The Centennial Labs began as a pilot program in 2017 and has continued to expand it’s class offerings every year since. Future classes will be announced, with preferential enrollment given to students who have yet to participate in the program.
Spring 2019 | India Innovation Studio
INAF-311/INAF-312 (India), Irfan Nooruddin and Mark Giordano
Each year, this studio-based course examines a different problem facing India. The course is taught through a multidisciplinary lens and operates in partnership with the Indian government and civil society stakeholders to design, prototype and implement a solution on the ground. The course is team taught in modules and led by Professors Irfan Nooruddin and Mark Giordano. In the fall semester of this studio, students will first academically explore the political, economic, and sociological dimensions of the issue. The spring semester will focus on the development and implementation of potential solutions, which students will design working in close collaboration with experts in the field and government and civil society stakeholders. Selected students will be offered the opportunity to travel to India during the spring. The studio is designed to be a year-long course (Fall, Spring). Students who take both semesters will be given preference for selection and funding for the spring trip to India.
India Innovation Lab
INAF-313, Irfan Nooruddin and Mark Giordano
The India Innovation Lab is meant for students who have completed the India Innovation Studio series (INAF 311 and INAF 312) and will be continuing work with their project from the studio. Professors Nooruddin and Giordano will serve as advisers for students enrolled in the lab.
Refugees and Migrant Children
INAF-455-05/INAF-455-06 (Sweden), Elizabeth Ferris and Katharine Donato
About half of the world’s refugees are under age 18; children travel on their own, with families and with strangers in search of safety. This experiential hands-on course will examine the ways in which governments and civil society facilitate the admission and social integration of refugee and migrant children and families with a particular focus on the United States and Sweden. While US policies toward refugee and migrant children have been widely criticized in recent years, Sweden is a country known for its child-sensitive policies. This is not a traditional course where professors lecture and students take notes. Rather it is a collective learning experience where faculty and students together work toward a common goal of discerning best practices in responding to the particular needs of refugee and migrant children. In addition, students will travel with faculty members to Sweden over spring break 2019. There they will engage with government and civil society representatives to analyze the ways in which refugee and migrant children’s needs are addressed in a country which is known for its highly effective and child-sensitive policies. Students and faculty will work together to produce an overview paper highlighting best practices for refugee and migrant children and will suggest concrete ways in which better child-sensitive policies can be implemented elsewhere. This report is intended to support refugee and children’s advocates and will feed into on-going processes in the United Nations and the network of child protection agencies.
National Security and Social Media
INAF-455-01/INAF-455-02 (California), Daniel Byman and Chris Meserole
Radical but ostensibly lawful groups play an important role in fomenting violence and fostering a dangerous political environment. The white-supremacist Ku Klux Klan, the jihadist-oriented Al Muhajiroun and its spinoffs in Europe, and the “Incel” movement are only a few of the organizations that peddle hate and have had members involved in terrorism and political violence. Other groups, such as the followers of Insane Clown Posse (Juggalos and Juggalettes), are considered by some law enforcement entities to be gangs but are also are part of a broader cultural movement. In the United States and several other democratic countries, such groups have a right to free speech, but do they have a right to be on every Internet platform? How do Internet companies determine who to ban and who to permit to use their services? Are their alternatives approaches to banning content or users that technology companies should consider? What are the human rights and legal implications of these choices? The course would work with Google and the associated Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to explore different technical, legal, and policy solutions to the problem of radical presence on the Internet. The professors would identify one or more research projects and direct a research team of 10-15 Georgetown students. The class would meet with experts in the Washington, D.C. area, have video discussions with Congressional staff, technology experts, counterterrorism officials and other relevant experts from around the world. Class members are also eligible to participate in a one-credit class (INAF 442) held over spring break to travel to California to meet with experts to learn more about the problems and potential solutions. Possible visits include Google, Facebook, Palantir, and other relevant Internet companies as well as non-profits like the Anti-Defamation League that have expertise in components of these challenges. (This list is subject to change – perhaps dramatic change.) This class is not open to freshman. If the class is over-subscribed, priority will be given to sophomores and juniors and to those with some knowledge of counterterrorism, technology, or other class-related issues.
Development and Displacement in the Arab World
ARST-367/ARST-368 (Jordan), Rochelle Davis and Fida Adely
The focus of this lab class will be on different types of development (e.g., community-based development, state-driven, NGOs, international bodies, etc.), and how development functions as solutions to situations of emergency crises and protracted displacement. Students will acquire a theoretical background in both displacement and development as well as specific knowledge of development and displacement in the Arab world. The disciplinary focus is anthropological, addressing issues related to economics, politics, society, heritage, and law. This course has an optional 1-credit travel component (ARST 368). During spring break, we will travel to Jordan to learn about community-based development projects and the impact of displacement on communities. Students will then develop a final project related to community-based development in the West Bank, or prepare a proposal for such a project in Iraq or Syria or for Syrian refugees. No specific background is required, although some knowledge of the region and Arabic is helpful. A willingness to travel in difficult conditions and follow specific instructions is essential for the travel component.
