Jimmy Carter emphasized, “Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing… you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn’t affect two-thirds of the people of the world. ” It’s difficult to give a rigorous definition for globalization and to name its consequences, since the term is becoming more popular in many different aspects. As Carter suggested, we are seeing mostly the surfaces of the phenomenon, which are the Internet, cell phones and computers, or technology and innovations.
Nevertheless, there are still so many controversies taking place around that affect the other “two-thirds of the people of the world. ” Thad the chance to attend and was fascinated by three talks that addressed these events directly: The British Social Welfare Office by Dr. Robin Chapdelaine from Denison University, Making Language Relevant by Dr. Gabriele Dillmann from Denison University and Civic Disobedience by author of Divided Cities: Beirut, Belfast, Jerusalem, Mostar and Nicosia, Jon Calame.
In the context of globalization, as Internet, cellphones and computers are becoming more common than ever, Dr. Dillmann opened her talk by introducing a very special way of teaching the German language in her upper-level class, which is incorporating the use of technology. Her purpose was to give students a better understanding of a crisis that is the consequence of globalization – the refugee crisis. The very first unique difference about her class is that, it doesn’t follow the format of a traditional lecture-type class.
This is a shared course between university students at Denison University, American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), at Ohio State University (OSU) and Hope College. Mostly, Denison students will sit in a classroom, make use of Google Hangout and Skype to talk to and do group projects with students in AUGB and OSU. They will also talk with their partners at AUGB and OSU outside of class time about different issues such as politics, and especially the refugee crisis. From my perspective, this new technique of learning language is very innovative and effective.
From Dr. Dillmann’s stories about her students, this method has done many great things that she hadn’t expected before. For example, when given a topic to discuss about global politics, it turned out that both students in America and Bulgaria are so well informed. Thanks to the successful innovation of technology, Millenials are now enjoying the benefit of being provided with the accessibility to information and news about different parts of the world. Globalization has also bought the desire to learn new language in order to connect to different areas.
Benedict Anderson emphasizes in his book Imagined Communities that language is native to a specific area, and is one of the characteristics that gives people the sense of belonging. In the context of global connection, the desire to understand people from across the globe has increasingly grown. This growth could explain why the American and Bulgarian students are trying to learn their second language. However, Dr. Dillmann noticed that if a person speaks with another in the language that is in their native, they would be better to express themselves.
This again exemplifies Anderson’s idea about languages and mother tongues. While the EU students tend to explain and discuss their personal views, American students are polite and avoid asking too many personal questions; however, the most meaningful part is that, both students have learned a lot from their conversations with each other. They had the chance to listen to a variety of perspectives from friends across the globe, about what Germany learned from its history of migration, why people migrated, about integration, assimilation, diversity, fears and stereotypes – most being abstract terms that are even very hard or a native to articulate fully in English.
They had the chance to use cultural analysis tools to further understand the language that they are pursuing. Nonetheless, when Dr. Dillmann’s American student mentioned the fact that Bulgaria is so close to Greece, and while Greece is doing so much to help with the refugee crisis, Bulgaria should also feel the tensions and urges of action. Dr. Dillmann said, “He didn’t notice that the Bulgarian girl was so embarrassed. ” The girl must have felt so bad and she didn’t dare to talk about how Bulgaria is treating the refugees. ee her reaction to the comments as the example to the way we are looking at “us” versus “others”. We are across the globe from the center of the crisis.
We are judging them about how they settle an issue without being in their shoes. It must be very hard for the girl to say how she thinks about the problem. The crisis is there, in her country, and she is the one who knows more about all of the insecurities and economic consequences of the crisis. A very interesting question arises then: If there is a similar refugee crisis close to America, will the U. S. pen the border and take in as many refugees as it can? Regarding the refugee crisis, Jon Calame also mentioned a controversial problem about the Romani people in Italy and the Roma camp in his talk Civic Disobedience. Calame didn’t explain, but it can be understood that the Roma camp is a part of the segregated housing plan by the Italian government. I was curious about the Gypsies and their origins, so I went on and did some research on them. I found out that there is an estimated 150,000 Roma, or Gypsies, live in Italy, many of them in encampments on the edges of cities such as Rome and Naples.
The Roma are a distinct ethnic and cultural group with their origins in northern India. They have lived throughout Europe, particularly in the center and south, for many centuries. Calame also mentioned that not many Italians say good thing about the Roma camp. The camp has bad infrastructure and bad water system, alongside with the fact that most of the camps are violation to the Human Rights. There are now about 1100 people in 198 container houses, which offer a limited amount of living space (22 – 28 square meters), but are inhabited by up to nine people.
