Bringing students and faculty from UBC and beyond into contact with global interdisciplinary research on cultural encounters and exchange.
Building on an existing network of individuals across a range of disciplines, the Global Encounters Initiative (GEI) will serve as a virtual resource portal bringing together teaching materials, digital collections and databases (including maps, narratives, illustrations, and archival materials from Rare Books and Special Collections), information on lectures and events, forums for discussion, electronic exhibition spaces, and opportunities to share works-in-progress between students and faculty on the theme of encounters between peoples and cultures over time and space.
The rationale behind the GEI is that individual disciplines or methodologies are in and of themselves inadequate to approach the historical and contemporary study of cultures in contact. While scholars and universities have embraced and supported interdisciplinarity to get around this challenge, institutional and departmental barriers to collaboration still exist. By providing students and researchers with a wide range of tools and perspectives, and by facilitating access to faculty, staff, materials, events, and exhibitions through a single electronic resource, the UBC community and other affiliated members, institutions, and local universities can use these resources to analyze encounters through multiple modalities and in diverse geographical, historical, and cultural contexts, thereby enriching our collective understanding of the subtleties of human interactions through the lens of anthropology, history, geography, sociology, and literature.
Future events include an Inaugural Symposium to be held on the UBC campus from March 4-6, 2010, bringing together scholars from research centres in British Columbia, within Canada, and beyond its borders.
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