Politics and Performance: Confronting the Past, Shaping the Future
CULP-290/CULP-291 (Cambodia), Derek Goldman and Cynthia Schneider
Societies throughout the globe use performance, culture, and the arts to remember, represent, and understand complex and often traumatic pasts, and to re-imagine the future. The arts in general, and performance, in particular, play a crucial role in remembering and recovering from conflict and/or genocide, and in rebuilding a future. This course will study this important intersection of politics and performance in diverse examples from the past and the present, from Cambodia to post World War II Europe, to Australia, West Africa, South Africa, and the United States. The recent destruction of monuments and artifacts by ISIS and other extremists has focused attention on the importance attached to controlling history and narratives, but the positive role that the restoration of living culture plays in recovery from conflict has not received sufficient attention and offers a rich field for study. Using examples ranging from the Civil War and the legacy of slavery and racism here in the United States to the to the Holocaust in World War II Europe to the Cambodian genocide, to more recent events such as the end of apartheid in South Africa and the occupation of Timbuktu, the course will look at how cultural products such as performances, memorials, films, music, and literature narrate and shape the ways these complex and fraught histories are remembered and understood. The process of rebuilding, in which arts and culture play a vital role, is still ongoing in places like South Africa, Cambodia, and Mali, and the class will be able to learn about these processes directly from the cultural actors leading them. The dual cases of indigenous populations in the United States and in Australia and the roles that diverse arts have played in their struggles to assert identity and envision their futures will provide a fascinating comparative case study. Using a variety of rich and resonant living examples, and in dialogue with leading artists from around the world through the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, we will look closely at how these cultural workers navigate the politics of representation, including the tensions between the spoken and the unspoken, between presence and absence, and between remembrance and erasure. As a centerpiece of the course, we will have an optional 1-credit travel portion over Spring break (CULP 291) to Cambodia as guests of Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) and its visionary Executive Director Phloeun Prim, a member of the Lab’s Think Tank.
GBUS-491-10/GBUS-491-20 (California), Dale Murphy
This SFS course helps train and enable top students to create ambitious, entrepreneurial solutions to global challenges. Students will work individually or in self-selected teams to identify societal needs and innovative, financially-sustainable solutions that fit their long-term passions and life/career goals. Working in collaboration with Citi Ventures and its network, students will liaise with individuals in and outside the university, including other entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, mentors, alumni, policy think-tanks, potential funders, incubators/studios, regulators, and existing institutions (corporate, government, academic, and/or NGO) to move their proposals toward feasible proposals worthy of implementation and investment. Students are pushed to quickly field-test their ideas and pivot as needed, to embrace fast, productive failures that accelerate learning and optimize resource allocation. The course will allow participants in the upcoming SFS Global Issues Pitch Competition (GIPC) to advance their proposals, and prepare other students for next year’s Centennial GIPC. Broader long-term goals include the successful implementation of solutions, the education of global-citizen leaders, the further development of Georgetown’s entrepreneurial-ecosystem, the strengthening of SFS’ role as the leading institution for innovative answers to global issues, and deepening its partnerships with top thinkers and institutions around the world. Field-study: over spring break, students will convene in Silicon Valley with other entrepreneurs, investors, Citi Ventures, and alumni working in their areas of interest, to further field-test, pivot, and network.
The Syndemics Seminar
STIA-438, Emily Mendenhall
STIA 438 is a seminar on the history, theory, and methodology of syndemics. The first of its kind, this seminar will focus on furthering the conceptualization and application of the theory of syndemics through time. It will involve working with large historical and contemporary datasets to apply syndemic theory and innovate a new syndemic methodology for interdisciplinary scholars. Manuscripts from the workshop will contribute to a Special Issue on syndemics. The Syndemics Seminar assembles interdisciplinary perspectives to critically interpret ecological trajectories of syndemics over time. Despite broad recognition of the social determinants of health, current frameworks in medicine and public health, such as co-morbidity or singular risk factors, fail to address how social and ecological factors travel together with diseases and change over time. The syndemics concept, in contrast to an epidemiological concept, provides an innovative theoretical and practical approach that combines concepts of “synergy” with “epidemic” to investigate how ecological, political, and social factors drive diseases to occur and cluster together to worsen adverse health outcomes among some populations and not others. Syndemics require two or more diseases to cluster together and interact biologically, to coalesce as a result of external drivers, such as ecological change or social problems. Syndemic theory provides the opportunity to analyze how diseases emerge and affect populations differentially due to what other social and health conditions exist. We use historical and contemporary datasets to test what methodologies are best suited to test syndemic trajectories. Such an approach demands historical analyses as well as innovative modeling approaches to more fully develop a longitudinal understanding of how ecological trajectories of syndemics change over time. This course will integrate perspectives, mentorship, and writing at the intersection of biology, politics, society, epidemiology, and big data to innovate a new and relevant way of thinking about syndemics. Thus, the seminar will serve as a “think tank” for innovation and application.