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As an extension of the FMS national research project, five of the organizers have formed the Global Identities Group with the intention of producing a collaboratively authored book that will examine and comment on several of the most crucial social issues facing our diverse society today. The central conception of the project is that scholarly work in the humanities contributes an indispensable perspective on the meaning of social thought and action—one that cannot be achieved solely from the point of view of the empirically oriented disciplines. Speculative interpretations of the human condition (such as literature, film, and philosophical thought-experiments) represent real, possible, and even impossible social situations and predicaments, plumbing the depths of morality, ethics, and human existence. The specialized training and vocabulary of the theoretical humanities, in turn, enable scholars to offer second-order interpretations that are indispensable to illuminating, systematizing, and making socially relevant the results of imaginative exploration. Our primary goal as public intellectuals is the dissemination and synthesis of social knowledge achieved through narrative and philosophical interpretation.

By bringing together the scholars involved in this initiative, we expect to produce a book greater in breadth and depth than any one of us could produce by ourselves. Collaboratively researched and written articles, while common in the natural and social sciences, are rare in the humanistic disciplines. By changing our accustomed methodological practices, we are working toward two goals. On the one hand, we are self-consciously working against the “lone genius” model of humanistic scholarship by highlighting the social nature of all knowledge. On the other hand, we are borrowing what is best about the “laboratory” working environment that occurs in the social and natural sciences as we each allow the ideas and perspectives of the other participants to provoke and influence our own.

Proposed Topics for Inclusion

Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity
Mixed-Race Social Movements
Abortion & Reproductive Technologies
The Prison Industrial Complex


Paula Moya, Stanford University
Linda Martín Alcoff, Syracuse University
Michael Hames-García, University of Oregon
Satya P. Mohanty, Cornell University
Tobin Siebers, University of Michigan




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