Global Lunch Briefs

Global Lunch Briefs are opportunities for interdisciplinary groups of 6-12 colleagues to meet for informal lunches and discussions on issues of global relevance.  You specify the day, the Center pays for and orders lunch.  To form a group, send a brief email stating the topic and naming the participants (indicating their department/unit affiliations) to Melissa Slogan.  We ask that a group have members of at least three different departments/units.  Once a group is established, we will work with the applicant to schedule up to four meetings. In return for lunch, we ask that the group develop a report or product (talk, symposium, working paper, etc.) that can be shared with the wider community.


Improving Student Learning and Awareness for Global Experiences.  Over four lunches during spring semester, we will convene small groups of faculty from across the university to discuss how best to equip UVA undergraduate students for independent research, study, internships, and service-learning projects in the community and abroad. This issue has heightened importance because of the priority placed by the Cornerstone Plan on providing students with high-impact, global learning experiences. Such experiences attract our highest-initiative, highest-achieving students, and their educational promise is great. But they also pose risks for student safety, for trauma and consternation when students abroad encounter reactions to their own presence that they do not have adequate background knowledge to understand, and for potential negative impact on community partners that host our students. These risks in turn raise the question of how to mentor students sufficiently to deal with often unfamiliar situations, seek appropriate knowledge, make informed decisions, and so forth. Our goal with our lunch series is to build collaborations across Grounds and new ways of guiding students through coursework and the curriculum to address these issues. Interested faculty or staff are invited to contact Ira Bashkow (Anthropology – ib6n) or Catarina Krizancic (ISO – ck3n).

Body and Spirit in a Global Perspective. This group of colleagues from anthropology, religious studies, psychiatry, and medicine will convene four times over the course of the spring semester to discuss our mutual interests in understanding how the body figures as a site of engagement for religion and spirituality and how people from a range of traditions engage with religion and spirituality in their pursuit of health. What ontological assumptions do people make as they attempt to improve their health and wellbeing through their engagements with religion and spirituality?  What is the role of embodied sensory experience in religion and spirituality? What are the rearticulations of ontologies and practices involved in transnational wellness movements that combine health and spirituality?  Our sites of engagement include Uganda, Madagascar, China, Cuba, Tibet and the United States, and the majority involve transnational migrations of people, ideas, and technologies.  By thinking about these cases as a group we hope to develop new lines of transnational interdisciplinary inquiry and to strengthen several nascent collaborations within the university and the wider academy.  Contact China Scherz.

Risk and Danger. Colleagues from History, Sociology, Architecture, and Engineering & Society will meet to explore the relationship between risk and modernity. What is risk? Where and how has risk been conceptualized, measured, and managed? Can human beings ever fully know the risks they face?  In what ways has the discourse of risk shaped understandings of finance, the environment, technology, business, and medicine? We will explore these questions through readings by Ulrich Beck, Lorraine Daston, Mike Davis, Mary Douglas and Naomi Klein. Contact Erik Linstrum and Sarah Milov.


Grassroots initiatives and urban spaces. Colleagues from the departments of Art, Architecture, Anthropology, Religious Studies, Classics, Sociology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Fralin Museum, and the Arts Libraries meet to explore how grassroots initiatives and lived experiences of ordinary people around the globe shape the architecture and spatial organization of cities, both ancient and modern. Visit the group’s website for more information. Contact Foteini Kondyli.

Regionalism in the study of global media and telecommunications. Colleagues from Media Studies, Engineering & Society, Spanish, Italian & Portuguese meet to discuss flows of media texts, capital, aesthetics and technology through the lenses of nations, regions, language groups, cultures and locales.  Contact Christopher Ali.

What does global mean in higher education today?. A discussion of universities as global phenomena, the ends they serve (educational, financial and political), the geographical unevenness of their “global” distribution and the issue of whether some disciplines rather than others drive priorities.  Colleagues hail from Anthropology, English, International Studies Office, Global Development Studies, Architecture, Music and Politics.  Contact Richard Handler.

Inequality in global context. A reading group of colleagues in Economics, History, Religious Studies, Politics and English regarding inequality in global and national context.  We started last spring with a reading of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century and this semester are reading Pickett  & Wilkinson’s The Spirit Level: Why Equality Makes Societies Stronger, Hacker & Pierson’s Winner -Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class and Rawls’ Theory of Justice.  Contact Brian Owensby.

Interactions among land, people and climate. This group, with colleagues of Environmental Sciences, Religious Studies, Civil and Systems Engineering, Anthropology McIntire and Batten, focuses on how global allocation among agriculture and natural land alters global climate — in particular how the balance among food production, biofuels and forests feeds back on climate in a world dominated by fossil fuel-induced warming.  Contact Deborah Lawrence.