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What Is Global Studies?

The Major/Minor in Global Studies offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary framework for understanding the interactions of multiple sites across history by recognizing that local dynamics are embedded in a changing global system. As part of their curriculum, students benefit greatly from an academic program that helps them understand the implications of global change by examining what is occurring in their immediate locale and elsewhere.

Globalization is complex and multidimensional. An academic discipline isolates only fragments of the irreducible globalizing process, and hence cannot fully comprehend it. Our curriculum, consequently, is informed by a belief in, and a commitment to, interdisciplinarity. Drawing from a large list of candidate courses, we selected those undergraduate courses which best fulfill our criterion of understanding global and local social, cultural, economic, and political phenomena as subject to reciprocal influences. These courses, which detail how global influences shape local experiences and vice versa, make up our core courses in two concentrations: Global Society and Culture, and Global Economics and Politics.

Because of the depth of our commitment to interdisciplinarity, but also because the empirical changes underlying globalization require both substantive and analytical coverage, we have designed our curriculum to highlight one of the two concentration areas. These concentration areas are supplemented by the requirement that students take 2 courses from the other core area. Students are further exposed to interdisciplinary and inter-regional knowledge through requirements that students take 2 courses from a selection of courses emphasizing contemporary regional studies. These upper-division courses are included to afford Global Studies students the substantive and analytic knowledge to help them understand the relationship between global and regional change.

Finally, the curriculum requires students to choose an additional skills-focused course to add to their capabilities in global inquiry. Students may choose to take either a social sciences or humanities methodology course, or an upper division foreign language course specified in the accompanying list. Research methods facilitate social inquiry by providing criteria for articulating questions and finding answers. Empirical methods, qualitative methods and linguistic skills are indispensable scholarly tools. Our curriculum, which thrives on diversity, allows students to employ the method they find most useful: quantitative, qualitative, or linguistic. We therefore require that each student complete at least one upper division methods course taken from either of two categories: Methods (quantitative or qualitative) and Foreign Languages. This flexible methods requirement will generate the diverse skills and interests that first-rate interdisciplinary programs such as ours need. Building our curriculum in this way demonstrates to students that we relish intellectual diversity, and so will cast our recruiting net far and wide.


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