Field Description

Students should first seek to understand the historical dimensions of globalization. How have peoples been brought together through empires, through neo-mercantilist practices in the early modern world, through "free trade" following the industrial revolution, and through the contemporary effects of new communication and transportation technologies, and as a result the fall of Communist bloc? Globalization has several dimensions--political, social and economic, cultural. Global capital flows and the emergence of supra-national institutions compromise the sovereignty of decision-making at the national level. Powerful actors in richer countries can try to export their ways of doing and desiring things and understanding problems. The possibilities for the rise of poorer countries can create ascendant middle classes as well as render older middle classes precarious, thereby generating political instability. Globalization creates new relations among groups, while breaking ties between others, creating cosmopolitan sensibilities and social exclusion at the same time. Globalization is of course an economic process, and students may be interested in the movement of people, goods, money, capital and production facilities across borders. But it is also a cultural and political process, and students studying globalization will find relevant courses across campus in Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Development Studies, Economics, Environmental Economics and Policy, History, Geography, Political Science, and Sociology.

Students interested in Development will take courses in the same Departments, and have taken up questions about the role of free trade and protectionism in development from both a historical and contemporary perspective, the politics of the statistical measures for development, philosophical questions about the ends of development, the ways in which inequalities and equalities are accentuated or attenuated by development processes, and the various roles that experts and global NGO's have played in the development process.