The impact of global change is dramatic and far-reaching, altering the dynamics of everyday life on a planetary scale. The minor in globalization provides students with the opportunity to think creatively about a range of globalizing processes, theories, and practices (in cultural, political, social, biomedical, economic, and artistic contexts). Courses investigate issues pertinent to the phenomenon of globalization, including cultural exchange; multicultural communities; global governance; information transfer; and social, environmental, health, and labor issues. Accelerated by communication technologies, globalization redefines how individuals and communities experience and view the world.
Notes about this minor:
This minor is closed to students majoring in international and global studies and students majoring in sociology and anthropology who have chosen the cultural anthropology or sociology tracks.
Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
Notations may appear in the curriculum chart below outlining pre-requisites, co-requisites, and other curriculum requirements (see footnotes).
Within the past three decades, planetary computerization, burgeoning media industries, and other global processes have significantly altered the ways in which we experience our local and global worlds. Global reconfigurations of time and space change our consciousness, sense of self and others, and the material realities in which we live and work. This course provides the conceptual tools to assess emerging global processes, interactions and flows of people, ideas and things that challenge historical patterns of international studies and relations. The course will introduce you to international and global processes in areas such as global cultural economies, global cities, new forms of democracy and civil society, global religions, sexualities, health, and environments, increased competition for resources, political conflict, war and terrorism. Beyond understanding the causes and consequences of global change, this course will introduce you to ethical dilemmas in global justice movements, and in transferring ideas and technologies in new global contexts.
Choose four of the following:*
On the Cutting Edge: Research and Theory in the 21st Century
Research is the primary pathway to theory formation in the social sciences. This course focuses on how ideas about social life emerge through research in sociology and anthropology. This course is designed as a seminar, in which students discover how scholars in these disciplines formulate research questions in relationship to theory and issues of public concern.
Culture and Globalization
By exploring critical issues of globalizing culture, we examine how ideas, attitudes, and values are exchanged or transmitted across conventional borders. How has the production, articulation, and dissemination of cultural forms (images, languages, practices, beliefs) been shaped by global capitalism, media industries, communication technologies, migration, and tourist travels? How are cultural imaginaries forged, exchanged, and circulated among a global consumer public? How has the internationalizing of news, computer technologies, video-sharing websites, blogging sites, and other permutations of instant messaging served to accelerate cultural globalization? Students will be introduced to anthropological perspectives on cultural globalization, the transmission of culture globally, and the subsequent effects on social worlds, peoples, communities, and nations.
Language and Culture
Language is a core element of culture, both as a repository of meaning, and also because it is the primary means through which humans carry out social relationships, share ideas, and contest received understandings. Linguistic anthropology investigates this interplay between language and culture. Topics will vary by semester, and may include metaphor and narrative; language acquisition in relationship to childhood socialization; language, thought, and worldview; language and identity; multilingualism; the social contexts of language change; literacy; and the politics of language use and language ideologies.
This course introduces students to processes of interconnection, local, regional, national, and global, that have altered and continue to impact life in Africa, taking into account the enormous impact of Africans on one another and on those of us living outside of the continent. In the course, we will focus on how past, present, and anticipated future events in African movements of people, ideas, and things, across time and space effect the reception of new events. We will pay particularly close attention to how the relationships of time and space are formulated and understood by Africans in the present. While the historical past is never completed, but continuous in the present, its diverse contours lead to differently remembered, embodied, and enacted expressions. We will evaluate these diverse expressions in pre-colonial, colonial, and neo-colonial encounters as they have changed ideas of self and other, political philosophies and political economic systems, genders and sexualities, generational relations, religions, expressive arts, violence, and health on the African continent and around the globe.
Immigration to the U.S.
This course examines immigration to the U.S. within the context of globalization. We examine the push- and pull-factors that generate immigration, and changing immigration policies and debates. We consider how changes in the American workplace have stimulated the demand for foreign workers in a wide range of occupations, from software engineer to migrant farmworker and nanny. We review the cultural and emotional challenges of adapting within the American cultural landscape, transnationalism and connections with the homeland, the experiences of refugees, and how immigration has changed since 9/11. Special attention is given to immigration from Latin America, the largest sending region.
