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University to host prestigious seminar on globalization and community in the Americas

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November 8, 2005

Source: University of Toronto:

University to host prestigious seminar on globalization and community in the Americas

International scholars to examine global dynamics and labour history
Nov 8/05
by Elizabeth Monier-Williams

The University of Toronto will play host to a year-long series of seminars on globalization thanks to a $120,000 (US) grant from the prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, based in New York City. Globalizing the Americas: World Economies and Local Communities will bring scholars from around the world to U of T for a provocative examination of global dynamics and labour history, beginning in September 2006. The foundationís Sawyer Seminar program funds research into the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments, with emphasis on comparative and multidisciplinary studies.

"Words like globalization get used as though they represent relatively new concepts, but historians know that global trade informed the early modern world and continues to shape lives across the Americas," says Professor Rick Halpern, director of U of Tís Centre for the Study of the United States and the Bissell-Heyd-Associates Chair in American Studies. "By focusing on transnational questions within the appropriate historical context, we intend to upset such easy notions."

Faculty members from each of the universityís three campuses will join Halpern in co-convening the seminar: Professor Kenneth Mills, director of the Latin American Studies program on the St. George campus; Professor Daniel Bender from the Department of History at U of T Scarborough; and Professor Derek Williams from the Historical Studies Department at U of T Mississauga. They will seek the participation of international scholars across the humanities and social sciences whose work has a historical focus, and who reflect the ethnic, racial and gender diversity of the Americas. The co-convenors will search particularly for innovative scholars.

"The seminar has the potential to be a career-making opportunity for the young academics and graduate students involved," says Mills. "Weíre excited by this chance to develop long-term partnerships with individuals and institutions across the Americas, and to increase the options available to undergraduate students who want to study globalization across disciplines."

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is among U of Tís top international supporters in the humanities. Harriet Zuckerman, the foundationís senior vice-president, invited a select number of universities, including U of T, to submit proposals to the competition.

"We are honoured to have been selected as a host institution for the prestigious Sawyer Seminar," says Professor Pekka Sinervo, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. "This seminar will allow members of the local and international academic communities to engage in a critical dialogue on the effects of globalization in the Americas. And it will do so in a city ó and at a university ó that have been tangibly reshaped by globalization. We deeply appreciate the Mellon foundationís support."


Rick Halpern, Director, Centre for the Study of the United States, 416-946-8011 e-mail:,



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