Inaugural 2018–19 Summer Program in Social Science Set to Begin

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Lee Sandberg

Organized by the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, and developed by Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor, the 2018–19 Summer Program in Social Science will commence on June 18, 2018, as part of a global collaborative effort to draw together twenty early-career scholars from countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. The program aims to enrich and expand the realm of social sciences through the confrontation of different intellectual traditions and perspectives; to facilitate and enhance the dialogue between various scientific disciplines and communities; and to strengthen international networks across continents. This innovative program will take place over a two-year cycle, beginning with a two-week session on the IAS campus (June 18 to June 29), followed by one week mid-2019 at one of the two collaborating institutions in South Africa and Colombia, with continuous communication facilitated among the scholars throughout the two-year period.

“It is crucial for the development of the social sciences and humanities to include perspectives from the global South, which are often under-represented in academic syllabi as well as in research initiatives,” said Fassin. “Our Summer Program is a modest contribution to correcting this bias.”

The Summer Program in Social Science will be led by Fassin in collaboration with Sarah Nuttall, Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand and Director of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, and Mara Viveros Vigoya, Professor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and former Member in the School of Social Science.

Program fellows will pursue and present their own research projects during the program. Special attention will be paid to local contexts of production and global modalities of circulation of knowledge and the participants will be invited to exchange their research experiences. The purpose is to constitute a genuinely international and interdisciplinary network of social scientists from the global South.

The Summer Program in Social Science is made possible by a seven-year $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and will be conducted in collaboration with the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and the Escuela de Estudios de Género and Centro de Estudios Sociales at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá. Future cycles will take place in 2020–21 and 2022–23.

The program began in 2015 with a three-year pilot initiative organized by the Institute in collaboration with the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala. Participants explored environmental conflicts in Buenos Aires, income inequality in Egypt, water shortage in rural Iran, and negotiations at the World Trade Organization, among other themes, resulting in a collaborative volume provisionally titled “The Politics of Global Knowledge.” For a presentation of this initiative, see

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