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SGS Supports 5 Innovative Courses that Explore Global Issues

Aug 25 2017

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Announcements, Faculty, Students

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.”

Four of the courses will be offered for the first time in the 2017-18 academic year, while others will expand their coverage of global themes, and all include different methods of engagement—from a series of public film screenings in “Around the World in 10 Films” to Geographic Information Systems training in “Mapping Poverty, Colonialism, and Nation Building in Latin America.” Read more about the new courses below.

Course Innovation Grant Recipients:

Around the World in 10 Films (FILMSTUD 135) with Pavle Levi, fall 2017 (Wed 6:30-9:20 p.m. & Thu 12:00-2:50 p.m.). This course will expose students to a variety of global themes pertaining to the cultural heterogeneity, political diversity, and socio-economic differences in the contemporary world, and to do so through a sustained comparative study of the dynamics and history of international cinema. A cross-regional social and historical emphasis, on the one hand, and inter-textual methods of thematic and aesthetic analysis, on the other hand, will ground the exploration of films from Italy, Japan, United States, India, China, France, Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, Senegal, Iran, Mexico, Turkey, and other countries.

Mapping Poverty, Colonialism, and National Building in Latin America with Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, fall 2017 (T/Th 10:30-11:50 a.m.). 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.

Populism and the Erosion of Democracy (GLOBAL 106/POLISCI 140P) with Anna Grzymala-Busse, fall 2017 (M/W 10:30-11:50 a.m.). What is populism, and how much of a threat to democracy does it pose? This course will examine populism as a threat to both developed and new democracies. Across Europe and the Americas, populist leaders are gaining traction, and populism appears widespread. Populist parties have called for protectionist economic policies, an end to the welfare state, an end to immigration and the expulsion of existing immigrants, and a radical transformation of the formal institutions of the judiciary, governance, and oversight. The recent surge in populist parties, movements, and elected officials has prompted considerable anxiety about their impact on democracy: this course will examine when and how these fears are justified.

Capitals: How Cities Shape Culture, States, and People (COMPLIT 100/DLCL 100/HISTORY 206E/URBANST 153) with Lisa Surwillo winter, 2018 (M/W/F 9:30-10:20 a.m.). In a moment when the political and social tensions between urban and provincial values frame discussions of current events, this course (first offered in the Winter of 2017) introduces students to the dynamics of capital cities. In its reconceptualization, the course will enhance its focus on Latin America and students will explore capitals in Eastern/Central Europe (St. Petersburg, Vienna, Berlin); Western Europe (Florence, Madrid, Paris) and Latin America (Tenochtitlán/Mexico City, Havana, Buenos Aires). While exploring each place in a particular historical moment, the course will also consider the relations between culture, power, and social life. How does the cultural life of a country intersect with the political activity of a capital? How do large cities shape our everyday experience, our aesthetic preferences, and our sense of history? Why do some cities become cultural capitals?

Human Rights in Historical Perspective with David Cohen, spring 2017. What are the necessary political, social, and economic conditions for the realization of human rights? Is the concept of human rights universal or should very different national or cultural ideas and instantiations of “human rights” be accorded equal respect? This course will examine the way in which different societies have dealt with such issues and the way in which tensions around these issues continue to inform debates on human rights and impede the full implementation of international human rights frameworks.

Visit Explore Courses for updated information about these courses in the coming months.