Cuisine, Culture and Power
Physically, culturally, and socially, humans live through food and drink. Spanning the globe, as nearly limitless omnivores, humans have developed myriad ways of collecting and cultivating food and taking advantage of local environments. We also put food to work for us socially by creating cuisine. Through cuisine, we forge and nourish relationships, commune with deities, and through luxury choices, demonstrate our "taste" and lay claim to elite status. Through the cultural practices of production and consumption of food and drink, we wield power. Food and drink consumption patterns have sustained slavery, poverty, malnutrition, and illegal immigration, and have laid waste to the environment. In this class, we explore physical, cultural, social, political, and economic dimensions of food and become more aware of how the private, intimate act of a bite connects us to the rest of humanity.
This course examines the spread of Islam beyond its origins in the Middle East, and the cultural and social clashes, but also the mutual adjustments that have followed. This course explores core tenets of Islam, but also how its practices and beliefs are altered as practitioners in different countries alternately adopt, co-opt, massage, react to, and reject elements in accordance with the meaningful social, cultural, and political lives they build for themselves. The compatibility of Islam with Western society is often debated in contemporary public discourse. This debate is typically marked by an assumption that Islamic beliefs clash with Western secular democratic ideals, an assumption which results in tensions over mosque building, headscarves, and other public signs of Islamic faith. We will explore the diverse ways of being Muslim from a cross-cultural perspective and the sometimes-challenging negotiation of fulfilling these religious tenets while living in Muslim-minority places.
Cultural Images of War and Terror
This course critically examines the visual culture of war and terror in a global world from an anthropological perspective. Representations of violence are endlessly transmitted on television, on the internet, in print media, in cinema, and in recreational games to become part of our everyday visual culture. Whether disseminated as news, documentary truth, or entertainment, the ubiquitous encounters with images of violence require a new form of visual literacy that not only highlights the intersection of the local and the global, but also recognizes the ways in which visual technologies, cultural politics of memory and history, media practices, and national ideologies intervene in the formation of a visual culture of war and terror.
Heritage and Tourism
Tourism is a global industry and an important part of the human experience. There are many forces within tourism that act upon people’s lives, and in particular their environments, economies, cultural heritage, and identity. This course will explore tourism and its many dimensions. Beginning with an examination of kinds of tourism, this course unpacks tourism’s ancient trade and pilgrimage roots as well as its class dynamics of post-industrialization. Other aspects of tourism to be explored include strategies and effects of tourism development and production, nationalism and cultural identity, commoditization and marketing of culture and the ethics of development, labor and infrastructural changes, social inequalities, ecological impact, sustainable tourism, the experience of tourists, ritual and authenticity, and the relationship between tourists and tourism workers. This course provides opportunities for cross-cultural analysis of tourism sites, for participant-observation of the tourist experience, and for evaluation and recommendation of tourism site development in and around Rochester.
Genocide and Post-Conflict Justice
The destruction and survival of societies often hinges upon the ideas and the social, cultural constructions of identity and belonging. When ideas fail to incorporate people, essentialist categories of identity, historical memory, and accounts of extreme violence become interrelated, potent sources of destruction. Slavery and exclusive ownership of resources leave people starving or living in perilously polluted environments. Globalizing cultural economies threaten local systems and self-representation. Group identities may be sites of crises within nation-states and global political, economic, and cultural processes. In this course, we will take critical, anthropological approaches to studies of ethnocide, genocide, and post-conflict justice. Students will use critical, anthropological approaches to assess ethnocides and genocides from the 19th century forced assimilation and slaughter of Native Americans and Amazonian Indians to more recent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and the Sudan, to understand the impact of globalization on techniques and technologies of genocides, the legal, moral/personal responsibility for genocides, media representations of genocides, and the affects of cultural, historical memory and social, global inequities upon future genocides. Students will use anthropological perspectives on genocide to assess post-conflict concepts of justice, reconstruction and reconciliation and local-global debates about their cultural resonance and effectiveness.
