Overview of the Academic Program
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) interdisciplinary major in Globalization Studies reflects the basic proposition that the multi- and interdisciplinary nature of the study of globalization is beyond the capacity of any one given department. The program involves the commitment of more than 50 faculty members representing over 15 different departments and four colleges. It builds on the University’s long-standing tradition of excellence in area studies programs focused on different regions of the world, as well as many ongoing efforts to strengthen the international dimensions of a UAlbany education.
The Globalization Studies major offers a series of core courses focused on the comprehensive and multidisciplinary analysis of globalization processes in the following thematic areas of study and research:
Global Flows, Local Changes
This concentration promotes the study of both the causes and consequences of the intensifying flows of goods, people, money, forms of capital, symbols, ideologies, information, and viruses across borders. It examines development programs, transportation technologies, telecommunications, and forms of reorganization of production, distribution, and consumption. Students will be able to take a look at the multifaceted processes of the deterritorialization/re-territorialization of socioeconomic, political, and cultural spaces, as well as issues pertaining to social mobility and stratification in relation to the expansion of such flows. Courses in this concentration will include international political economy, international relations, international migration, transnationalism, economics, business, finance, and social reproduction.
Power Relations and Governance
This concentration promotes a student’s understanding of how globalization transforms power relations among regions, countries, social classes, genders, ethnicities, racial groups, and other relevant social categories. It addresses issues of hegemony and subordination among nations and peoples, new forms of social organization, participation, and resistance within civil society, and the role of the State and non-state actors (e.g., social movements, non-governmental organizations) in transforming society. This concentration encompasses courses on the changing nature of power and power relations in a globalized world including international relations and public policies; the emergence of supranational governance systems and the role of the State; transformations in the systems of representation, political demand making, and policy formulation; and the emergence of transnational civil societies. It studies newly emerging forms of State, market, and network–based social coordination, and their impact on the scope and quality of democracy, equity, and participation in all aspects of social life.
Cultures and Identities
This concentration explores changes in the forms of consciousness, identity construction, collective action, and cultural expression engendered by globalization processes. It addresses debates on cultural homogenization, heterogeneity, and hybridity accompanying the development of global media or cultural industry conglomerates. Students choosing this concentration take courses in literature, art, film, popular culture, the performing arts, and communication.
Other course areas include the development of cultural expressions among different groups or regions of the world (e.g. Africans, African Americans, Latin Americans, Caribbean peoples, U.S. Latinos, Asians, Middle Easterners, Europeans, North Americans), as well as other relevant courses in cultural studies, cultural anthropology, sociology of culture, and cultural history.
Global Environment and Ecology
This concentration examines how globalization processes interact and affect basic human values such as living a complete, healthy, fulfilling life, including control over one’s destiny, and opportunities to develop and express one’s particular skills and abilities. Also explored are issues related to the sense of close family and community ties; and connectedness to culture, land, and the natural world.
This concentration also seeks to understand how changing access to land and other resources transforms the livelihoods, structures, survival strategies, and composition of families and communities throughout the world. It includes courses that examine the access, use, and control over land and other natural resources; transformations in property rights regimes, as they expand to include intellectual property, culture, life forms, and previously commonly owned resources like water. Students choosing this concentration will also explore distribution, adaptation, and evolution of living organisms, global climate change, biodiversity, social ecology, and environmental-centered conflicts and public policies linked to globalization. Included here are also issues such as global warming, famine, nutrition, and health hazards.
The new major is also structured to allow specialized disciplinary (e.g., Anthropology, Communication, Economics, Education, a Foreign Language, History, Geography, Political Science, Sociology) and geographic concentrations (e.g., Africa, the Caribbean, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, North America, Western or Eastern Europe) by taking support courses offered by a variety of departments. It is also aimed at preparing students to become globally literate and to “think globally” by providing them with an undergraduate education that responds more effectively to today’s global interconnectedness, and fosters a thorough knowledge and a critical understanding of the social, economic, cultural, political, and environmental forces that are reshaping the lives of peoples and nations around the world.
The capstone educational experience of the major will be a required practicum whereby students will become active learners either in doing fieldwork in the United States or abroad, enrolling in study abroad programs, and/or participating in service internships in public, private, and civil society entities addressing relevant issues of globalization. These experiences are also directed at encouraging students to reflect on the modes through which knowledge is currently produced, validated, and disseminated.
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