By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—IU Southeast will host the 34th annual meeting of the Association of Third World Studies (ATWS), Sun. Nov. 20 through Tues., Nov. 22.
This international and multidisciplinary conference will bring scholars from around the world to present research on current issues pertaining to countries in regions including Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Middle East and South East Asia.
Founded in 1983, the Association of Third World Studies is a worldwide professional organization of scholars, development practitioners and government employees devoted to the study of the so-called Third World. It was founded to provide an international structure for the humane and scientific study of Third World peoples, problems and issues, with the ultimate goal of improving their quality of life. It is the largest professional organization of its kind in the world, with a global membership and chapters in South Asia and Africa. Members reside in 45 states plus the District of Columbia in the U.S., and in 21 other countries around the globe.
IU Southeast, led by Dr. Doyin Coker-Kolo, dean of the School of Education and president-elect of the ATWS, will be hosting this event for the first time. The conference is open to non-members, and is of particular interest to students of political science, international studies and foreign languages. There is a fee for attending, and anyone interested should visit the meeting webpage.
The theme of this year’s meeting is: Rethinking and Reviving the Field of Third World Studies in the 21st Century—A Call to Action.
Taking into account changes in the developing world, and its relationship with industrialized nations, the theme calls upon scholars to re-examine the relevance and sustainability of the concept at the heart of their field: the Third World. For many, the concept and the term that expresses it are rooted in an age of post-colonial dependence, and do not reflect the emerging realities of today or the prospects of tomorrow. As a result, the formulation is widely viewed as archaic or even perjorative. The conference inspires participants not only to question their own work and assumptions, but to identify new directions for the field.
Panels will explore themes that span history, literature, geo-politics, gender, education, health, environment and more.
On Monday, during the lunch hour, IU Southeast senior education students will enjoy the spotlight during poster presentations on topics ranging from the effect of GMOs on the rural economy and quality of life in India to overcoming barriers to education in the developing world.
At the same time, Neil Brewer, senior lecturer in education and Dr. Claudia Crump, co-founder and director of the IU Southeast Center for Cultural Resources, will lead a round-table discussion on the topic, Exchange of Cultural Perspectives from Diverse Worlds.
These two events will take place in the Hoosier Rooms, from 11:45-12:45 p.m.
The conference concludes on Tuesday with a festive banquet and awards ceremony to which conferees will wear traditional clothing from their nations of origin. The keynote speaker will be IU Southeast Chancellor Dr. Ray Wallace, speaking on the topic, The 21st Century Irish Diaspora: A Personal Response.
Dean Coker-Kolo believes that hosting the conference will have both an academic and social impact on the campus. With some 30 faculty and students from IU Southeast presenting, some in collaboration with community partners, the meeting has already encouraged these scholars to think differently about their disciplines, and to see them as avenues for global outreach as well as academic fields.
“As an institution close to metropolitan Louisville, hosting the conference speaks to IU Southeast’s intention to highlight and contribute to the intellectual discourse on issues affecting the developing countries and people of those countries who constitute the majority of recent immigrants to the area,” Coker-Kolo said. “Additionally, it presents IU Southeast as a welcoming campus and raises the international awareness of our students, faculty and community.”
For more information on the conference, including the schedule of panels and the cost of attendance, please visit the conference website.