According to the relevant legislation, four people should have at least 56 square meters at their disposal. It is impossible for inhabitants to enjoy normal daily activities such as sleeping, eating and studying, in such a limited space. The health of the inhabitants in the camp, especially children, is further endangered by the presence of an incinerator for toxic and harmful waste just 800 meters from the camp. Roma immigrants are being treated poorly and their basic rights of housing, education, and health are being violated.
They have difficulty getting access to school or hospital, and are the targets of hostility from the Italian people in the center of the city. There are even numbers on their door so that the police can find the person quick when they need to arrest someone. I was startled to learn that there are still places in the world where the government is denying the most basic rights of their citizens, even though those immigrant citizens was a part of the country’s history. The Roma camp in Italy reminded me of the banlieue in Paris, mentioned in Soccer Empire by Laurent Dubois.
There are two different worlds inside a city – the center, and the suburbs. The residents of both the Roma camp and the banlieue have always been the ones who suffer from hostility, outrage and disdain. One recent newspaper survey found 68% of people wanted all Italy’s Gypsies (Roma) expelled, whether or not they held Italian passports. Another poll said more than three-quarters of people want unauthorized camps demolished. Once again, the difference between “us” versus “others” has been the cause for this hatred attitude towards the Roma, whether or not they were the citizens of the country.
The pride of one’s nation and the limited knowledge of the nation’s history about migration and demography have led many to developing the anti-Roma feeling. Even though global connection and international integration are becoming the trends, there are still “divided cities” that need the attention of the global forces in order to eliminate racial discrimination and ensure basic human rights for everyone.
Another talk that addressed the human rights topic is “The British Social Welfare Office: The Case of Juvenile Labor, Reform, and Nationalism in Colonial Calabar, 1950s”, presented by Dr. Robin Chapdelaine from Denison University. Her research explored the social, legal and economic conflicts that existed when international efforts to establish protections for ‘children of the Empire’ collided with the need for domestic productive and reproductive labor. The development of the Social Welfare Office in Calabar, and the increase in child membership to clubs, such as the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides, served as a way to indoctrinate Nigerian children to develop a national consciousness – a consciousness that encouraged allegiance to Britain by way of obedience and service.
Dr. Chapdelaine opened her talk by giving a brief introduction about the African children in the colonial Calabar, Nigeria. Many global efforts have been made before 1950s in order to improve the quality of lives of colonial children. For example, in 1920, the trafficking of women and children has been discussed at the League of Nations. On June 1931, the International Conference on African was held in Geneva, discussing the fate of the African children, specifically in the areas of infant mortality, child labor and education.
From 1932 into the 1950s, investigations and new approaches had been launched to deal with trafficking issue. However, it was still a long and painful history. Despite much of the international efforts to establish protections for the children, the establishment of the Social Welfare Office in Calabar (or the Calabar Remand Home) and the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides movement (1920) had served as measures against the desire for independence from southeastern Nigeria.
The purpose of the home was “for children considered in need of care and protection”, and also the training ground for farmers. It was also the headquarters for the Girl Guides movement. However, their definition of “being protected” was a little bit odd at that time. The children were being exploited under difficult working conditions. Some of them were as young as 3-4 years old. They were taught to develop a national consciousness toward Britain. Having Nigerian children developing allegiance to Britain wasn’t the only strange thing about the system.
Even though “under protection”, the children were still the victims of child pawns, child brides and kidnapping. What is more upsetting is that all of the above were examples of child labors, or “modern slavery”, as what Kevin Bales suggested in his book Modern Slavery. Going back to the quotation by Jimmy Carter, it can be seen from this story how globalization has its negative consequences. It’s the need for domestic productive and reproductive labor from a colonial country that acted as an opposite force to the international forces to protect children.
People, especially children, were treated as commodities through a variety form of forced labor. Even though the event happened a while ago, Kevin Bales gives a definition for modern slavery in the present tense – slavery still exists these days, for no matter how different many forms it has, slavery is still a violation to the rights of human. As the name of the series “Global Studies Seminar” suggested, the talks has explored intensely different aspects of the globalization trend, both positive and negative consequences.
Making Language Relevant by Dr. Gabriele Dillmann gives an interesting view on how technology can be used to understand the global issue such as the refugee crisis, and how people in different places react to the issue. Civic Disobedience by Jon Calame and The British Social Welfare Office by Dr. Robin Chapdelaine both explore the violation to rights of human in a different ways and different time periods. The three talks have left a deep and impressive sympathy to me, and I was given an improved idea about how people around the world viewed the globalization phenomenon differently, based on their locations and experiences.