SGS supports 5 innovative courses that explore global issues

A student from the "Mapping Poverty, Colonialism, and Nation Building in Latin America" course presents her capstone project at the David Rumsey Map Center in 2017.

In an effort to encourage new curricular pathways, Stanford Global Studies (SGS) is supporting five courses that creatively engage students in learning about global issues.

“One of our priorities at SGS is to provide ways for students from across the university to learn about issues of regional and global importance, be it through coursework, internships, research opportunities, or study abroad,” says SGS Director Jeremy M. Weinstein, who established a series of Course Innovation Grants last year. “Our goal is to engage students with these topics—regardless of their field of study—to better equip them for the global issues they will encounter in their careers beyond Stanford.”

Two of the courses will be offered for the first time in the 2018-19 academic year, while others will expand their coverage of global themes, and all include unique methods of engagement—such as a field trip to Colombia and a service experience at the U.S.-Mexico border. Read more about the new courses below.

Mapping Poverty, Colonialism, and National Building in Latin America

Winter 2019

Taught by Alberto Diaz-Cayeros

Cartography is one of the main devices through which humans have attempted to encompass and understand complex human phenomena. This course is an introduction to the mapping of colonial and early independent Latin America, as a lens through which students may learn about the process of colonization, state building, and the legacies on those processes on poverty and underdevelopment today. The course will specifically look into ways in which historical cartography can provide insight into contemporary development patterns in Latin America. Historical maps are analyzed both as data sources, and as interpretative lenses through which one can catch a glimpse of the way human settlements and activity reveal the social, political and economic dynamics, whose legacies are still present today.

Around the World in 10 Films 

Winter 2019

Taught by Pavle Levi

This is an introductory-level course about the cinema as a global language. We will undertake a comparative study of select historical and contemporary aspects of international cinema and explore a range of themes pertaining to the social, cultural, and political diversity of the world. Different elements of film style and form (mise-en-scene, editing, cinematography, etc.) will be emphasized and investigated throughout the quarter. A cross-cultural thematic emphasis and inter-textual methods of narrative and aesthetic analysis will guide our discussion of films from Italy, Japan, United States, Senegal, India, China, France, Brazil, Iran, and more. There are no prerequisites for this class.

Innovation in Technology and Human Rights Institutions

Spring 2019

Taught by Beth Van Schaack

This course will offer students the philosophical underpinnings of the field of transitional justice coupled with a practical lens through which to study different ways governments and human rights institutions pursue justice—broadly defined—in the wake of mass atrocity. Students will closely examine a number of jurisdictions contemplating or currently undergoing a transitional justice process—including Colombia, South Sudan, Syria, Libya, Burma/Myanmar, and Iraq—with an eye towards understanding the changing nature of human rights investigation, archival, documentation, analysis, and prosecution. How have advances in technology altered the possibilities for international criminal tribunals and justice mechanisms? How might innovative new institutions, like the UN General Assembly-created Syria Mechanism, change the work, and significance, of international human rights work? The course will include a two-week trip to study the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Bogotá, Colombia.

African Politics

Spring 2019

Taught by David Laitin

Africa has lagged behind the rest of the developing world in terms of economic development, the establishment of social order and effective governance, and the consolidation of democracy. What explains Africa’s relative lag on these dimensions compared to other post-colonial regions and what explains variation across African states on these dimensions? This course seeks to identify the historical and political sources accounting for this lag, and to provide extensive case study and statistical material to understand what sustains it, and how it might be overcome.

Advanced Spanish Immersion and Asylum Law at the U.S.-Mexico Border

2019 (quarter TBA) 

Taught by Vivian Brates

In the first week of the course, students will study and discuss in Spanish issues and inequities surrounding U.S. asylum law. Through print materials, documentary videos, classroom simulations, and visits from Spanish-speaking legal experts and immigrants themselves, students will learn about the legalities of migration to the United States, at the same time absorbing and producing increasingly sophisticated language necessary for increased language proficiencies. During the second week, students will directly apply this knowledge, volunteering for the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas, where students will work with Spanish-speaking women who have recently crossed into the United States. Students will help these women prepare for the initial step in requesting asylum: the credible fear interview (CFI). In the final week of the class, instructors and students will return to Stanford to process this experience and present capstone projects. This course is intended for advanced Spanish language students (Advanced Low, Mid, and High levels on the ACTFL scale).

Full course information, including room locations and weekly schedules, will be posted in Explore Courses in July 2018.