University at Albany

What is Globalization?

“Globalization” is a relatively new term used to describe economic, social, political, cultural, and environmental processes and interactions among peoples and nations around the world. These interactions have been occurring for thousands of years, but what is different in the 21st century, is the degree, scope, and intensity of interdependence and interconnectedness that is involved. These interactions are facilitated by dramatic changes in information technologies, the integration of the world economy, and the reconfiguration of many cities, regions and nations. Globalization Studies is a Faculty-Initiated Interdisciplinary major designed for students seeking a liberal arts education that focuses on major global issues. Students will gain a systematic awareness of the global forces and processes that shape our lives, and they will study and discuss major global issues and problems.

From upstate New York to the highlands of Ethiopia, from the flourishing urban centers of China to the endangered habitat of the Amazonian rainforest, globalization processes interconnect livelihoods and communities and are restructuring power and social interactions in a myriad of unforeseen and unexpected ways.

Through migration, trade, new technologies, global environmental and health problems, the flow of capital, music, viruses, and cultures across borders, human communities are facing new types of challenges, opportunities, and perils. To explore the many new ways in which our lives and our futures are becoming increasingly interconnected, the Globalization Studies major promotes interdisciplinary active learning, and introduces innovative forms of teaching, scholarship, and service that focus on transnational and community interconnections.