Slide background

History Professor Named International Perspectives Faculty Fellow

by Web on April 2, 2018

Dr. David C. Davis, associate professor of history at Millsaps College, will be the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations International Perspectives Faculty Fellow for the 2018-19 academic year.

He will teach in the fall of 2018 a seminar focused on local identities in the global village. Davis, along with students enrolled in the seminar and participating in a living/learning community (known as Davis Fellows), will plan and support a college-wide conference on the topic in the spring of 2019.

“I have been intrigued by this tension between global forces that shape our local lives and the responses to this perceived loss of identity and autonomy as it plays out in places and people around the world,” Davis said. “Now I have a chance to explore this topic with students from around the world and others who have traveled and studied abroad. One response by individuals and places has been to cultivate, explore, and promote a distinctive identity, or brand, in the global marketplace. What makes me or my home place unique and distinctive in an increasing hegemonic global culture? The seminar will pivot around this concept of competitive identity at the individual, local, and national levels with a goal of helping students see how to build occupational citizenship in the world of work after globalization.”

Dr. Keith Dunn, provost and dean of the college at Millsaps, said Davis is well suited to lead the International Perspectives Program.

“David has long been a leader in internationalizing the Millsaps educational experience,” he said. “All of his courses have focused on global issues, from his geographically focused courses on Africa and the Middle East, to his influence and participation on the Heritage program. He was instrumental, along with Dr. Iren Omo-Bare, associate professor of political science at Millsaps, in bringing the Rwanda Presidential Scholarship program to Millsaps. David has also worked closely with the McNair program focusing on international Christian mission opportunities, and he has collaborated extensively on international programs in Ghana and Tanzania with Omo-Bare and Dr. Julian Murchison, a former associate professor of sociology and anthropology professor at Millsaps, respectively.”

Davis’s seminar in the fall will explore the impact of globalization on local identities, both domestic and international. Students will study the global transformations that impact all of us, including the global economy of fragmented workers and mobile capital, migrants and transnationalism, terrorism and conflict, and tourism and entertainment. This will include discussions of the resiliency of local identities and urban and rural resistance in the face of globalization.

Students in the International Perspectives Program will develop case studies to explore the tension/dynamic between global connections and local affiliations. They will then move to a case study of identity and place-branding in Mississippi, looking at how local identities are constructed through music, cuisine, landscape, culture, history, and rituals.

Students will explore the interaction between global connectivity and local identity formation – economics, epidemics, migration, terrorism, diversity, casinos, and agriculture – making the case that this has been an evolving dynamic since, and perhaps before, the Columbian Exchange. Co-curricular field trips may include visits to the Eudora Welty House in Jackson, trips to Canton and the nearby Nissan manufacturing plant, Natchez, Vicksburg, and tours of the Mississippi History and Civil Rights museums in Jackson. Films made in and/or depicting Mississippi may also be incorporated.

In the final component of the seminar, students will develop a place-branding campaign for a location important to them. This exercise will emphasize the importance of identifying, highlighting, and valuing the distinctions and uniqueness of local identity in the face of globalization.