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Three Stanford faculty awarded SGS course innovation grants to engage students in learning about global issues

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Photo courtesy of NASA on Unsplash
Sep 3 2019

Stanford Global Studies has awarded three Stanford faculty members with Course Innovation Grants, which support courses that creatively offer ways for students to learn about topics of regional and global importance.

“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,” says Jeremy M. Weinstein, director of the Stanford Global Studies Division.

This year’s Course Innovation Grant recipients include:

David Cohen

David Cohen, professor of classics and director of the Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice, will teach HUMRTS 114: Human Rights Practice and Challenges in Southeast Asia. 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.

Usha Iyer

Usha Iyer, assistant professor of film and media studies, will lead Global 110: Love in the Time of Cinema. Offered in the fall quarter, it will examine intimate on-screen relationships and how these romances influence our understanding of love.  “The course encourages us to view the central cinematic narrative of romantic coupling as a lens to analyze social, political, and economic differences and connections between different cultures,” says Iyer. Through films from countries including Palestine, France, Poland, and India, students will gain a better understanding of how love, marriage, and cinema have become deeply intertwined in the modern world.

Roanne Kantor

Roanne Kantor, assistant professor of English, will teach Global 120: Stories at the Border,which focuses on the social and political process of border making around the world. “It examines three areas of contemporary border conflict—U.S./Mexico, Israel/Palestine, and India/Pakistan—and asks what kinds of unique insights might come from literature and other forms of cultural production that we’re not getting from, let’s say, a policy memo or a news report,” says Kantor. Students will read books across a wide variety of genres, including graphic novels, westerns, and detective stories, starting with The City & the City by China Miéville. Through the course, which will take place in spring, Kantor hopes her students will gain a better understanding of the social construction of geopolitical boundaries.

Several courses that have received Course Innovation Grants in the past will be offered again in the 2019-20 academic year, including:

COMPLIT 100: Capitals: How Cities Shape Culture, States, and People
Winter 2020
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
Winter 2020
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 135: Around the World in Ten Films
Winter 2020
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.



HUMRTS 108: Spanish Immersion Service-Learning: Migration, Asylum, and Human Rights at the U.S. Mexico Border
Fall 2019 and Winter 2020
Vivian Brates

Students will have the opportunity to apply their advanced Spanish language skills and knowledge from the class as volunteers with the Dilley Bro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas for one week immediately following the academic term. Students will work directly with detained Spanish-speaking families seeking asylum to prepare them for the credible fear interview (CFI).



LATINAM 177A: Mapping Poverty, Colonialism, and Nation Building in Latin America
Winter 2020
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 46N: Contemporary African Politics
Spring 2020
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.


Visit Explore Courses for updated information about these courses.