Fall 2012 Colloquium

Chai Why? The Making of the Indian “National Drink”Philip Lutgendorf, Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies, University of Iowa

Thursday, September 20, 2012. MG 2001. 7:00 pmThis presentation examines the promotion and popularization of tea drinking in 20th-century India. It is inspired in part by recent ethno-historical work on everyday culinary commodities, by anthropological interest in the “social life of things,” and by recognition of the remarkable role that tea, modified to Indian taste, has come to play in diet, social intercourse, and public culture in a relatively short span of time. This research focuses on the mass popularization of indigenized “chai” through changes in manufacturing, marketing, and consumption, and in eating habits, urban space, and social networks, and involves both archival and field research. The talk emphasizes the role that advertising images played in transmitting the “tea habit” to Indians, both prior to and following Independence in 1947.


The Rise of China and Its Repositioning under Globalization

Huping Ling, Professor of History, Truman State University

Thursday, October 18, 2012. MG 2001. 7:00 pm
This lecture analyzes popular concerns over “Asian Ascendance vs. US Decline.” Professor Ling notes that rise of China is real but not as threatening as prescribed by the media and extremists. China’s rapid economic growth presents a new and complex model—its gross GDP is the second largest in the world, yet its per capita GDP is at the level of developing countries. The decline of the US is true but it is not as appalling as fanned by the demagogues; the fall of any great power is a historical, biological, and natural process. The talk will look at the positive and negative sides of globalization and the need for global economic and political stability and various prescriptions such as “Chimerica” by Niall Ferguson that emphasizes the collaboration of the two economic powers. Globalization makes different countries’ economies interconnecting, interactive, and entangled. Finally, this lecture makes suggestions on how we reposition ourselves under globalization.


All That We Share: The Rediscovery of the Commons as a New Tool for Creating a Greener, More Equitable and Happier World

Jay Walljasper, author of All That We Share and editor of www.OnTheCommons.org.

Thursday, November 15, 2012. MG 2001. 7:00 pm

One of the most promising new currents for creating a better society is the emerging commons movement. The commons refers to all the things we share together and the many ways we share them. This encompasses wilderness and water, the Internet and public space, human knowledge and collaborative work. The spirit and practice of the commons is taking hold among many people (especially students who grew up sharing on the Internet) as an answer to the growing economic inequity, environmental destruction and social alienation that confront us today. Everyone from tech workers to artists to Occupy activists to peasants in the developing world is applying the principles of the commons to forge innovative solutions to entrenched problems. College communities offer many opportunities to explore the possibilities of the commons, including the academic tradition of freely exchanging knowledge as well to the students who have grown up in an online world where sharing seems only natural.