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GLBL 210, Global Issues

Summer Session II, M-Th 3-5pm

Instructor: Michal Osterweil

This course provides an introduction to the evolving field of international and global studies. The approach to this vast subject will be interdisciplinary and thematic, with particular attention to cultural, economic, political, and social patterns that appear in conflicts and institutions throughout the world. We will examine a number of specific issues that have taken somewhat different forms in various geographical regions and cultures, as well as different approaches to making sense of them. These include colonialism and its legacies; nationalism and the formation of a world of nation-states; conceptions and consequences of “development”; the construction of a global economy; the globalization of popular culture and consumerism; identities and conflicts over identities; migrations, diasporas and multiculturalism; debates over the environment; population growth and global public health issues; and new social movements and global institutions.

Summer Session will also allow us to go on a few field trips! Our goal is to understand the intellectual, cultural, political and economic issues that have marked the historical process of globalization. We will draw on the scholarly literature of the social sciences, film accounts of personal experiences within the modern global system, as well as more popular treatments of these issues. With such a vast field our goal cannot be mastery of a topic; instead our aim will be to better understand how to make sense of the issues and problems referred to as globalization.  A critical part of this requires learning to ask better questions and to look critically at the hegemonic or commonsense versions of these topics. This form of critical inquiry involves both discovering the historical and contemporary forces that have created present-day relationships between and among different groups of people and regions of the world, as well as deconstructing how these issues are known and talked about.