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Dean’s Newsletter: Fall 2023

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and Friends of CSSH:

At the start of another fall semester, many things have changed, including the person writing this newsletter. I am Ron Sandler, professor of philosophy and Director of Northeastern’s Ethics Institute. I have been at Northeastern for over twenty years and am serving as interim dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) until our newly announced dean, Kellee Tsai, joins in spring 2024.

Dean Tsai comes to CSSH from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where she is currently dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science. Previously, she was the vice dean of humanities and social sciences, director of the East Asian studies program, and a professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on the political economy of China, party-state capitalism, the surveillance industry and reverse migration in China and India and its local developmental impact. She brings a wealth of experience in education innovation and research to CSSH and will continue to build on the school’s reputation as a leader in developing global citizens prepared to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

This year, we celebrate 125 years of Northeastern University, welcome talented and curious incoming undergraduate and graduate students, and embark on another year of academic excellence, experiential learning, and global opportunities. While we will be undergoing transitions in leadership, CSSH’s core values remain, including our commitments to free and open inquiry and to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Our students, faculty, and staff will continue to advocate for our values and mission, expressed through the Experiential Liberal Arts.

Student Summer Experiences

This summer, CSSH students traveled around the world to expand their academic horizons. Through our Dialogues of Civilization, they studied food and culture in Vietnam and Cambodia, the global refugee crisis in Italy, and ethnic identity and conflict in Croatia and Bosnia, among other topics.

Back at our Boston campus, incoming Freshmen participated in the Summer Bridge program. A key part of Northeastern’s diversity and inclusion mission, the program invites students from diverse backgrounds and unrepresented communities for a week-long preview of the Northeastern experience.

CSSH’s Ethics Institute hosted IDEAS; a two-week summer program for undergraduate students that seeks to promote effective education about responsible and ethical artificial intelligence. The program uses a new model for inclusive, interdisciplinary education, providing undergraduates from across the globe the opportunity to spend two weeks in Boston to learn from experts in philosophy, computer science, law, science and technology studies, and more.

Also this summer, twelve philosophy graduate students received nine intensive weeks of training at the AIDE Summer Training Program to Expand the Al and Data Ethics Research Community. Through seminars, a computer science boot camp, and professional development workshops, Northeastern faculty have prepared students to conduct cutting-edge research in the ethics of artificial intelligence, data science, and technology. This program is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation and by many Northeastern entities including the Ethics Institute, the Department of Philosophy and Religion, the Institute for Experiential Robotics, the Institute for Experiential AI, and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Welcoming New Faculty

This year, CSSH welcomes an array of talented faculty into our college. Of the many highlights, here are a few:

  • Tracy Corley joins us as Director of Programs at Northeastern’s Arlington campus. She is a Professor of the Practice in Public Policy and Urban Affairs, exploring transformative policies and science that advance justice and equity through community engagement. In 2021, she was appointed to the Social and Community Science subcommittee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Board of Scientific Counselors.
  • Alison Glassie joins us as Assistant Professor of English, with research specializing in hemispheric American literatures, modern and contemporary literatures, and the environmental humanities. Her current book project, Atlantic Shapeshifters: Sea Literature’s Fluid Forms, examines how marine science, history, and law have impacted contemporary texts in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
  • Kris Manjapra joins us as a Sterns Trustee Professor of History and Global Studies. He works at the intersection of transnational history and the critical study of race and colonialism. Kris founded a site-based nonprofit, Black History in Action, dedicated to restoring and reactivating a Black cultural heritage center in Cambridge, MA.
  • Nishith Prakash joins us as Professor of Public Policy and Economics. He is a Research Fellow at CESifo, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), HiCN Households in Conflict Network (HiCN), Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Network Researcher, Global Labor Organization (GLO), and Member of Insights on Immigration and Development (INSIDE-SPAIN).

Project Launches and Faculty Recognition

CSSH faculty continue to earn impressive grants and recognition for their academic work, and this past spring and summer were no exception.

The Global Asian Studies Program recently received a generous gift from Ji H. Min and Soojin Min—parents of a current Northeastern student—to establish an institutional commitment to Korean Studies at the university. The two-year South Korean Initiative Fund will support various programming to promote Korean Studies on campus and educate the Northeastern community about the importance of Korea in the world. We hope that the South Korean Initiative Fund will help address student demand for more Korea-related courses and events and bolster Northeastern’s mission as a global university by bringing much-needed attention to a critical region.

An outdoor version of the Unforgotten Lives exhibit travels to London, introducing the exhibition stories and work to thousands of tourists, visitors, and workers. Created in part by Professor Nicole Aljoe’s and Ignatius Sancho’s Mapping Black London research team, Unforgotten Lives presents the stories of Londoners with African, Caribbean, Asian, and Indigenous heritage who lived and worked in the city between 1560 and 1860 and recorded in London’s archives. Exploring a range of experiences, these multi-layered stories speak of love, enterprise, wealth and family life, discrimination, hardship, and resilience and resistance.

Sacred Writes, a robust public scholarship training program for scholars of religion, is led by Professor of Religion Liz Bucar. The program recently partnered with Religion Dispatches to sponsor two scholars of religion, gender, and sexuality, funded by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

Upcoming Events

CSSH is proud to host exciting opportunities for students and members of the local community to explore a world of ideas that go beyond the classroom.

Funded by the aforementioned generous gift, the Asian American Studies program will host Rethinking Korea: New Perspectives on a Critical Region, which invites distinguished scholars of culture, transnational history, environment, and international relations to offer novel perspectives on Korea while situating its complex place within global developments. The first event, “Minor Cosmopolitanism: Korean Language Transpacific Genre Fiction During the Interwar Period”, will take place Thursday, September 28, from 4:00 – 6:00 PM in Renaissance Park 909.

The School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs continues the Open Classroom series with a new theme for this semester: “Newsroom Confidential: Politics and Media 2023”. This seminar series is open to the Northeastern community and the general public. Sessions meet on Wednesdays, Sep 13 – Dec 6, 6:00-7:30 pm EST in West Village, Room 020. Those beyond the Boston campus are able to attend via livestream.

The Latinx, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies program is sponsoring Latinxs & Comedy, a speaker series that centers conversations about Latinx comedy and addresses the underrepresentation of Latinx voices in the industry and in the U.S. The first event, “An Evening with Selenis Leyva,” took place on September 21.

I am excited to announce that the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures (CIAWC) has reopened. The CIAWC seeks to enrich and support scholarship and timely analysis on how fostering international cooperation, empathy, and mutual understanding has contributed to and can contribute to solving major global challenges. A fall launch party will take place on October 24 on our Boston campus.

Looking ahead to early next semester, the Africana Studies program will be hosting a bell hooks Symposium in January 2024 at Northeastern University Oakland and again in February in Boston. The theme is “Education as the Practice of Freedom: Black Feminism in Action,” inspired by bell hooks’ book Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. This is a continuation of a series that began last Spring. A livestream of the previous event is available online.

To better highlight our students and their unique stories, CSSH has redesigned its student pathway series. The updated stories paint a more streamlined picture of the CSSH experience, placing greater emphasis on the opportunities students find and explore in the college. Moving forward, we will continue to feature the best and brightest of our students using this format.

I look forward to engaging with the Northeastern community during my time as Interim Dean. With all the exciting events that students, staff, and faculty of the college have planned, I’m greatly excited about what we will learn and accomplish together. I wish everyone a successful fall semester!

Best wishes,

Ronald Sandler

Interim Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

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