Jan. 5, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 9

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    CHI program on mass media under way

    The Chicago Humanities Institute has begun its Program in Public Spheres and the Globalization of Media with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

    The institute, which was named a Rockefeller Foundation Residency Site for Fellowships in the Humanities for 1994 through 1997, is one of more than 25 institutions throughout the United States to receive three years of Rockefeller funds to develop innovative approaches to humanistic studies.

    The Program in Public Spheres and the Globalization of Media promotes humanistic research on emergent public spheres and the variable global cultures of mass media, including print, performance and electronic forms.

    "The goal is to link Chicago's classic strengths in the humanities to emergent, contemporary issues related to the public sphere and globalization," said Arjun Appadurai, the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Professor in South Asian Languages & Civilizations and Director of the Chicago Humanities Institute.

    " 'Public sphere' describes a democratic space somewhere between small, intimate groups and processes controlled by the state," Appadurai said. "The media can be considered part of democratic America's 'public sphere.' 'Globalization' means the fact that we are living in a world in which politics, economics and cultures cross national boundaries. Here, as well, the media have an important impact on globalization.

    "Over the next three years, Chicago's Rockefeller program will help make the humanities a fresh voice in debates on these issues. Of the institutions receiving Rockefeller grants in 1994, Chicago is the only one to combine media studies with issues related to the public sphere and globalization."

    Each year, grant funds support residential awards for one University Fellowship for nine months as well as up to four Institute Fellowships for three to four months in the spring. The University Fellow coordinates a workshop-seminar during the academic year.

    This year's University Fellow is Terence Smith, professor at the University of Sydney. This year's Institute Fellows are Lisa Cartwright, University of Rochester; Sean Cubitt, Liverpool John Moores University; Laura Kipnis, Northwestern; and Javier Sanjines C., University of Maryland at College Park.

    The workshop for 1994-95, already under way, is "Mass Media and the Politics of the Public Sphere." It focuses on the ways in which national governments and state apparatuses seek to define and co-opt media resources and messages, while other entities (local or transnational) seek to resist such state control. Workshops titled "Globalized Production of Local Identities" and "Democratization and Global Mass Mediation" will follow in 1995-96 and 1996-97, respectively.

    For more information, call the Chicago Humanities Institute at 702-8274.