Studies in National and International Development


National and International Development

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All SNID lectures are held Thursdays from 1:00 PM until 2:30 PM
in Mackintosh-Corry Hall D214 unless otherwise noted and are free and open to the public.

Watering Down Irish Austerity

Thursday, April 6, 2017
Mac-Corry D 214, 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Silke Trommer
Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester

Title:  Watering Down Irish Austerity

A broad protest movement against the introduction of household-level water charges as one condition of the Republic of Ireland’s austerity memorandum is disrupting the country’s image as poster-child of austerity. Although few and far between, existing scholarly accounts of this movement have focused on events in the public sphere, such as large-scale demonstrations and the Right2Water campaign led by a number of trade unions and political parties. To complement the analysis, my talk examines Irish anti-water charges protests rooted in the private sphere. I explore a variety of grassroots level initiatives and struggles against the Irish austerity agenda, from “burn the bills”, to water meter fairies, and the “Jobstown 23”. I find that civil disobedience and boycott in the everyday are not only common and essential to the successes of the Irish water movement. Intriguingly, protesters also make regular reference to historical struggles against colonial and capitalist expansion on the island of Ireland. My case study suggests that analytical attention to agitation at the micro-social level and to long-term historical processes is key for assessing the full impact of the austerity era on Irish and European politics.


Silke Trommer is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester. Her publications include Transformations in Trade Politics: Participatory Trade Politics in West Africa (Routledge, 2014) and Expert Knowledge in Global Trade (with Erin Hannah and James Scott, Routledge, 2016). Her previous research focused on the agency of non-state actors and small, developing countries in the global trading system. Her doctoral dissertation received the 2013 Best Dissertation Award from the International Political Economy Section of the International Studies Association, the Best International Relations Doctoral Dissertation Produced in a Finnish University 2012-2014 from the Finnish Foundation for Foreign Policy Research, and the 2015 Supranational Political Economy Prize from the University of Pavia. She currently works on austerity protest in the Republic of Ireland and on an Australian Research Council-funded project investigating the perspectives of global trade policy communities on trade multilateralism. She can be contacted at

Silke Trommer

Disaster capitalism and the quick, quick, slow unraveling of animal life

Thursday, March 30, 2017
Mac-Corry D 214, 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Rosemary-Claire Collard
Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University

Title:  Disaster capitalism and the quick, quick, slow unraveling of animal life

Capitalist development has been disastrous for sea otters. They have barely survived the past centuries. Aiming to better understand this loss, in this paper I track sea otters’ collective life course in Alaska, since colonization. How have sea otters been oriented in capitalist social relations over time? How has their orientation both invited and stemmed from disaster? I follow Alaskan sea otters through three regimes of loss: their near extinction during the fur trade and early expansionist, colonial capitalism; petro-capitalism and the negligent neoliberal state, culminating in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a death-dealing catastrophe for thousands of sea otters; and finally, spill cleanup, late capitalism, and advanced ecological crisis, when two dominant sea otter subjects are produced: the knowable animal and the enclosed animal. In each episode, I describe how sea otters are oriented in relation to capitalist production and the state, and what kind of violence and loss attends these orientations. Two arguments emerge from this analysis, building from the conceptual framing of Naomi Klein’s (2007) disaster capitalism thesis and insights from animal studies. First, disaster capitalism’s coupled tendencies – to generate disasters and to expand or accumulate through them – depend in part on particular orientations of nonhumans. Second, in conversation with recent theorizations of extinction or biodiversity loss as a “slow unraveling” (Van Dooren 2014, 12), I argue that animal life sometimes unravels less slowly than haltingly – quick, quick, slow – and that the unraveling and animals’ orientation in capitalism are co-constituted.


CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER: Performing Confrontation: The Materiality of the Separation Wall and Resistance to It

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - CANCELED as the speaker's flight was canceled due to weather
Mac-Corry D 214, 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Amahl Bishara
Associate professor of Anthropology at Tufts University

Title:  Performing Confrontation: The Materiality of the Separation Wall and Resistance to It

Youth in Aida Refugee Camp have expended great amounts of energy and taken significant risks to bust holes in Israel’s separation wall, which is adjacent to homes of the camp. This mode of resistance is distinct from other Palestinian movements against the wall, some of which hinge on a performance of nonviolence; indeed, these activists can be said to be performing confrontation. The specificity of this form of resistance springs from the fractures in organizing against the wall at the national level and from the specific materiality and violence of the wall at this location.    

Amahl Bishara is an associate professor of Anthropology at Tufts University whose research revolves around settler colonialism, expressivity, place, and media. She is the author of Back Stories: U.S. News and Palestinian Politics (Stanford University Press 2013), an ethnography of the production of U.S. news during the second Palestinian intifada, and the article “Driving While Palestinian in Israel and the West Bank” (American Ethnologist 2015). She directed the documentaries Degrees of Incarceration (2011) and Take My Pictures For Me (2016).

Youth in Aida Refugee Camp