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.
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Previously Funded Courses

In an effort to encourage new curricular pathways, Stanford Global Studies has supported courses that creatively engage students in learning about global issues through a series of Course Innovation Awards. Below is a list of courses that have received Course Innovation Awards.

COLLEGE 104: The Meat We Eat

Krish Seetah

This course takes a global perspective on the human facets driving meat consumption. Using historical, ecological, and anthropological material, we look at the ways meat eating has fundamentally shaped our environment, our health, and our culture.


COLLEGE 105: The Politics of Development

Soledad Artiz Prillaman and Saad Gulzar

This course examines foundational reasons for why some countries remain poor and why inequality persists today. In addition to answering the why question, we will also examine how practitioners, policymakers, and academics have tackled global development challenges, where they have met success, and where failure has provided key lessons for the future.


COMPLIT 100: Capitals: How Cities Shape Culture, States, and People

Adrian Daub and Dan Edelstein

This course takes students on a trip to major capital cities, at different moments in time: Renaissance Florence, Golden Age Madrid, Colonial Mexico City, Enlightenment and Romantic Paris, Existential and Revolutionary St. Petersburg, Roaring Berlin, Modernist Vienna, and bustling Buenos Aires. While exploring each place in a particular historical moment, we will also consider the relations between culture, power, and social life.


GLOBAL 106: Populism and the Erosion of Democracy

Anna Grzymala-Busse

What is populism, and how much of a threat to democracy is it? How different is it from fascism or other anti-liberal movements? This course explores the conditions for the rise of populism, evaluates how much of a danger it poses, and examines the different forms it takes.


GLOBAL 110: Love in the Time of Cinema

Usha Iyer

Romantic coupling is at the heart of mainstream film narratives around the world. Through a range of film cultures, we will examine cinematic intimacies and our own mediated understandings of love and conjugality formed in dialog with film and other media. We will consider genres, infrastructures, social activities (for example, the drive-in theater, the movie date, the Bollywood wedding musical, 90s queer cinema), and examine film romance in relation to queerness, migration, old age, disability, and body politics more broadly.


GLOBAL 120: Stories at the Border: Crossing the Boundaries of Geography and Genre

Roanne Kantor

How do authors and filmmakers represent the process of border-making as a social experience? How do the genres in which they work shape our understandings of the representation from around the world that bear witness to border conflict—including writing by China Mieville, Carmen Boullosa, Joe Sacco, and Agha Shahid-Ali—many of which also trouble the borders according to which genres are typically separated and defined.


GLOBAL 125: Human Rights in an Age of Great Power Rivalry, War, and Political Transformation

David Cohen

As is well known, great and emerging power rivalries largely shaped the course of the 20th century through WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the 21st century been characterized by the geopolitical reconfiguration underway today with the rise of China and India and the challenges posed for American and European influence. As this age of great power political, economic, and military rivalry intensifies, how is it impacting both the countries where the rivalries are being played out (e.g.,in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa) and the societies of the rival nations themselves? The course will explore the humanitarian dimension and consequences of war, conflict, and political transformation in such contexts through a series of case studies.


GLOBAL 135: Around the World in Ten Films

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.


GLOBAL 150N: Climate Change and Mental Health

Daniel Mason

The impact of climate change is far-reaching, extending beyond immediate and imminent ecological effects and into a range of human experiences, including physical and mental disease. This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to consider the interaction of climate change and mental health. Beginning with historical associations of nature and human well-being, we will use a variety of texts, some historic, some literary, some scientific, to explore the effects of nature on the human mind. Similarly, we will look at how human psychology influences our reactions to climate change, from grief, to climate change denialism, to action. The seminar has a significant out-of-doors component, including local ecosystem exploration, an applied study of nature therapy, and field trips to sites where clinical work on the interaction of nature and mental health can be observed first-hand. This year we are fortunate to have received a Global Studies Course Innovation Award to support our field-trips, as well as the visit of several guests nationally known for their work in the areas of climate change and mental health.

GLOBAL 193: History of World Cinema III: Queer Cinema around the World

Usha Iyer

Provides an overview of cinema from around the world since 1960, highlighting the cultural, political, and economic forces that have shaped various film movements over the last six decades. We study key film movements and national cinemas towards developing a formal, historical, theoretical appreciation of a variety of commercial and art film traditions. This term's topic, Queer Cinema around the World, studies the relationship of gender, sexuality, and cinematic representation trans-regionally and transnationally. Through film and video from Kenya, Hong Kong, India, The Dominican Republic, South Korea, Spain, Palestine, Argentina, the US (Black, indigenous cinemas, for instance), South Africa, Colombia etc., this course will engage with a range of queer cinematic forms and queer spectatorial practices in different parts of the world.


GLOBAL 194: Understanding China's Rise

Andrew Walder

This course is an overview China's national trajectory since the 1980s, and will place its historic economic advance in comparative perspective. We will examine the factors that made this advance possible, explore the ways that China's political and economic institutions are different from other major economies, and consider challenges that now appear to threaten China's continuing economic advance.


