Archive - November 17, 2015

1
What Is IN Peace Corps Fantasies? Chapter by Chapter
2
What Is Peace Corps Fantasies All About?
3
New Academic Book Slams The Peace Corps

What Is IN Peace Corps Fantasies? Chapter by Chapter

Dr. Molly Geidel’s book has six chapters. The first three chapters explore how the 1960s Peace Corps “embodied a radicalized, gendered vision of modernity that linked economic integration to freedom, frontier masculinity, and global brotherhood.” (If you ever wondered why you hate academic writing, now you know.) Chapter 1 examines Peace Corps “architects’ deployment of the gendered anxieties and fantasies of postwar social science in the conception, formation, staffing, and early volunteer recruitment efforts of the agency.” The second chapter “attempts to understand how the Peace Corps inaugurated and codified new models for relating to racial and cultural others, using modernization doctrines to revise the romantic-racist vision of rebel masculinity that captured the popular imagination in the 1950s. The third chapter turns to the women in the 1960s Peace Corps, analyzing fictional texts about “Peace Corps girls” alongside memoirs and other nonfiction accounts by and about women volunteers. “Here I . . .

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What Is Peace Corps Fantasies All About?

Dr. Geidel entitled her Introduction, “The Seductive Culture of Development” taking the title from a line by Nanda Shrestha in his In the Name of Development, “Are we ever going to realize the deep wounds that the seductive culture of development leaves on us? If we ever do, what can we do to heal such wounds?” In 1962, Nanda Shrestha was in sixth-grade, Geidel tells us, quoting from Shrestha’s 1997 memoir, when the Peace Corps arrived in Nepal, bringing with them “fancy chairs, desks, and tables” to inaugurate the first U.S.,-run vocational schools in Nepal and bikas, the ideology of development.” Dr. Geidel goes onto write (on the first page of her Introduction) “bikas not only created needs it could not satisfy, but also manufactured new subjectivity and new, terrible understandings of the conditions in which he and his community live.” Shrestha’s identification of Peace Corps development ventures a source of . . .

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New Academic Book Slams The Peace Corps

We have recently received review copies of Molly Geidel new book on the Peace Corps published by the University of Minnesota Press. Within the next month or so we will be reviewing the book as well as interviewing the author. Molly Geidel is from southern Vermont. She received her BA from Brown, her masters from UMass in Boston, and her PhD from Boston University. This book is a revised version of her PhD dissertation. Dr. Geidel taught briefly at Harvard and Cornell and moved to the UK this fall where she is an assistant professor in American studies at the University of Manchester. Molly’s argues the case in her book that while in the “popular imagination of the United States to this day, it [Peace Corps] is a symbol of selfless altruism and the most successful program of John F. Kennedy’s presidency,”….in reality the “agency’s representative development ventures also legitimated . . .

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