Global Economy and the Grassroots
Economic globalization has given birth to global grassroots social movements. This course examines how global economic integration is brought about through multilateral institutions, multinational corporations, outsourcing, trade agreements, international lending, and neoliberal reforms. We consider impacts (cultural, economic, and health) of these trends on employees, farmers, small businesses, consumers, and the environment in the developed and developing worlds (with special emphasis on Latin America). We examine beliefs, alternative visions, and strategies of grassroots movements responding to these challenges.
Humans and Their Environment
Humans and their societies have always been shaped by their environment, but as human societies became more complex, their relationship with their environment changed from one of simple adaptation to one in which they had the power to change their environment. Often, the changes they have wrought have had unintended consequences, forcing societies to adapt to the changes that they themselves have brought about. Although we tend to think that this is a relatively recent phenomenon, humans have been altering their environment since the first human societies made the transition to agriculture over ten thousand years ago, if not longer. In this class, we will use the tools of environmental archaeology to explore the history of human interactions with their environments and to draw lessons on how we could manage that interaction today.
Media and Globalization
The cultural importance of mass media has undergone tremendous growth in the context of globalization. Analysis of the global flows of media images across national borders emphasizes the cultural, social, and political impact of global media culture on communities in different parts of the world. How, for example, do mass media represent or shape cultural values and beliefs in developing societies? What is the role of mass media in forging national and ethnic identities, body images, cultural constructs of sexuality and gender, and the perceptions of war and violence in different societies?
This course examines the impact of global dynamics on cities from the early 20th century to the present. By tracing urban formations from metropolis to global city, emphasis will be placed on the making of identities, communities, and citizens in the architectural spaces, cultural places, ethnic zones, and media traces of urban life in the context of globalization.
By exploring issues of gender and sexuality in a global context, students will be introduced to anthropological perspectives on the experience of men and women, as gendered subjects, in different societies and historical contexts, including colonialism, nationalism, and global capitalism. In turn, we will explore how cultural constructions of masculinity and femininity are configured by race, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Course materials are drawn from an array of sources, reflecting various theoretical perspectives and ethnographic views from different parts of the world.
We see others as we imagine them to be, in terms of our values, not as they see themselves. This course examines ways in which we understand and represent the reality of others through visual media, across the boundaries of culture, gender, and race. It considers how and why visual media can be used to represent or to distort the world around us. Pictorial media, in particular ethnographic film and photography, are analyzed to document the ways in which indigenous and native peoples in different parts of the world have been represented and imagined by anthropologists and western popular culture.
Global Economic Issues
This course is focused on understanding economic problems in a global perspective. The students will study the impact of globalization on economic growth and income disparity among countries. Global economic issues such as poverty, hunger, refugees, and transnational terrorism will be studied. We will also discuss global efforts to attain progress such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The course work will emphasize the analysis of international economic data.
Global Information Age
The internet and cell phones seem to have turned us into world citizens of cyberspace. Programmers in Bangalore or Chennay now write software for U.S. companies, and doctors in India or Australia interpret the Cat-Scan or MRI images of US patients overnight. As bestselling author Thomas Friedman argues, the world is flat, that is competition for intellectual work is now global. Others have suggested that information technologies have led to global homogenization, with people around the world reading the same news, listening to the same music, and purchasing the same products. In this class, we will investigate the history of information and communication technologies to cast new light on these claims about our present-day technologies. This class is a small seminar which includes a research project.
Histories of Globalization
Globalization is a human process, influenced by contemporary and historical issues that are routinely conceived of as affecting or pertaining to the world’s population in its entirety, such as human rights, humanitarianism, environmental degradation, trade, and military power. We use the world and its population as the unit of analysis with an emphasis is placed on issues that appear to be in tension with the role of the nation-state and nationality, and highlight world and global citizenship. We explore critiques of the conceptualization of globality and worldliness as a factor in determining social, cultural, and historical change.
