This year, Fordham faculty created the Global Studies Consortium (GSC), a new Fordham network that aims to support global studies and research throughout the University. It aims to align and incorporate global projects like the Working Group on Migration—a group of faculty who visited the U.S.-Mexico border and collaborate with refugee organizations—and the upcoming Hostile Terrain exhibition co-hosted by Fordham next fall, which will feature University of California, Los Angeles professor Jason De León’s research on migrants who disappeared or died at the border.
The consortium is inviting faculty to become affiliated members.
“What we really want to do is incorporate a lot of the work that our faculty and staff are doing all over the world, and channel them through the consortium,” said O. Hugo Benavides, Ph.D., consortium director and chair of the sociology and anthropology department.
Collaborating to Avoid ‘Double Efforts’
Benavides formed the consortium last fall along with two co-directors: Aseel Sawalha, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology, and Matthew Chin, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Graduate School of Social Service. GSC’s goal is to promote and integrate existing global research initiatives across the University’s different schools, departments, and programs—especially projects that are very similar.
“That’s one of the things we’re really interested in, so that people don’t do double efforts and reinvent the wheel,” said Benavides. “[With the consortium] they can reach out very easily to other colleagues that are doing similar work.”
To better understand the needs of his colleagues, Benavides and his colleagues hosted a forum this past November at the Lincoln Center campus. About 20 faculty members from at least four different schools sat at a table and shared their research objectives. A similar forum will be held next spring. Over the next couple of months, GSC will also create a consortium listserv and website.
“Our hope is to get people talking to each other so that they could do more collaborative research projects and apply for external grants,” Benavides said.
The group is also planning for some travel. It will be co-sponsoring the third Fordham University Faculty Research Abroad Program (FRAP), designed to facilitate research collaboration between Fordham and foreign scholars, next summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“Members who are affiliated to us have access to form different collaborations with other universities and colleagues at other universities,” Benavides said.
At the heart of the consortium is research that has an impact on local communities, said Benavides.
“We want to get involved with activists and artists and local communities and the kind of issues that are important and relevant to us today,” Benavides explained. “And particularly to use the strengths that our faculty have.”