University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Global South: Concept & Practice


Co-Leaders: Debjani Ganguly (English & IHGC) and Camilla Fojas (Media Studies & American Studies)

Affiliated Faculty: Lawrie Balfour (Politics), Fahad Bishara (History), Maya Boutaghou (French), Mrinalini Chakravorty (English), Sheila Crane (Architecture), Max Edelson (History), Robert Fatton (Politics), Lisa Goff (American Studies & WGS), Murad Idris (Politics), Carmen Lamas (English & American Studies), Anne-Garland Mahler (Spanish), Christina Mobley (History), Sandhya Shukla (English & American Studies).

The idea of this Lab originates in the assumption that an ambitious, multi-scalar agenda for curriculum development and advanced research on the Global South requires, in the first instance, a sustained interrogation of its theoretical, historical and cartographic provenance across a vibrant interdisciplinary space. Global South is an unsettled and unsettling epistemic frame from which to contemplate the world. Some think of it as a post-Cold War era replacement for the ‘Third World’ (and so primarily covering Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, but not Europe, America and the Mediterranean worlds), while others use it synonymously with the idea of underdevelopment and deprivation wherever these are found. Yet others see it as a ‘frontier in the unfolding history of neoliberal capitalism.’ As will be obvious from the above, the idea of the ‘Global South’ has varied inflections across the disciplines. Currently the idea of the Global South exists at the confluence of and tension between systems of knowledge and ways of conceptualizing space, habitations, cultures, aesthetics and political economy. Its role as a disordering episteme in our contemporary world is what this lab proposes to examine and showcase.