Lecture Illuminates Global “Fault Lines”



On the evening of Monday, March 30, students packed into the Persson Auditorium to listen to Carolyn Nordstrom, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, deliver a lecture on Peace and Conflict Studies. Associate Professor of Anthropology and Peace and Conflict Studies Nancy Ries introduced Nordstrom and her lecture entitled “Fundamental Fault Lines.”

Nordstrom discussed her fieldwork and her research of the concept of “Fault Lines,” explaining that “fault lines” are aspects of society that can eventually be linked to larger social collapses. Examples of these fault lines include the international arms trade and money laundering on the part of corporations.

Her “map” of global “fault lines” began in Angola with a young girl that she met there. Nordstrom began to see the connection between inequalities in this country and larger global problems. The lecture detailed how these smaller scale inequalities and issues make larger problems possible. Even in our own society, people legitimize injustice on the other side of the world by ignoring glaring inequalities.

When asked how this can be fixed, Nordstrom responded by saying that there must be “transparency” and “accountability” for corporations if the international economic crises are to be halted. Furthermore, Nordstrom placed responsibility on the audience by saying that people with energy and critical minds will be essential to solving the problems that these “fault lines” create.

Nordstrom’s lecture sought to enlighten students and bring important issues to the surface. At one point, for instance, Nordstrom noted that Americans are able to have cheaper meals simply because the children in foreign countries endure so much suffering. Thus, Nordstrom’s lecture served as a reminder that there are many serious problems in the world, and that current undergraduates may grow up to be the ones who solve them.