Global Slavery and Human Trafficking
This course examines historical and contemporary dimensions of global slavery and human trafficking. The trans-Atlantic slave trade was the world's largest forced migration between continents, but it was only one of many slave trades that shaped societies throughout the world. In order to understand the historical significance of global slave trades, we will compare it to other systems of slavery. In examining the historical significance and legacies of the slave trade, we will link different regional histories to the growth of market-based capitalist economies into the 20th century. The course will also examine the changing meaning of the term ‘slavery’ and examine some modern forms of forced labor, bondage, and slavery that persist to this day in all sectors of the global economy. We will explore the rise of human trafficking, and global anti-trafficking programs and campaigns.
Introduction to Global Health Issues
This introductory course will evaluate the modern challenges of global health from a multidisciplinary perspective. The key concepts of global health will be discussed, including various health determinants, human rights, healthcare systems, culture’s impact on health, environmental concerns, nutrition, communicable and noncommunicable diseases, women’s health issues, child and adolescent health, injuries, natural disasters and complex humanitarian emergencies, poverty’s impact on health and more. Students will be expected to be active learners, lead classroom activities on certain days as part of group research project presentations, and actively participate in discussions.
Global Political Economy
Examines the interplay between states and markets, as well as the interaction of the global economy and international politics. The course will cover political economy, political ideology, global trade, international capital investment, debt, the integration of national financial markets, and the impact of globalization on society and the environment.
Human Rights in Global Perspective
This course explores the theoretical meaning, both domestically and internationally, and the institutional and political aspects of human rights. Issues covered include the definition of human rights; the relationship between civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights; the meaning and impact of humanitarian and international human rights law; the impact of cultural relativism in the definition and assessment of the promotion and protection of human rights; the significance of different religious perspectives; the question of the legitimacy of humanitarian interventions and the effects of globalization on human rights perceptions and practices.
Globalization and Security
This course focuses on the shifting relationships between globalization and security. The emphasis is on security matters that arise with view to effective population management and control over the circulation of people, goods, capital, crime, diseases, and resources. The analytic framework uses the concept of governmentality to examine the management of populations and their welfare on a global scale. Under globalization, people and populations can be managed through security measures that are implemented to address specific cross-border problems, such as immigration and labor migration, terrorism, the flow of drugs, epidemics, human trafficking, and control of natural resources. The course examines these security issues in a globalizing world.
Global Public Health Crisis
Disasters as global states of emergency result from complex relationships between human populations and environmental hazards. Disasters threaten sustainable development, especially in the global south and among the world’s most vulnerable people. Global states of emergency incur significant human and economic costs, which, in addition to increasing demographic, environmental, socio-economic and related pressures, result in increasing population vulnerability. Explanations of the causes and consequences of disasters include examinations of how human vulnerability is impacted by interactions among diverse social, economic, and other factors with environmental hazards. We will discuss social vulnerability theories; sustainable development theories; the causes and consequences of disasters and interventions to manage and reduce these risks.
Global Exiles of War and Terror
Daily we watch, seemingly helplessly, as people are displaced from their communities, homelands, and countries and subsequently seek asylum around the world, sometimes within our own local communities. Causes of displacement include war, violence, persecution, and modes of terror that increasingly affect the lives of women and children. In addition to the loss of human life and potential, the ensuing consequences of violent displacement include poverty, disease, physical and psychological trauma, hopelessness, and vulnerability to human rights abuses. In this course, we explore how the rights and dignity of refugees can be protected. We also examine resettlement processes and, for those who are eventually repatriated, we address how they can successfully reintegrate into reconstructing societies that remain barely functional. Most importantly, we consider how the trauma of displacement can be minimized.
Sociologists look to cyberspace to test theories of technology diffusion and media effects on society. This course explores the Internet’s impact on communities, political participation, cultural democracy, and diversity. How have digital technologies and electronic information flows shaped or diminished inequalities of gender, sex, and race? For instance: new electronic technologies have pushed the cultural and physical boundaries of how we have sex; with whom we have sex; and with what we have sex and/or have observed having sex, such as sex toys and avatars. The sociological implications of this new technology depend on economic, legal, and policy decisions that are shaping the Internet as it becomes institutionalized. The course analyzes such new forms of cyber-democracy with a focus on issues of gender, sex, and race.
* At least two of the elective courses must be at the 300-level or above.