“Knowledge Travels” was the name of one of the first truly IAS-y courses I developed as a faculty member at UW Bothell. A core course, it introduced students to the concept of interdisciplinary and engaged education by posing the question of the difference between tourism and travel. Students learned that their own inquiries – their “knowledge travels” – would emerge from their personal experience and require them to conduct research in ways that opened onto encounters with people and ideas outside of their everyday lives.
In this issue of Intersections, you will read stories that make this metaphor a reality. In each, personal experiences with travel and mobility are central catalysts, something that spurs lifelong commitments to learning and action. These stories are increasingly important today, as travel and mobility become more restricted, as nations close their internal and external borders, filtering who can enter and exit more aggressively. As a result, educational engagements with travel and mobility are both newly threatened and critically important.
The faculty story describes how Maryam Griffin’s scholarship on the politics of movement in the West Bank emerged from her experience travelling there while living for a summer at her uncle’s house in Lebanon. This seed grew into a study of how public transportation works in the territory, and how it reveals a complex interplay of control and resistance.
The student story is an interview with Mohamed Bughrara, conducted while he was on-site in Lebanon doing his field work as part of the first cohort of the new Global Scholars Program. Buhghrara leveraged the support of this program to help him engage with a non-profit refugee services provider.
The alumni story highlights Courtney McCurdy’s pathway from a love of travel to global and experiential learning in IAS to graduating with a degree in Global Studies to working with refugees in North Carolina. McCurdy brings to light the challenges facing refugees and resettlement providers in the current U.S. political environment.
As always, you can learn more about what students, faculty, and alumni are doing on the IAS News Blog. To keep up to date on IAS events open to the campus and the public, you can also subscribe to a weekly digest of upcoming events. If you are an IAS alum, discover ways to connect and get involved by visiting our alumni page online.
Past issues of Intersections are accessible from the right sidebar here.
Feel free to send comments on these stories or ideas for others to IASinfo@uw.edu.
Dean, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences