Some Preliminary Ideas
on Transnational Studies

SBS 450 / ASB 494 Topics in Local/Global
Kristin Koptiuch
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Arizona State University West
Phoenix, Arizona 85069-7100

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Transnational studies proceeds from a basic assumption: it is no longer adequate to comprehend, explain, and make policy in community, nation, or world based on modern social or cultural theories that assumed an isomorphic order between people, place, heritage. This relation has been definitively displaced by transnational flows and forces that now crosscut these categories of race/nation/culture and link people and social processes in unprecedented fashion:
All of these changes emerged historically in the later half of the 20th century as a result of the transformation of complexly interconnected national and local relations, situated in an increasingly influential global framework of interaction.
Yet still-existing national boundaries, polities, economies, identities, hegemonies, linguistic and cultural heritage are by no means simply vestiges of a previous modern world order, destined to atrophy. Nor are local particularities and differences uniformly destined to be globally homogenized. Rather, nations and other even more intensively differentiated local scenes and identities are constantly being re-produced or wholly re-invented as local--and this is coexistent with the dispersion-effects of transnationalization. Paradoxically, do hyper-localized social forms and practices represent the constitutive conditions that on the one hand, make possible the transnational and on the other hand, call it into question? However disjunctive they seem, the two levels are very much internally related, overlapping, intersecting. Recognition of this interplay is an important component of transnational studies.
Just as in practice corporations, governments, communities, and individuals already have adopted different strategies for initiating and/or contending with the effects of transnationalization, critical scholarly awareness now requires new modes of social and cultural theory, new research strategies, new modes of representation. This course in transnational studies offers students cutting-edge interdisciplinary theory, research methods and (when feasible) information retrieval techniques suitable for apprehending this very current transnational moment.
Some key areas of focus include:

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