Transnationalism is the subject of a growing, but fragmented, body of scholarship. The researchers who study businesses, social movements, NGOs, artistic production, and families or religions that cross borders rarely see themselves as part of the same conversation. Yet, we are convinced that to understand contemporary social life we must explore the connections between different types of transnational dynamics with “non-transnational” phenomena. We need to analyze how transnational practices and processes in different domains relate to and inform one another.

This seminar attempts to bridge these gaps by fostering conversations about a variety of topics, from a variety of disciplines, around the world. Our goal is to identify the common themes, structures, ideas, and institutions that characterize transnational social dynamics and processes in different arenas, and to understand how, in response, we must rethink conventional notions about identity, citizenship, community, and society. Faculty and graduate students from Harvard as well as other Boston-area institutions are invited to present their ongoing research. We also invite two outside speakers each year. The seminar is co-chaired by Jocelyn Viterna, associate professor of sociology, Harvard University, and Peggy Levitt, professor of sociology, Wellesley College.