IFS SUMMER SESSION 2020
The IFS is committed to making the summer capstone experience meaningful even though it will be taught remotely. We are aware that, in the present conditions, some students will find it difficult to immerse themselves in a long-term project or spend considerable time on Zoom. To this end, we have reconfigured our course and research seminar offerings according to the following four principles:
1. Flexibility. As before, we plan to offer four courses: two thematic courses (taught in French by Guillaume Faburel and Sarah Mazouz) and two research seminars (taught in English by Allison Korinek and Liz Fink)
Both seminars will constitute structured yet open-ended spaces in which students will devote time to personal projects. Both will also provide methodological and pre-professional training, individual mentorship, and workshops in which students provide and receive feedback
2. Collective reflexion on our present moment. Rather than operating as if things were normal, we will begin with the uncertainty of a pandemic that is so difficult to understand in real time. Our four courses will launch a collective reflexion on what it means to conduct research in abnormal times, without access to archives or fieldwork, without material or emotional security. This crisis forces us to confront the broader constraints — institutional, material, emotional — that bear on our research. At the same time, our faculty’s disciplines —history, sociology, anthropology, urban studies, environmental studies —provide tools with which to analyze a health and economic crisis that, like all disasters, reveals and accentuates underlying inequalities while ushering in new forms of governance.
Without limiting themselves to Covid-19, both thematic courses will thus explore some dimensions of this historical moment. Guillaume Faburel’s course will explore this crisis as an urban and environmental one, linked to climate change and our changing relationships to nature. Students will explore the ways people in France and elsewhere inhabit and relate to urban spaces, biopolitics, and modes of urban governmentality. Sarah Mazouz’s course will focus on the political dimensions of the crisis. Students will consider national questions (the decision to hold municipal elections, freedom of circulation, the specific situation of migrants) and more intimate ones, such as inter-personal relations, clothing, and hygiene.
Both courses will move back-and-forth in time and space, with comparisons between epochs as well as nations or continents. Both will also invite social actors, activists, and experts to share insights and experiences with the students.
3. Professional development. Allison Korinek’s seminar will accompany students as they research and write a significant paper, one they could use, if they wish, in applications to Ph.D. programs. She will provide insights into Ph.D. programs, the life of a doctoral student, and the application process. Liz Fink’s seminar will provide a skills-centered framework for students working on non-academic projects. Both seminars will begin with a shared session on digital resources with a librarian, and will invite speakers to share insight and expertise throughout.
4. Pedagogical inventivity. All of us understand the limits of remote teaching as well as Zoom fatigue. We also realize that confinement breeds a yearning for creative interaction and sociability. The summer faculty will thus devise open-ended, varied modes of teaching, both synchronous and asynchronous: small cohorts within each course, workshops, one-on-one meetings, conversations with outside speakers, and assignments of different lengths and formats.