Claudia Card
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
"Recognizing Terrorism"
March 10, 2006
6:30 p.m.

Terrorism is more widespread than popular paradigms suggest.  Everyday lives under oppressive regimes, in racist environments, and of women everywhere who are vulnerable to rapists and batterers are shaped by genuine terrorism. My object is make sense of such an expanded range of
paradigms of terrorism without diluting the moral seriousness of the concept of terrorism.
Linda Martín Alcoff
Syracuse University
"
Comparative Race, Comparative Racisms"
March 11, 2006
9:00 a.m.

This paper addresses recent controversies over the ethnic differences within the category of "blackness" in the United States, and the racial differences within the category of "Latino." These questions raise the issue of difference within a category of social identity, either racial difference within an ethnicity, or ethnic difference within a race. Much of the debate is over the political implications of the differences in question, but here I will address a prior issue: how to understand the social ontology of ethnic and racial differences. I will approach these ontological questions primarily through considerations of sociological positionality and political practice.

Uma Narayan
Vassar College
"Informal Sector Work, Microcredit and Third World Women's Empowerment: A Critical Perspective"
March 11, 2006
3:00 p.m.

Offering Third World women microcredit to start microenterprises in the informal sector is being widely touted as the panacea for their economic empowerment. The institutions endorsing this policy include the IMF and World Bank, the United Nations, private financial institutions like Citibank, Western and Third world nations and thousands of NGO’s. My paper offers a multi-layered critique of this agenda. I begin by defining informal sector work and analyzing the structural limitations of this sector. Next, I offer a critical analysis of various dominant assumptions about microcredit and point to a variety of problems with contemporary micro-lending practices. I argue that offering microcredit to Third World women should be evaluated within its contemporary macroeconomic context. I end with some reflections on some current strands in philosophical thinking about global economic justice, and argue that approaches that shy away from issues of political economy and from analyses on ongoing economic practices risk offering very limited perspectives on what global economic justice requires.