v i r t u a l  d i a s p o r a s 
and global problem solving project


Commissioned Authors 

Phineas Baxandall
Harvard University

Baxandall's chief interests are in political economy, especially comparative employment policy and the welfare state and the politics of the "New Economy." He has taught at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences (1990-91). His recent work focuses on the political construction of unemployment and explanations for the varying political salience of unemployment more generally. His dissertation looks at changes in the political meaning of unemployment in Hungary, both by itself and in comparison to changes in Western Europe and America. Other interests include welfare reform, pension systems, and the politics of work-time. He is a long-time member of the editorial board of Dollars & Sense, a journal of popular political economy. Recent publications include "The Socialist Taboo against Unemployment: Ideology, Soft-Budget Constraints, or the Politics of De-Stalinization," in East European Politics and Societies, and "When is Unemployment Politically Important? Explaining Differences in Political Salience across European Countries," in West European Politics (2001). His forthcoming chapter on Hungarian social policy will be publishedin Diminishing Welfare: A Cross-National Study of Social Provision (2001). Baxandall also wrote a chapter, "Post-communist Unemployment Politics: Historical Legacies and the Curious Acceptance of Job Loss," in Capitalism and Democracy in Eastern and Central Europe: Assessing the Legacy of Communist Rule, G. Ekiert and S. Hanson, eds. (forthcoming). Baxandall is a Lecturer at the Program for Degrees on Social Studies at Harvard.


Karim H. Karim
Carleton University

Karim H. Karim is an Assistant Professor in Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication. He has previously worked as Senior Researcher in the International Comparative Research Group and as Senior Policy Analyst in the Multiculturalism Secretariat, in the Department of Canadian Heritage. He has also served as Chairperson of the Federal Digitization Task Force’s Working Group on the Accessibility to Digitized Collections and the Chairperson of Canadian Heritage’s Committee on Equal Access and Participation. Prior to his work in the Government of Canada, he reported on Canada for Compass New Features (Luxembourg) and for Inter Press Service (Rome).

Karim H. Karim’s current book, The Islamic Peril: Media and Global Violence, is published by Black Rose Books. He has published a number of chapters in edited works such as The Global Dynamics of News; The Language and Politics of Exclusion; and Islam Encountering Globalisation and articles in the Journal of International Communication; the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society; The Public: Journal of the European Institute for Communication and Culture; the Canadian Journal of Communication, and UNESCO’s World Culture Report. He is presently editing a collection of research essays by some of the leading scholars on diaspora and communication. B.A. (Columbia), M.A., Ph.D. (McGill)

His research interests include transnational communication, technology and culture, ethnicity and communication, myth and communication, and qualitative media analysis. 


Michel Laguerre 
MIT/UC Berkeley 

Michel S. Laguerre, visiting professor(2001-2) in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT, is professor and director of the Berkeley Center for Globalization and Information Technology at UC Berkeley". He has published "American Odyssey" (Cornell University Press, 1984), "Urban Poverty in the Caribbean" (Macmillan Press, 1990), "The Informal City" (Macmillan Press, 1994), "Diasporic Citizenship" (Macmillan Press, 1998), "Minoritized Space An Inquiry into the Spatial Order of Things" (University of California's Institute of Governmental Studies Press, 1999), "The Global Ethnopolis" (Macmillan Press, 2000), and "The Multitemporal City Globalization, Diasporic Temporalities and Internet Time" (forthcoming). 

His essays on business corruption, rotating credit associations among Caribbean immigrants in New York, and diasporic social formations appeared in California Management Review, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, Millennium Journal of International Studies, the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. He was a visiting professor at Harvard in 1991-2 and held in 1994-5 at UC Berkeley the Barbara Weinstock Lectureship on the Morals of Trade. He is completing a new volume entitled "The Global Digital City Information Technology and the Transformation of Silicon Valley."


Vinay Lal

Vinay Lal is Associate Professor of History at UCLA. Lal earned his B.A. and M.A. from Johns Hopkins University in 1982, and his Ph.D with distinction from the University of Chicago in 1993.His dissertation, "Committees of Inquiry and Discourses of 'Law and Order' in Twentieth-Century British India", received the Marc Galler Award for the best dissertation in the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. He has published on a wide variety of subjects, including colonialism, Indian history, popular cinema, the Indian diaspora, and the political culture of India. Lal writes on a wide variety of subjects for periodicals in the US, India, and Britain, including the Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai), The Little Magazine (Delhi), and Social Scientist (Delhi). Lengthier scholarly articles have appeared in such journals as Diaspora, Social Text, Genders, Journal of the History of Sexuality, Environmental Ethics, History and Theory, Studies in History, AmerAsia, and Emergences.

