Courses vary by year and semester. This is a sampling of courses our faculty teach.

How do people define culture, identity, and globalization? What kinds of work do these loaded words do? Are their definitions the same or different across societies? How have various academic disciplines defined these terms? How can analyzing debates over their use in psychiatry, psychology, and anthropology help us understand contemporary events? The goal of this course is to explore a wide range of sources on culture, identity, and globalization. We will read authors and compare their arguments against what is happening today. The point is not to side with anyone, but to make our assumptions explicit when we use these terms and to better analyze the arguments of others.

This course examines how domestic and international politics influence the economic policies of developing countries. Coursework critically evaluates different theoretical debates related to foreign economic policymaking in emerging markets, and introduces chief methodological approaches used in contemporary analyses. The course focuses attention on different types of cross-border flows: the flow of goods (trade policy), the flow of people (immigration policy), the flow and location of production (foreign investment policy), the flow of capital (financial and monetary policy), and the flow of pollution (environment policy). In the process, it addresses several themes that are central to understanding the politics of economic policymaking in emerging economies: the legacies of colonialism, trade protectionism and liberalization, globalization and the race to the bottom, the relationship between economic policy and culture, and development and redistribution.

Climate change policy in recent decades has centered on two core concepts, mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere) and adaptation (coping with the impacts that these gasses have and will produce). This course concentrates on the latter. It familiarizes students with current approaches to projects and programs that promote adaptation, showing both the utility of the approaches and some of their limits. The two key concepts associated with adaptation–vulnerability and resilience–are studied in detail; students learn to engage critically with these concepts. Key issues in adaptation are also reviewed carefully, addressing issues of governance and of participation. Students not only learn core concepts and methods, but also how to explain them to decision-makers.

“Global Governance” has become an increasingly common term to capture an enormous diversity of governance regimes and specific public and private agreements. It includes well-established public institutions such as the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the ISO (International Standards Organization). But it also includes private agreements among actors in specialized domains, such as private commercial arbitration –which has become the dominant form for settling cross-border business disputes. The course will cover the full range of these governance modes even if not all specific agreements — a number so vast it is impossible to cover in a single course.

All art is political, but some art is made as a form of protest or to incite an audience to protest. Most of it is both. This course—though far from exhaustive in its coverage—will present a sample of genres (music, plastic arts, theater, dance, installation, photography) in a variety of locations and times to understand how art and artists have engaged in protest. Much of modern art is conceptual, using installations and performance to communicate. Therefore, we will start the class by turning to T.J. Clark, the preeminent art historian, for his answer to the question, when did modern art begin? This question will lead us to explore the debate on the purpose of art. We will then move to how artists responded to moments of crisis in the early 20th century—world wars, economic depression, and the rise of fascism—because the art that emerged informs much of what we see today. Based on these foundational questions, the class will turn to case studies from around the globe.

This course examines how changes in information and communications technology have, over the past two decades, fundamentally transformed the practices of civil society actors engaged with human rights issues. New communications tools such as Twitter, blogs, and Facebook have changed the ways that organizations communicate with their followers and seek to influence public debate. The increasing accessibility of analytic tools for researching and visualizing changing patterns of human rights abuse has empowered groups to better understand and respond more forcefully to these issues. Indeed, the use of social media as a communications tool has made it a data source for those monitoring and analyzing patterns of activity, in ways that draw increasingly on the techniques of big data analysis.

While globalization has in certain respects “flattened” the world, there is simultaneously a distinct geographic logic to what Manuel Castells refers to as the “space of flows” that defines our current age. Specifically, by serving as central nodes in the worldwide circulation of everything from capital, goods, people, and viruses to ideas, cultural products, and aesthetic preferences, urban areas—and especially those often labeled as “global cities”—are constitutive of modern life. Accordingly, city spaces provide an ideal vantage point from which to contemplate diverse global processes. Accordingly, this course will focus on cities as globally embedded units and agents. Our broader aims are to understand how the mutual imbrication of the local and the global within cities generates tendencies that simultaneously flatten space while also accentuating disparate socio-spatial dynamics and inequalities. And, second, to consider how cities are on the frontlines of many of the most pressing problems facing humanity, as well as efforts to address them.

Even in the midst of resurging nationalism, we continue to live in an intensely interconnected world where distant protests trigger local action, local pathogens seed global pandemics, international maneuverings cause local wars, faraway wars bring migrants and refugees to one’s community, global finance reshapes cityscapes, and a mounting climate crisis creates new living conditions everywhere. While studies of “globalization” often take a birds-eye view of the impacts of global interconnectivity, this course focuses also on regions, localities, and our own communities, as we seek to make sense of how the spaces that exist all around us are implicated in, and generative of, various kinds of global flows, ranging from capital, goods, and people to ideas, cultural products, and aesthetic preferences. Our broader aim, then, is to understand how the mutual imbrication of the local and the global generates tendencies that simultaneously flatten space and accentuate disparate socio-spatial dynamics and inequalities. In turn, we will also hone methodologies for investigating the complex and uneven ways global phenomena continually reshape communities and individual lives.