Fall 2018 Seminars
Can Giving Change the World?: Engaging Social Responsibility through Philanthropy
This course examines the relationship between the individual and society by addressing the question: How do individuals and organizations address pressing and enduring social problems to create meaningful change? Through the lens of philanthropy, this course introduces students to social responsibility and some of the big problems facing society. We will learn about how philanthropists and social entrepreneurs are creatively combating the most pressing social problems such as poverty, environmental degradation, and disease at local, national and global levels. A large portion of the course is focused on a hands-on grant-making project where the class will explore community needs, solicit grant proposals, visit prospective grant finalists and, ultimately, give away $10,000 in real money to local nonprofits.
Environmental Policy and Politics
This course surveys environmental politics and policy through a global lens. We will examine the nature and scope of environmental, energy, and natural resource problems; contrasting perspectives on their severity and policy implications; the goals and strategies of the environmental community and its opponents; public opinion on the environment; scientific, economic, political, and institutional forces that shape policymaking and implementation; approaches to environmental policy analysis; and selected issues in environmental policy both within the U.S. and globally. On any given week, the course format will include: Tuesday (lecture/and or guest speaker); Thursday (application – case/student perspective). At the end of the semester, the students in this course will apply course materials to convene a mock global citizenship summit on climate change policy.
Global Issues and Public Diplomacy
Public diplomacy breaks beyond the Fast and Furious franchise to inform the world of who we are as Americans. Foreign policy is only successful if we learn about the people outside our borders and understand how they perceive our policies. You’ll learn how this is done through access to influential decision-makers like the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia and diplomats beaming in from Moscow or Myanmar. Closer to home, you’ll explore connections to diplomacy with a tribal council member and a hip hop dancer. Assignments include simulating a press conference and developing a public diplomacy campaign to hone practical communication skills.
Linguistic Diversity: Myths, Realities, Challenges and Solutions
There are over 6000 languages spoken across the world today. By some estimates, as many as 90% of the world’s languages will no longer be spoken by the end of this century. At the same time, dialect variation across regions, ethnicities, ages, and genders continues to increase. In this course we explore macro-level linguistic diversity (i.e. variation across languages), and micro-level linguistic diversity (i.e. variation within languages) across the globe. We assess the value of linguistic diversity to researchers, to communities throughout the world, and to humanity as a whole. We tackle several global challenges, such as (i) the threat to linguistic diversity, (ii) the perpetuation of language myths, (iii) the role of “standard” languages, and (iv) the impacts of linguistic discrimination, with the goal of generating and evaluating possible solutions.
Migration and Refugees in the Modern World
Today, there are an estimated sixty million refugees on the move worldwide. This course will examine historical issues related to the contemporary migration crisis. To provide a comparative perspective, students will explore the history of refugees and migration through several case studies, ranging from Russia and interwar Europe to Cuba and Sudan. The course will ask students to compare different cases involving refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. For example, students can evaluate the ways in which revolutions, such as those in Russia and Cuba, helped established a context in which many different groups sought exile in order to better understand how it is that Arab Spring and its consequences contributed to the current global refugee crisis.
Perspectives on Power: Untangling Global Energy Systems
Perspectives on Energy explores the global energy nexus through the lens of controversy. As debates around energy issues tend towards polarization, leadership takes the form of multilingualism, an ability to see and address nuances from a wide range of perspectives. In this class, students will use current controversies as gateways into the vast rabbit warren that is Energy. We will divide the semester into four modules, each with a central question that manifests locally but has global implications. Beyond each module’s introduction, students will play a part in guiding the class’s lines of inquiry and practicing leadership in situations where, rather than prescribing a solution, it may be wiser to seek the better question.
Reimaging Global Health: Biosocial Perspectives
This course will examine a set of global health problems rooted in rapidly changing social structures, cultural beliefs and practices, and environmental and biological realities that transcend geopolitical and other imagined boundaries. The overall goal of this seminar is to enhance students’ understanding of critical global health issues through a thoughtful examination and evaluation of multidisciplinary approaches to global health problems. Course materials and assignments will integrate intercultural and international perspectives on health and disease. These perspectives will focus on developing student understandings of cultural differences in health as well as the range of cultural values, social dynamics, and biological parameters that underlie efforts to address health challenges on a global level. The course will underscore the intellectual dimensions of multiple worldviews dealing with health and illness and guide the student in applying those worldviews to efforts to identify and address health issues.