This course explores the evolution of modern international society from its historical roots in long-distance trade systems and empires up through recent globalization. We will examine the roles of industrialization, capitalism, nationalism, individualism and other elements of modernity in propelling and directing the flow of wealth, people and ideas between different regions of the world. In addition to studying general political and economic changes, we will consider various local and personal perspectives, giving life to otherwise abstract forces and complicating attempts to construct a single overarching narrative of modernization, Westernization or development. Among the issues to be examined are the causes and effects of international economic disparities, migration, cultural tensions, and stresses on the environment. In surveying major viewpoints and illustrative cases within these themes, the course is meant to serve as an introduction to the international studies major, utilizing a variety of academic disciplines and providing a foundation for further study of relations between different nations and peoples of the world. As part of the course, students will complete a research paper related to the geographic area where they plan to go for their off-campus experience. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Offered every year.
This seminar will examine some of the problems inherent in cross-cultural comparison and will explore the ways in which a variety of disciplines grapple with these difficulties by investigating contemporary themes in international affairs. These themes will include some or all of the following: (1) ethnic conflict; (2) comparative perspectives on development; (3) religion and socioeconomic development; (4) contemporary environmental problems; (5) the ethics of armed intervention; (6) the emergence of a world popular culture and its consequences for national cultures; (7) the challenges of democratization; and (8) perceptions of the United States, Americans, and U.S. foreign policy abroad. Open only to international studies majors with senior standing. Offered every year.
Individual study is available to students who want to pursue a course of reading or complete a focused research project on a topic not regularly offered in the curriculum. This option is available only in exceptional circumstances and must involve international studies, rather than subjects more suitable for a particular department. To qualify, a student must prepare a proposal in consultation with a member of the international studies faculty who has suitable expertise and is willing to work with the student over the course of a semester. The two- to three-page proposal should include a statement of the questions to be explored, a preliminary bibliography, a schedule of assignments, a schedule of meetings with the supervising faculty member, and a description grading criteria. The student also should briefly describe prior coursework that particularly qualifies him or her to pursue the project independently. The program director must approve the proposal. The student should meet regularly with the instructor for at least the equivalent of one hour per week. The amount of graded work should approximate that required in 300- or 400-level social science or humanities courses. Students should plan to read 200 pages or more a week and to write at least 30 pages over the course of the semester. Students are urged to begin discussing their proposals with the supervising faculty member and the program director the semester before they hope to undertake the project. The program director must receive proposals by the third day of classes.
The Honors Program is designed to recognize and encourage exceptional scholarship and to allow able students to do more independent work than is otherwise feasible. The senior honors candidate works with members of the international studies faculty to prepare an extended essay (thesis) on a topic of mutual interest, which is defended before an outside examiner in May. Note: students standing for honors also take the senior seminar. Prerequisite: permission of international studies steering committee.
See description for INST 497Y.