GLOBAL 200: Utopia, Dystopia, and Technology in Science Fiction: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Ban Wang

This course explores how science fiction (sf) narratives from East and West imagine the future of humanity and human-nature relations. The blind faith in technoscientific power has aggravated class disparity, eroded the social fabric, and undermined the humanist legacy of the Enlightenment. Technological fetishism has given rise to apocalyptic futures of dystopia marked by destructive AI, the digital jungle of existential struggle, environmental degradation, climate disasters, class disparity, and posthuman barbarism. On the other hand, sf narratives keep hopes alive by projecting utopias, exposing the pitfalls of technological progress and keeping faith with human sovereignty in renewing social ecology in balance with natural conditions.


HUMRTS 108: Spanish Immersion Service-Learning: Migration, Asylum, and Human Rights at the U.S. Mexico Border

Vivian Brates

Students will have the opportunity to apply their advanced Spanish language skills and knowledge from the class as remote volunteers with immigrant rights advocacy organizations. Students will be trained to work remotely to staff a hotline through with they can help monitor detention conditions, report abuse, and request support on behalf of detainees and their loved ones. They will also have a commitment to work on more projects such as providing interpretations or translations for attorneys or mental/health professionals working remotely with detainees or their families, and/or conducting basic internet research to substantiate asylum claims or fear of persecution. This community engaged learning workshop is open only to students who are concurrently enrolled in SPANLANG 108SL.


HUMRTS 114: Human Rights Practice and Challenges in Southeast Asia: Issues, Fieldwork, Career Paths

David Cohen

The practice-oriented course will address the ways in which human rights initiatives are designed, developed, funded, implemented, and evaluated by the various actors and institutions that make up the complex landscape of human rights work. Students will hear from guest speakers who have successfully followed career paths in the UN, NGOs, academia, philanthropy, and development. Offered in the spring, the course will focus on the 10 Southeast Asian nations that make up the ASEAN region, with emphasis on the ways in which ASEAN human rights issues are connected to South Asia and China. 


LATINAM 177A: Mapping Poverty, Colonialism, and Nation Building in Latin America

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros

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 of those processes on poverty and underdevelopment today.


POLISCI 34Q: Nationalism

Vasiliki Fouka

​​Nationalist platforms have been on the rise for years across the globe. The success of nationalist parties and candidates is often accompanied by backlash against outgroups, from immigrants to religious and ethnic minorities. Nationalism often leads people to act against their material interest, from voting against economic policies that would improve their standing, to undertaking extreme actions like self-sacrifice. Why is nationalism such a dominant force in today’s world? And why is it such a powerful driver of human behavior? In this course, we will explore this question through a broad interdisciplinary lens, drawing lessons from the social sciences and history. We will ask what national identity is, where it comes from and why it has such appeal for humans. We will go back to the roots of nationalism in early modern Europe in order to understand the historical origin of national identities. And we will try to identify the forces that drive the rise in right-wing nationalism today, by exploring a number of country cases across the world.


POLISCI 46N: Contemporary African Politics

David Laitin

Africa has lagged behind the rest of the developing world in terms of three consequential outcomes: economic development, the establishment of social order through effective governance, and the consolidation of democracy. This course seeks to identify the historical and political sources accounting for this lag, to provide extensive case study and statistical material to understand what sustains it, and to examine recent examples of success pointing to a more hopeful future.


POLISCI 140P: Populism and the Erosion of Democracy

Anna Grzymala-Busse

What is populism, and how much of a threat to democracy is it? How different is it from fascism or other anti-liberal movements? This course explores the conditions for the rise of populism, evaluates how much of a danger it poses, and examines the different forms it takes.


OSPGEN 55: Innovation in Technology and Human Rights Institutions

Beth Van Schaack 

This two-week course examines the ongoing comprehensive peace process in Colombia, namely through the creation of a number of unique transitional justice institutions including: a Special Jurisdiction for Peace, with competence to impose criminal sanctions for charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and gross violations of the laws of war; a truth commission; a disappearances commission; and administrative units devoted to reparations. Students meet with academics, advocates, government officials, journalists, and other actors with an eye towards understanding the challenges and opportunities presented by the field of transitional justice.

SPANLANG 108SL: Advanced Spanish Service-Learning: Migration, Asylum, and Human Rights at the Border 

Vivian Brates

Students will develop advanced Spanish language proficiency through examination of issues surrounding current immigration and refugee crises. There will be class discussions of Central American contexts, international treaties, human rights, and U.S. immigration law. Students should enroll in the companion course HUMRTS 108 to receive units for volunteer hours performed throughout the quarter, concurrent with class meetings and assignments. Service-learning opportunities will entail working directly with Spanish-speaking immigrant and asylum seekers in detention in the U.S. Due to COVID-19, all service-learning hours will be performed remotely.