Global studies is an interdisciplinary major that investigates the broad range of cultural, political, social and economic forces at play historically and today. Global studies majors will understand the global influences on the lives of individuals and will be sensitive to different identities, practices, thought systems, institutions and structures, particularly their roots, scope and linkages. They will recognize their place in the global community, including their impact—for good or ill—on cultural, political, economic and environmental issues. Global studies majors will possess the foundation necessary to lead responsible, meaningful, engaged lives in a connected, diverse and ever-changing world.

The global studies curriculum is designed to give students a structure in which to explore a range of interests. An introductory course introduces students to the diverse perspectives on globalization and models of interdisciplinary investigation. Global studies majors will choose a set of electives from one of four thematic groupings, all of which include approaches from multiple disciplines. In order to maintain a dynamic, up-to-date listing, electives that will count toward each of the tracks in the global studies major will be listed on the departmental website. This structure balances the breadth and depth of students’ academic training and ensures that global studies majors will develop the ability to ask interconnected, interdisciplinary questions. Students may, in close consultation with their academic advisor, self-design a thematic track.

Required for the major in global studies

  1. GLST 100: Intro to Global Studies (6 units)
  2. The equivalent of a minor in one additional language (~30 to 66 units, depending on incoming students’ initial proficiency, i.e., where they begin their minor, and on the requirements of the chosen language.)
    Alternatively, some students may choose to fulfill the language requirement through the completion of GER+3 courses in one language plus three terms (or the equivalent of one year) in either a second language or mathematics/statistics/modeling. The combination of languages must clearly contribute to a particular project or career ambition, be approved by an advisor in global studies and demonstrate coherence with respect to the chosen track. Languages acquired during an off-campus experience are acceptable as long as the student achieves linguistic and cultural competency equivalent to the GER language competency requirement.
  3. In consultation with a global studies faculty advisor, students must choose a set of eight six-unit thematically connected electives that meet the goals of one track listed below. Students and advisors should consult the departmental website carefully when selecting courses that count toward their track in the global studies major. All electives must satisfy the following requirements.
    1. Three six-unit courses from the arts, humanities, or musicology at the introductory or intermediate level (course numbers 100-300 or above);
    2. Three six-unit courses from the social sciences at the introductory or intermediate level (course numbers 100-300 or above);
    3. Two six-unit courses at the advanced level (course number 400+). One course must be from the social sciences; the other comes from the fields of arts, humanities, or musicology.
    4. No more than two 100-level courses may count toward the elective requirements, and no more than two upper-level language department courses may be double-counted for the track and the language minor (or minor equivalent).
    5. The core courses normally count within this portion of the requirements.
  4. Required global experience at an off-campus site (local, domestic or abroad)
    Global studies students are required to participate in a globally engaged off-campus experience. Most students will fulfill this requirement through an approved Lawrence study abroad program. However, we recognize study abroad is not feasible for all students. Therefore, the off-campus global experience may also include local projects with global connections. Examples include working with the Fox Valley Refugee Resettlement Agency, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hmong-American Partnership of the Fox Cities, the Northeast Wisconsin Chinese Association or with the City of Appleton’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion. These projects must include 10 weeks of engagement, be connected to either the global studies primary language or track, and be pre-approved by a global studies advisor.
  5. Completion of the Senior Experience in global studies (see below).

Global Studies Tracks

Nations and Identities

Nations remain a central form of organization in the global world. Nations lie at the center of our interlocking system of political and economic institutions, and they also provide the organizing principle behind national languages and cultures, ethnic identities and even sporting events. Although nations claim to be ancient, modern nations only began to develop in the 18th century, and their future is by no means assured. This track seeks to approach global studies through an emphasis on the construction and function of nation, with attention given as well to newer, transnational forms of identity. Since the study of the nation requires a broad sense of the history of the nation, the reasons it developed and the variety of forms it has taken, there is a significant history component to this track, along with an emphasis on classes offered in government. In addition, classes in literature, culture and the arts will enrich students’ understanding of how national identities are constructed and become emotionally compelling, as well as how they are contested through migration and integration, through devolution into smaller units, and by institutions and practices that transcend national boundaries. Students who choose the Nations and Identities track should choose two of the following core courses: GOVT 226: Identity Politics and Ethnic Conflict; GOVT 260: European Democracies; HIST 295: Nationalism in Modern History; HIST 315: Empire and Nation in Russian History; GLST 361: Western Encounters with China; GLST 340: International Politics.

Global Cities

One of the central signs for globalization and even modernity is the importance of cities. Much of what is most exciting and new in our world stems from the cultural and ethnic mixing that takes place in global cities. Many Lawrence students aim to work in American cities that cater to the “creative class”—that is, young people who seek to participate in the new opportunities opened up by education and technology. This cities track will prepare students for thinking about the history of urbanization and our interconnected world by understanding the socio-cultural, economic and political complexities of the nature and evolution of major cities. Depending on course content, examined cities may include (but are not limited to): Algiers, Athens, Beijing, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Dakar, Paris, Istanbul, Moscow, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo. Students who choose the Global Cities track should choose two of the following core courses: GLST 246: Comparative Politics of Less Developed Countries; RLST 365: Faith and Power in the Mediterranean; GER 290/388: Berlin: Experiencing a Great City; GLST 352: Colonialism & Global Structures; GLST 284: The Spectacle of Edo Japan.

Human Security

Human security is the study of global violence through the lens of the individual, with particular emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized communities. It includes multiple forms of vulnerability and structural violence, including discrimination, displacement, genocide, disease, poverty and environmental stress. This track offers students the opportunity to understand human security and vulnerable populations through an interdisciplinary lens, including narratives and other representations of human agency and social scientific analysis of the policies and institutions designed to address these challenges. Students who choose the Human Security track should choose two of the following core courses: GLST 248: Social Entrepreneurship; ECON 200: Development Economics; MUCO 493: Music and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective; ENG 516: Literature and Human Rights; GLST 518: Narratives of Inequality; GLST 271: Global Environmental Politics.

Arts and Exchange

One path to understanding our global world is in the artistic expressions (including literature, performing arts, visual arts and film) through which identities are staked out and claimed. This track offers students the opportunity to think about the arts from the perspective of global systems, exchanges and regulations. Students will be encouraged to consider how economic systems, international organizations, the movement of people and the commodification and commercialization of cultural practices affect artistic production, notions of ownership and meaning across borders. Students who choose the Arts and Exchange track should choose two of the following core courses: HIST 105: Cross-Cultural Interactions Along the Silk Road; GLST 207: Intro to International Economics; ENG 280: Postcolonial Writers; GOVT 480: International Organizations; GLST 494: Music and the Environment.

Senior Experience in global studies

The global studies major culminates in a Senior Experience consisting of a six-unit senior seminar. The seminar brings together students from all tracks, and it includes a set of common readings that revisit important theoretical issues in the field global studies. The readings will also highlight disciplinary differences in the objects of inquiry available to scholars of global studies and show again how interdisciplinary inquiry produces deeper understanding. Students’ work in the seminar culminates with a portfolio showcasing their work in the major, and they will present that work to other members of the seminar. The portfolio will consist of the two components listed below. Together, the Senior Experience components will demonstrate that a student has developed interdisciplinary and intercultural proficiency.

  1. A written, critical reflection on the student’s off-campus global experience, with particular emphasis on curricular connections and personal development.
  2. A revised version of a substantial (10–15 pages) paper written on a global topic and in an advanced (400+ level) course counting toward the global studies major.