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Martha Easton, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology, Division of Social & Behavioral Science at Elmira College
From Elmira, NY
I came to Elmira College in 2005. I received my BA from Swarthmore College (in Sociology and Anthropology) and my PhD from the University of Minnesota in Sociology. I teach in both the Sociology and Anthropology Program and in Women's Studies. I love to travel with students at Elmira College, and I have created several spring term travel courses, to South Africa, Brazil, India, the European Union, and Southeast Asia. My research interests are in two areas: work on national identity in Europe, and work on the social construction of gender and race. I received a Fulbright Fellowship, a Social Science Research Council Fellowship, and an American-Scandinavian Foundation Dissertation Award to do dissertation research in Norway, where I spent several years doing fieldwork on nationalism and the creation of Norwegian identity in the face of the European Union Teaching at a small liberal arts college like Elmira College has been a wonderful opportunity to teach broadly, do research with promising students, and share my interest in international studies.
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Travel Class: South Africa (Multiculturalism, Race, and Place)
With its strategic geographic location, controversial political history, and ethnically diverse population, the Republic of South Africa is widely regarded as one of the most socially and economically developed countries in Africa. This course offers students a chance to learn about and interact with the people, society, and culture of South Africa through a three-week journey to the country. Lectures, readings, and films prior to travel will establish the ideas and movements that have shaped contemporary South African society and culture. During our journey, students have the opportunity to observe, describe, and reflect upon the practices and politics of multiculturalism, race and spatial organization, and the ethnic arts of the region through on-site visits to places of cultural, social, and historical significance. Race, and the Social Construction of racial identities are a major theme of the course.
Travel Class: India (Society and Culture)
With a population among the most diverse in the world, the culture and society of India have played a major role in human history. A locus of important trade routes and vast empires, India has a rich and unique cultural heritage influenced both by established traditions and the customs of a multitude of invaders and immigrants. This course focuses on modern India, with an overview of key social institutions such as religion, gender, class/caste, colonialism (and post-colonialism), political and economic structures, and social movements. The course includes a 3-week trip to India to allow students direct experience of Indian culture and cultural practices. The course also covers key moments in Indian history to help create a context for understanding modern India.
Travel Class: Brazil (Melting Pot or Mosaic?)
Brazil is composed of a multitude of cultures. It is the cradle of hundreds of separate, indigenous cultural groups as well as being a country shaped by the forces of colonialism and slavery. Thus, several questions arise: how do those living in modern Brazil constitute themselves as racial and cultural beings? What impact does geography and environment have in shaping identity? Is there an overarching cultural identity? In what ways are regionalism and language important constituents of identity? How does colonial history impact modern society? To attempt to answer these questions and others, the course takes students to Brazil on a three week visit, exposing them to Brazilian culture and civilization.
Travel Class: Southeast Asia (Globalization in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia)
Southeast Asia is an absolutely fascinating area in which to see all stages of globalization. From the north, where the Hmong people live in the mountains in remote stilt-houses to the booming cities of Bangkok and Saigon, Southeast Asia is both traditional and modern. We have the chance to visit farmers who still use water buffalo to manage their rice paddies. We go to the top of one of the highest new skyscrapers in Phnom Penh, where we can see the open fires where people cook on the sidewalks. We also visit the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat, see the giant Golden Buddha in Bangkok, and visit the famous floating market where transactions happen boatside. Along the way, we learn about the cultural impacts of globalization on the many diverse peoples of Southeast Asia.
Term III Class Visits Thailand and Cambodia to Study Globalization

Dr. Martha Easton, associate professor of sociology, and Dr. Mariam Khawar, professor of economics, recently traveled with students to Thailand and Cambodia for the Term III course titled, "Thailand and Cambodia: Globalization and Change." Throughou...

May, 23 2019 - Verified by Elmira College
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