Curriculum and Requirements
The International Studies Program enables students to analyze an increasingly global society using the foundations of the liberal arts. International studies majors concentrate in one of four thematic tracks--international development, transnationalism, global environment, or cultural studies--taking a focused set of courses from several disciplines to develop their understanding of that topic. Majors apply that knowledge to the sustained study of a particular region of the world, where they spend at least a semester abroad studying, living in, and experiencing a foreign culture.
International studies majors must have an adventurous spirit and a high level of personal motivation. They must learn foreign languages, study in distant countries, and think rigorously across disciplinary boundaries. The program especially encourages students to study the problems and challenges of the less-developed world.
International studies majors select an area of geographic concentration and follow a series of courses in one of the four thematic tracks described in the curriculum section. We strongly recommend that first-year students take language courses in a language appropriate for the geographical area in which they plan to concentrate (Spanish for Latin America, Chinese for China, and so forth). This suggestion is by far the most important one we can make, for success in off-campus study in the area concentration depends heavily on language skills. Second, you should look carefully at the courses listed as introductory courses in the core track courses under each of the four thematic tracks. Consider taking one or more of the courses listed there that can serve in more than one thematic track--e.g., ANTH 113 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, ECON 101 Principles of Microeconomics, PSCI 260 International Relations, or SOCY 105 Society in Comparative Perspective. Another strongly recommended first-year course is HIST 190 The Making of the Contemporary World. Students should consult the director of the program during the year for additional advice.
All international studies majors concentrate in one of the four tracks described below. In each track, students complete courses in five categories: (1) INST 201, the required sophomore course; (2) core track courses; (3) area concentration; (4) language; and (5) INST 401, the required senior seminar. All majors must also study abroad in an approved off-campus studies program in their geographical area of concentration.
Majors choose to concentrate in one of the following four tracks:
International Development track: This track appeals to those drawn to the study of Asia, Africa, and Latin America because of an interest in the prospects for socioeconomic development in those regions; the transition from an agricultural to an industrial and post-industrial economy; how to maintain an agricultural way of life in the face of global competition; how to address economic inequality and poverty; and how socioeconomic change threatens cultures. Many students are especially interested in the responsibilities of wealthier countries toward those that are poorer. Development is studied as an inherently interdisciplinary topic, building on the perspectives of economics and the other social sciences. Students focus on one geographical region in Asia, Africa, or Latin America, with development as their major topic, but with ample study of the culture and society of at least one country, the one in which they undertake off-campus study. OCS programs that give special emphasis to development themes are especially encouraged.
Transnationalism track: This track appeals to students who are interested in how countries interact in world affairs, and in the new ways in which individuals and societies interact in the age of globalization. Transnationalism studies the increasing volume of non-state relationships we witness today, ranging from increased international economic transactions through the vast growth of cross-national communication and travel to the new wave of international migration. In this track students explore the ways that the social sciences -- especially economics, political science, and sociology -- have explained international interactions, including themes such as globalization, border studies, migration, and the emergence of communities in which people hold more than one nationality. Because transnationalism is inherently cross-regional, students in this track will usually have a primary region and a secondary region of emphasis (e.g., Africa and Western Europe or Eastern Europe and Western Europe).
Global Environment track: The study of issues related to the environment, ecosystems, and natural resources requires an interdisciplinary and international approach. Many environmental issues are global in scope, such as climate change, while others have a more regional focus, such as the impact of life along rivers that flow across international boundaries. Secondly, other issues central to international studies--i.e., economic development, agricultural growth, indigenous land rights, and natural resource extraction--have fundamental implications for the environment. Finally, there are environmental questions that are best studied comparatively, such as how similar ecosystems work on different continents. Students in this track combine scientific training with international studies in order to examine complex environmental issues. They are expected to take advantage of a growing number of off-campus studies programs (particularly in Africa and Latin America) that deal directly with environmental questions. Students will focus in-depth on a region (or regions) where they carry out field research. The area-studies focus will emphasize language as well as the social, historical, and cultural contexts in which environmental issues take place. Students majoring in this track will also fulfill the requirements for the Concentration in Environmental Studies and must register for that concentration.
