University News

Series reflect Watson Institute mission

Lecture series aim to engage participants with ‘cutting-edge research’ on major global challenges

By
Contributing Writer
Friday, February 21, 2014

The Watson Institute's two lecture series will focus on security and governance and development this semester.

The Watson Institute for International Studies is hosting two lecture series this semester, with one devoted to security and the other exploring issues of governance and development, said Peter Andreas, associate director of the Watson Institute and professor of political science and international studies.

The subjects of the series correspond with the core themes of the Watson Institute’s strategic plan developed last spring, wrote Richard Locke, director of the Watson Institute and professor of political science, in an email to The Herald.

The series’ goal is to have participants discuss and engage with “cutting-edge research” on major global challenges, Locke wrote. He added that the series also aims to “build an intellectual community around these issues here at Watson and at Brown, to provide feedback to scholars on their work (and) to expose … students to research by scholars in other universities.”

Organizers hope the lectures encourage dialogue across disciplines, Andreas said, adding that all the talks incorporate multiple departments and speakers from diverse academic backgrounds.

The series brings “outside voices to Brown and the institute to enrich our intellectual community,” Andreas said, noting that several speakers hail from peer institutions, including Cornell, Yale, Barnard College and the University of Chicago.

“It’s not just academics speaking,” Andreas said. “Sometimes, in the case of the security series, it also includes bringing in more practitioner types such as journalists.”

Excitement for the series seems high throughout Watson, wrote Catherine Lutz, professor of anthropology and international studies, in an email to The Herald, adding that she was “very pleased” with the diversity of lectures.

Speakers were chosen through suggestions solicited from faculty members within and beyond the Watson Institute, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, Locke wrote. Speakers on campus for other reasons, such as visiting professors, were also asked to speak about their research, he wrote.

Moderators were chosen from the pool of Watson Institute faculty members with relevant research interests. Lutz, who has extensively researched U.S. military bases “at home and overseas,” was selected to moderate a talk by Amy Austin Holmes, a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute and assistant professor of sociology at American University in Cairo, on American military bases in Turkey and Germany, Lutz wrote.

The lectures are designed to complement each other, Andreas said, noting that the talk on the history of civil wars will incorporate issues related to governance, development and security.

The Development and Governance Seminar Series began Feb. 5 and will conclude April 3, while the Security Seminar Series runs Feb. 10 to April 7, according to a University press release.

The Watson Institute will sponsor other lectures this semester in conjunction with several centers, programs and departments, such as the Middle East Studies program, the Brown-India Initiative and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Andreas said.