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Global Orthodoxy and International Politics @ Northeastern

Proposer: Dr. Sarah Riccardi-Swartz

The current war in Ukraine, the scale of Eastern Orthodoxy’s engagement in geopolitics, and the rise of the Orthodox far right in the United States all raise critical questions about the politics of religious values, just war theories, political claims to religious sites of heritage, and the secular state in relationship to religious institutions, as well as global concerns about human rights and rising moral authoritarianism. Global Orthodoxy and International Politics @ Northeastern fosters a collaborative, cross-disciplinary conversation among faculty in the greater Boston area whose expertise is centered on Orthodox Christianity, geopolitics, Church-State relations, and adjacent interests to engage questions and projects attending to (but not limited to) the Russian-Ukraine War, Orthodox Colonialism and Africa, Orthodoxy and the Global South, and Orthodoxy and the Far Right. Networked faculty members will work together to develop panels for conferences and special journal volumes dedicated to topical interests. To foster interdisciplinary conversations, the lab will generate opportunities for discussion by co-sponsoring, with departments and centers at Northeastern, two visiting lectures by leading experts on Global Orthodoxy and Politics during the Fall of 2024. We also anticipate hosting these scholars in smaller workshop settings with faculty and graduate students from New England who are focused on global religious networks of Orthodoxy and their attendant political movements.  Funding from the Global Ideas Lab will support invited scholars who are at the forefront of these questions to come to the Boston campus for a series of critical and generative conversations.

Past Ideas Labs 2023-2024

Global Urban Asia @ Northeastern

Proposer: Dr. Gavin Shatkin

Global Urban Asia @ Northeastern seeks funds to build collaboration amongst a growing cluster of faculty whose expertise span East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia and share interests in questions of extended urbanization, spatial inequality, and climate justice. They also belong to heavily overlapping academic circles, and this presents opportunities for the development of panels at conferences and joint submissions to journals. This proposal seeks to develop opportunities to convene this group for discussion by working with other units to co-sponsor up to two visiting lectures by prominent experts on Asian urbanism, such as Malini Ranganathan of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Marco Garrido of the University of Chicago during the Spring of 2024. We will also engage these scholars in smaller venues with the emerging cluster of faculty and graduate student Asia-focused urbanists to stimulate discussion about shared interests.

Global Urban Asia @ Northeastern seeks to convene the growing number of faculty and students on the Boston campus studying urban issues in Asia for a series of conversations on the massive transformations attending Asia’s urbanization process.  The historically unprecedented speed and scale of the region’s urbanization raises critical questions of the politics of rights, justice, claims to space, and dispossession that always attend urbanization, as well as global concerns about climate justice.  Global Ideas Lab funds will be used to invite scholars who are at the leading edge of these questions to the Boston campus for a series of critical conversations. 

A Scoping Review of the Leishmaniases in Kenya: An In-Depth Extension on Vectors and Diagnostics

Proposer: Dr. Richard Wamai

A Scoping Review of the Leishmaniases in Kenya: An In-Depth Extension on Vectors and Diagnostics- On November 13, 2023, Kephera Diagnostics (Framingham, MA) and Dr. Richard Wamai submitted a proposal to NIH to develop a new diagnostic for Visceral leishmaniasis  (VL) in East Africa. VL is a neglected tropical disease present in Kenya, and is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality and thus an important influence in the country’s health landscape. The Global Ideas Lab grant will help Dr. Wamai and his team disseminate their work. We plan to share this scoping review extension through publication and a conference. After using this money to do this, we will have contributed further to the literature on leishmaniasis in Kenya. We will use our findings to inform our future research priorities and also share these with influential health leaders in Kenya including our contacts at the Ministry of Health.

The Center’s mission of enriching scholarship on fostering international cooperation, empathy, and understanding is related to this project. Cooperation is crucial to combating leishmaniasis as it often requires a myriad of perspectives from different backgrounds. The project will provide a framework for future cooperation on combating leishmaniasis in Kenya through its aims to provide a more sophisticated understanding on where the gaps in research lie. Finally, disseminating research on leishmaniasis increases the empathy surrounding the people who are ultimately infected. Neglected tropical diseases are termed “neglected” because of the lack of care for the people they affect, and are thus not talked about as widely in both academic literature and popular media. This project will increase communication on this disease and shed more light on the issue of leishmaniasis. It will open up a conversation in the global health neglected diseases space and serve as a resource for promoting intervention cooperation and design.