and emergency services along the border between Sonora and Arizona. Her new book, Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border (University of California Press, 2018), delves into the lives of first responders under heightened security on both sides of the wall.


Amy-Jill Levine : "On Different Grounds: Jewish and Christian Foundation for Engaging the Middle East"
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Location and Details to Follow

Amy-Jill Levine is a university professor of New Testament and Jewish studies, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies and professor of New Testament studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science. She is an internationally prominent public speaker on Christian-Jewish relations, an instructor in the Great Courses series and a consultant to the Vatican and the World Council of Churches. Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus and Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi. She is the co-editor, with Marc Z. Brettler, of the Jewish Annotated New Testament

This is an affiliated event co-sponsored with the Institute for Jewish Christian Understanding.


Lifeboat – Screening and Discussion with Skye Fitzgerald
Monday, December 2, 2019 (7-9 p.m.)
Lithgow Science Auditorium, Trumbower 130

Volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts pushing off from Libya in the middle of the night. Lifeboat puts a human face on one of the world's greatest contemporary global crises and provides a spark of hope surrounding how civil society can intervene in the refugee crisis in a meaningful way.