Cultural Studies track: This track explores how people from various cultures and societies understand their place in the universe. How do people produce narratives or music or art to make sense of the world around them? What social structures do they create to relate to one another? What rituals and customs do they practice? To practice cultural interpretation, students must master a language, study abroad, and build an interdisciplinary expertise focused on that region. Students selecting this track will choose one of three areas of thematic focus: Religious and Cultural Studies explores how religious beliefs or practices shape cultural expression; Literature and Cultural Studies explores how culture becomes defined and expressed through literature, the arts, and language; History and Cultural Studies explores how cultures and societies use the past to interpret and give meaning to the present. In each case, students will blend area specialization with cross-disciplinary training. Film, art, music, philosophy may be options in specific cases, where a student is able to fill those requirements. The area-studies component can follow the pattern of traditional area studies--i.e., East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Africa, areas of former Soviet influence (eastern Europe and/or central Asia), and Latin America. Or it can address new regions and issues that have become important in recent decades. These include immigration in Europe, the Atlantic world/African diaspora, other specific diasporas (Chinese, Indian, etc.), the Islamic world, or indigenous cultures in contemporary or historical contexts.
The following requirements apply to all four tracks:
Sophomore course: This course, INST 201 (The Expansion of International Society), explores the historical origins, causes, and implications of today's globalized world.
Language: Majors must complete at least one year of language study beyond the introductory level, for any language offered at Kenyon. If you are studying abroad in a place where the local language is one not offered at Kenyon, then you must complete the Kenyon language requirement and, for the major, take the equivalent of two semesters of additional language study while abroad or through summer programs. All students are required to study a local language during their study-abroad experience.
Off-campus study: All international studies majors must study abroad for at least a semester; most study abroad for a year. Students are expected to study abroad on programs relevant to their academic interests within the International Studies major, area expertise, and foreign language training. Keep in mind that off-campus study at Kenyon is competitive and writing a strong application is critical. In order to study abroad, a student must receive approval from the College and have achieved a GPA of at least 2.75.
Senior seminar: The senior seminar, INST 401 (Contemporary Global Issues), is a comparative course that brings all international studies majors together to look at significant global problems from the various perspectives they bring based on their specializations.
Required core courses and area concentration requirements vary by track, as follows:
International Development Track
Core track courses:
Introductory: ECON 101, ECON 102 and either ANTH 113, or SOCY101, or SOCY 103, or SOCY 105.
Upper-level: Either ECON 331, or ECON 332, or ECON 339; and at least one upper-level development-related course from another social science discipline (ANTH 358, PSCI 342, PSCI 347, PSCI 470, SOCY 233); and at least one course that situates the challenges of modern development in broader social, political, or historical context, such as HIST 190, HIST 226, HIST 473, PSCI 361, RLST 380, SOCY 223, or SOCY 249.
Method: One social science methods course: ANTH 464, ECON 205, ECON 375, HIST 387, PSCI 280, PSCI 397, or SOCY 271.
Area concentration: Students must take at least four area courses in one of the following geographic or cultural regions: sub-Saharan Africa; North Africa and the Middle East; Latin America and the Caribbean; East or South Asia; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; or the Islamic world. At least two of the area courses must be historical in scope, including a course in the modern history of the region. At least two of the area courses must be taken at Kenyon.
Core track courses:
Introductory: ECON 101 and either PSCI 240 or PSCI 260 and either SOCY101 or SOCY 103, or SOCY 105.
Upper-level: Three of the following across two departments: ANTH 310D, ECON 332, ECON 339, ECON 335; HIST 322; PSCI 361, PSCI 355, PSCI 446, PSCI 460, PSCI 465; SOCY 221, SOCY 235, SOCY 233, SOCY 249, SOCY 425.
Method: One social science methods course: ANTH 464, ECON 205, ECON 375, HIST 387, PSCI 280, PSCI 397, SOCY 271 or WGS 242.
