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Canadian American Slavic Studies, one of the leading scholarly journals devoted to Eastern Europe, has published a special edition, Globalization and Its Impact, edited by Katalin Fabian, assistant professor of government and law.

Globalization and Its Impact presents essays from international scholars on the relationship between international relations and globalization and how they are affecting Central and Eastern Europe. Fabian chose this theme because although much “new and enormously challenging” literature involving these areas has emerged in the last 15 years, according to Fabian, its focus has been narrow.

“I wanted to see the overlap in this social science literature and analyze how the international relations of Central and Eastern Europe have changed,” she explains. “My aim was to bring these fields into dialogue with one other because international relations theories talk about globalization, and globalization fundamentally has affected Central and Eastern Europe, but this overlap has not really been examined from this joint perspective.”

“International relations and foreign affairs people, political scientists — they discuss globalization too, but they don’t have this regional focus and since there has been such a tremendous change in practically all dimensions in this region, a thorough analysis is useful,” she adds.

The journal issue presents chapters on security, gender equality, border issues and minorities, and economics, and applies the case studies of the Baltics, Germany, Poland, and Hungary.

“One of the major issues that came out is that not only does this intersection exist, but it exists in a very peculiar and characteristic way for Central and Eastern Europe,” says Fabian. “The major conduit for globalization has been the European Union and the transition to more democratic and more market-oriented economies. But these processes have also been plagued by colonial overtones and many of the inequalities of the global exchange.

“There are many parallels at the same time when you see idiosyncrasies. In this aspect, the Central and Eastern European region was a very characteristic case study for globalization studies.”

Fabian had difficulty finding a broad cross-section of topics because scholars tend to focus on popular issues, large geographic areas, or areas of conflict. Her call for papers brought many submissions about Germany and Poland, for example, as they are two of Europe’s largest and most powerful countries politically and economically. Works from scholars about smaller countries, however, presented a significant challenge.

She spent more than a year seeking submissions from scholars of the region from the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Many submissions were rejected; for many of those selected, Fabian had to go through a round or two of rewriting with the author as she was looking for pieces that had “an intersection of theory and practice.”

Helping Fabian was Ben Wilmoth ’05, a double major in government & law and international affairs, through Lafayette’s distinctive EXCEL Scholars program, in which students assist faculty with research while earning a stipend. The program has helped make Lafayette a national leader in undergraduate research. Many of the more than 160 students who participate in EXCEL each year go on to publish papers in scholarly journals and/or present their research at conferences.

Her goals for the issue were to “have a comparative collection of essays that would talk to one another. From reading the piece on the dialogue between Germany and Poland about European enlargement, for example, you would also have a better understanding when you read about security, or gender equality, or economic issues. This whole collection really forms a cohesive whole,” she says.

What the essays she has assembled illustrate is the many dimensions and complexities of globalization that make its study so difficult.

Fabian has shared her research through numerous articles, book chapters, and conference presentations. She has received many honors, awards, and prizes, including grants from the Ford Foundation, the Institute for the Study of World Politics, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and the Institute for International Peace Studies.

Categorized in: Academic News