Course Innovation Awards

SGS course innovation awards support the development of new courses that focus on substantive topics of regional or global interest for the following academic year. The goal is to spur the design of courses that can appeal to large numbers of students or reach students early in their academic trajectory.

2022-23 Course Innovation Awards:

GLOBAL 142: The Global Middle Ages

Fiona Griffiths and Kathryn Starkey

This course focuses on the historical interconnectedness of pre-modern cultures, necessarily decentering Europe to explore cultural exchange across the world, including the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, in the period 600-1600 CE. Providing students with a historical foundation to more modern courses in COLLEGE, The Global Middle Ages introduces a wide variety of sources, and equips students with the tools of critical inquiry necessary to evaluate and contextualize historical witnesses. In decentering Europe as the geographical focus of study, the course also aims to decenter teleological narratives that have tended to claim modernity for so-called developed (western) nations, while denigrating other regions as medieval (understood as chaotic, violent, and irrational). Chronology long presented as neutral fact is acknowledged in this course as both constructed and political. Drawing on work by historians, art historians, and literary historians, we work in this course to reconsider the pre-modern world in a global context, informed by new trends in global history as well as the emerging field of pre-modern critical race studies.


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.


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.