Among other subjects, he has written on various aspects of the political and legal history of colonial India, sexuality in modern India, the Hindi film, the Indian diaspora, the politics and history of history, dissent in the Gandhian mode, American politics, the politics of culture, and the global politics of knowledge. Some of his recent essays have been revised and collected in The Dialectic of Civilization and Nation-State Essays on Indian History and Culture (in press, Seagull Books, 2002). His other publications include South Asian Cultural Studies A Bibliography (Delhi, 1996), a special edited issue of the journal "Emergences" on "Islands" (November 2000), a guest-edited issue of the journal "Futures" on the social sciences (February 2002), The Empire of Knowledge: Culture and Plurality in the New Global Economy (Pluto Press, 2002), a new edition of an old ethnography, The History of Railway Thieves (reprinted, 1996), and (edited) Dissenting Knowledges, Open Futures The Multiple Selves and Strange Destinations of Ashis Nandy (Delhi Oxford, 2000). The History of History: The Politics and Career of a Form of Knowledge in Modern India is forthcoming from Oxford (Delhi, 2003).


Hala Nassar
UC Berkeley

Hala Nassar received her PhD in July 2001 in Theatre Studies at the Free University of Berlin, Germany. Her dissertation is entitled, "Palestinian Theatre Between Origins and Visions." Ms. Nassar has written on Palestinian poetry and the peace process, Palestinian theatre and peace-building, and female identity and theatre.

As a Rockefeller Foundation post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr.  Nassar plans to further her research on how "displaced Palestinians" in exile, in alienated and isolated contexts, tend to reproduce cultural forms in order to preserve their identity: family values, traditions, heritage, memory of a glorious pasts, and a yearning for return. Her research will focus on refugee stories recollected in a variety of forms including oral traditions, recitation and printed texts. A particular concern is how theatre activities, storytelling and folk dance recount the collective memories of the Palestinian women. The expected outcome of her research will be a book on Palestinian collective memory.


Robert Smith
Barnard College

Robert Smith's work focuses on Mexican migration to the US and the northeast in particular, analyzing issues of transnationlization, immigrant incorporation and stat-diaspora relations. He is currently doing a reserach project on second generation adaptation funded by the National Science Foundation. He has received postdoctoral grants form the Center for US-Mexico Studies; International Center for Migration, Ethnicity and Citizenship; the Oral History Research Project at Columbia University; and the Social Science Reserach Council. He is currently revising a book manuscript Los Ausentes Siempre Presentes The Politics of Membership, Gender and Generation in the Making of a Transnational Community. He has published more than 10 articles or book chapters on migration related issues. He is also the co-founder of MEXED, Mexican Educational Foundation of New York, a non-profit organization that creates mentorship networks and seeks scholarships for Mexican and Mexican American students in New York.


Shyam Tekwani
Nanyang Technological University

Shyam Tekwani teaches Photo-journalism at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is a photo-journalist turned academic who spent over a decade covering the conflict in Sri Lanka. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Time, Le Figaro and Der Speigel, among others. He studied History and Philosophy at the Viswabharati University, Santiniketan, India, and Photography and Digital Media at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. His research interests include terrorism, political violence, conflict reporting, propaganda and the new media.


Guobin Yang
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Professor Yang currently works on three research projects. One is an empirical and historical study of the relationship between developments in information technologies and changes in political institutions and civil society in 20th-century China. Related to this is a project on the emergence and consequences of a global Internet-based Chinese-language public sphere. The third project examines the course and consequences of the identity transformation of China's Red Guard generation. He teaches in the areas of cultural sociology, sociological theory and modern Chinese society and culture.

Recent publications include China's Red Guard Generation The Ritual Process of Identity Transformation, 1966-1999. Ph.D. Dissertation. New York University, 2000. "The Liminal Effects of Social Movements Red Guards and the Transformation of Identity," Sociological Forum 15.2 (2000), pp. 379-406. "Achieving Emotions in Collective Action Emotional Processes and Movement Mobilization in 1989 Chinese Student Movement," The Sociological Quarterly 41.4 (2000). Professor Yang received his first PhD in 1993 at Beijing Foreign Studies University, PRC; and his second PhD in 2000 from New York University.


G. Pascal Zachary
UC Berkeley

G. Pascal Zachary is visiting professor at the University of California Graduate School of Journalism, a senior writer for The Wall Street Journal, as well as a contributing editor of the newsmagazine In These Times and a columnist for Technology Review. He has published two technology-related books - Showstopper (1994), on innovation at Microsoft, and Endless Frontier, a biography of Vannevar Bush, the organizer of the Manhattan Project. His latest book, "The Global Me New Cosmopolitans and the Competitive Edge," is a study of how rich nations handle ethnic, racial and national diversity in their societies and a celebration of multicultural identity in the New Economy. It was published in July 2000 by Public Affairs Books.



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