|Tuesday, April 19th|
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM
Evocatio, literally a “summoning,” was a religious rite in which Roman commanders invited the tutelary deity of a warring city to move to Rome. There are only five existing accounts of this ritual, and the precise place of evocatio in Roman religio and imperialist thought have yet to be fully investigated. All five instances transpired during the Republic in the context of Rome’s evolving international “empire” (imperium), while the surviving accounts all date to the Empire. Several similar, although distinct, events of physical relocation of deities are also primarily discussed in the Empire. I investigate the roles of foreign gods, whether introduced by evocatio or another practice, and explore Roman conceptions of empire building. Examples include the evocatio of Juno Regina, the journey of the ancient household gods the Penates of Lavinium as detailed in Virgil ’s Aeneid, and the introduction of the cult of Magna Mater.
4:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Like many African nations, Nigeria has fallen victim to a Western narrative that characterizes the country as one of the most corrupt in the world. Nigeria has consistently been cited among countries with the worst governance, the least government transparency and the highest level of mistrust and corruption in the public sector. A U.S. House of Representatives hearing on Africa in 2006 concluded that Nigeria has a reputation for corruption. This Western view often dismisses the way in which corrupt practices in Nigeria have become a necessary social norm, a method of survival in the society. My presentation examines these “corrupt” social norms by drawing out colonial influences tied to contemporary corruption. I also show how corruption functions as a survival mechanism in Nigerian society.
4:15 PM - 4:30 PM
On December 20, 1989, the United States invaded Panama to overthrow and arrest Panamanian dictator Gen. Manuel Noriega. The invasion, code-named “Operation Just Cause,” was the biggest deployment of U.S. troops since the Vietnam War and represented a turning point in the use of military force. Since Vietnam, American policymakers had been constrained by the so-called “Vietnam Syndrome,” a reluctance to use force in situations in which U.S. national interests are at stake. Moreover, since the end of World War II, U.S. foreign policy had been guided by the prerogatives of the Cold War, with every international conflict framed by a bipolar worldview. I examine the policies of the administration of President George H.W. Bush that led to the invasion of Panama; the impact of the end of the Cold War on the decision to invade; and global implications of that decision for U.S. foreign policy.