The Expansion of International Society
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.