RIT’s 2001–02 Gannett Lecture Series Focuses on Globalization




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Rochester Institute of Technology’s 2001–02 Caroline Werner Gannett Lecture Series—"Globalization, Human Rights and Citizenship"— will focus on the economic, political and social issues of globalization. The 12 Gannett lectures—free and open to the public—will explore globalization’s far-reaching impact from a wide range of disciplinary and international perspectives.

The Gannett Lecture Series, a component of RIT’s Senior Seminar in the College of Liberal Arts, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20, in Webb Auditorium of the James E. Booth Building with "The Globalization Paradigm: International Village or Global Shopping Mall?" by Robert Manning, RIT’s new Caroline Werner Gannett Professor and lecture series director. Manning, a past Senior Fulbright Lecturer to Mexico and author of the new book Credit Card Nation, is a specialist in comparative economic development and immigration/minority relations. A national authority on banking deregulation and consumer credit/debt, Manning’s research has been instrumental in the formulation of public policies in many countries; he has testified before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as well as several federal commissions and state legislatures. (Information concerning his current research is available at www.creditcardnation.com).

According to Manning: "The tragic events in New York and Washington, D.C. highlight the increasing importance of globalization in all of our lives. As the changing patterns of world trade profoundly shape our national living standards and the vitality of our local communities, it is also dramatically transforming the social and cultural foundations of many so-called ‘developing’ nations. The rapidity of these changes, together with heightened fears over preserving their national sovereignty, environmental standards, and traditional cultural values, is contributing to growing social and political movements in developing countries in order to resist the growing political and cultural influence of the United States and multinational corporations."

Manning also notes that the sharp decline in global economic growth is having a profound ripple effect throughout the United States and other developed countries. "This means that the standard of living of American families is increasingly related to commercial relations with other countries that may feature very different labor standards, environmental protections, political freedoms, worker rights, and civic institutions," he says. "The result in many developing countries has been a dramatic increase in mass migration, slavery, environmental degradation, human rights abuses, genocide of indigenous groups, and rise of religious fundamentalism."

In the developed countries, Manning says, concern over the rise of economic inequality and growing corporate influence has generated broad, citizen-based movements against supranational institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Bank. "Indeed, the 1999 protests in Seattle have been followed by even larger and more publicized protests in Genoa last summer," Manning says. "As a result, we need to better understand why ‘globalization’ has different symbolic meanings and substantive impacts on disparate countries and social groups throughout the world."

The Gannett lecture series begins with an exploration of the competing perspectives and multifaceted components of globalization—especially the dominant "neo-liberal" market paradigm of "free trade."

"The goal of the lecture series is to critically examine some of the most provocative issues that confront us today," Manning says. "These include the importance of social indicators in evaluating national development, enforcement of human rights violations, negotiation of transnational environmental standards, rising power of multinational corporations, role of supranational institutions like United Nations and WTO, civic responsibility in an era of transnational communities, regulation of international population movements, growth of slavery and our responsibilities as ‘global citizens’."

The lecture series features an internationally prominent group of scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds, social activists, corporate executives, organized labor representatives, and leaders of international institutions.

The Gannett lectures—free and open to the public—will be held at 7:30 p.m. in RIT’s Webb Auditorium, James E. Booth Building, and include the following talks:

  • "The Globalization Paradigm: International Village or Global Shopping Mall," by Robert Manning, Thursday, Sept. 20. Manning is RIT’s Caroline Werner Gannett Professor and lecture series director, and the author of Credit Card Nation.

  • "Can Democracy Survive the Global Economy?" by Maude Barlow, Thursday, Sept. 27, one of Canada’s leading activists and writers on the emerging antiglobalization movement. Barlow, the national chair of the Council of Canadians, was a senior advisor on women’s issues to the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. She has written 12 books including Global Showdown (2001).

  • "Globalization from Below: Towards a Democratic Global Commonwealth" by Christopher Chase-Dunn, Thursday, Oct. 11. Chase-Dunn, professor of sociology at the University of California at Riverside, is author or editor of more than 10 books including Globalization on the Ground (2001).

  • "Global Democracy, Global Anarchy or Global Corporatism?" by Benjamin Barber, Thursday, Oct. 25. Barber, professor of civil society at the University of Maryland, has written several books including JIHAD vs. MCWORLD, and co-wrote the CBC/PBS 10-part series, The Struggle for Democracy (1998, 2000).

  • "Globalization or Denationalization? Economy and Polity in a Digital Global Age," by Saskia Sassen, Thursday, Dec. 13. Saskia, professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, is the author or editor of more than seven books including Global Networks/Linked Cities (2001) and The Global City (2001).

    Winter and spring speakers will include Manning, Carolyn Forche, Barber Conable, William Tabb, John Hope Franklin and John W. Franklin.

    For more information or brochures, call 475-2057.

    About the lecture series: RIT’s College of Liberal Arts began the Gannett Lecture Series in the mid-1970’s. The Series topic is usually organized in two-year thematic blocks. Past topics include environmental citizenship, Millennial, and Constitutional themes. The lecture series is a component of RIT’s Senior Seminar which is required of all graduating seniors.