Area concentration: Students must take four courses across two geographic or cultural regions, with no fewer than two courses in each region. These regions are: sub-Saharan Africa; North Africa and the Middle East; Latin America and the Caribbean; East or South Asia; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; North America; Western Europe; or the Islamic world. The two regions and regional courses must be paired so that the student studies similar problems and develops a similar expertise across both regions. (For example, a student interested in migration would study both the source and destination regions--e.g., Latin America and North America; Africa and the Middle East and Western Europe.) At least one course in each region must be a modern history course. At least 2 of the courses must be taken at Kenyon.
Global Environment track:
Core track courses:
Introductory: ENVS 112; BIOL 115 or BIOL 106; CHEM 108 or CHEM 110; ECON 101; and one of the following: ANTH 113, PSCI 260, PSCI 363, SOCY 101, SOCY 103, or SOCY 105.
Upper-level: ENVS 461 and three of the following: ANTH 320, ECON 336, ECON 342, ECON 347, ENVS 253, PSCI 361, PSCI 480, RLST 481, SOCY 233, SOCY 242.
Method: One of the following, including the appropriate lab for science courses: ANTH 464; BIOL 228, 229 (lab); BIOL 352, 353 (lab); CHEM 231, 233 (lab); ECON 205; ECON 375; ENVS 261; PSCI 280; PSCI 397.
Area concentration: Students must take four courses in one of the following geographic or cultural regions: sub-Saharan Africa; North Africa and the Middle East; Latin America and the Caribbean; East or South Asia; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; Western Europe; or the Islamic world. At least two of the area courses must be historical in scope, including a course in the modern history of the region. At least 2 of the courses must be taken at Kenyon.
Students in the Global Environment track must also register for the Environmental Studies concentration.
Cultural Studies track:
Core track courses:
Students must choose a thematic focus in one of the following: Religious and Cultural Studies; Literature and Cultural Studies; or History and Cultural Studies.
Religious and Cultural Studies
Introductory: one of the following: RLST 101, 102, or 103 and one of the following: ANTH 113, HIST 190, INDS 333, an MLL course between 323 and 326, MUSC 206.
Upper-level: four courses in RLST above the 100 level; and two religion-centered courses in other departments: for example, HIST 328, HIST 439, HIST 444, INDS 231, PHIL 240, SOCY 221.
Method: RLST 390
Literature and Cultural Studies
Introductory: an MLL course between 323 and 326; and one of the following: ANTH 113; HIST 190; MUSC 206 ; RLST 101, 102, or 103.
Upper-level: Four courses in MLL beyond the introductory requirement above (the second semester of the introductory Spanish and French literature sequences--SPAN 324, FREN 324--may be counted toward this requirement); and two relevant literature, film, or art history courses from other departments.
Method: An upper level course on post-colonial literature in ENGL or an upper-level course on post-colonial literature or culture in MLL. (Courses taken to satisfy this requirement cannot be used to satisfy the upper-level course requirement.)
History and Cultural Studies
Introductory: HIST 190 or a director-approved substitute; and one of the following: ANTH 113, INDS 333, an MLL course between 323 and 326, MUSC 206, RLST 101, 102, or 103.
Upper-level: Four courses in HIST above the 100 level; and two historically based courses from another department: for example, INDS 333, RLST 240, RLST 270.
Method: HIST 387
Area concentration: Students must take four courses on one of the following geographic or cultural regions: sub-Saharan Africa; North Africa and the Middle East; Latin America and the Caribbean; East or South Asia; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; Western Europe; or the Islamic world. To fulfill this requirement, students may double count up to two appropriate courses taken to fulfill the student's thematic focus. At least two of the four area courses, however, must fall outside the student's thematic focus. (For example, literature students must take at least two courses dealing with some other aspect of the region, such as its history or religions.) At least 2 of the area courses must be taken at Kenyon.
The Senior Exercise provides an opportunity for majors to undertake a substantial, independent research project that combines and reflects their thematic training and regional knowledge. It usually builds on their experience and research abroad and then examines it from a broadly intellectual and comparative perspective. Seniors are encouraged to consult with any faculty members in the International Studies Program. Projects usually take the form of a research paper of about twenty to thirty pages in length. They are due in mid-February.
Students wishing to pursue a degree with honors in international studies should consult the director as soon as possible. It is often the case that some of the research for honors will have been completed during the junior-year experience abroad.