Global Studies (GS)
GS 2050 21st Century Global Issues (4 Credits)
Certain problems migrate across national boundaries to become global issues. Global issues related to population growth and the movement of people, energy use, environmental impact, the spread of disease and hunger, and the control of weapons of mass destruction are all examples of challenges that must be addressed by all nations. This course guides students through the complex process of understanding how certain global issues are addressed (or unaddressed) by nation states, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Students learn processes to identify these global issues and apply those methods through group and individual projects. Students will be encouraged to reflect on how these issues may affect them personally and how to formulate strategies to deal with transnational problems.
GS 2100 The Past as Prologue (4 Credits)
The present-day character of the world's major regions--Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America--has been shaped by centuries of history, not only specific events such as wars, elections and peace treaties but also long-term developments in culture, language, religion and politics. This course provides a framework for thinking about general historical trends in selected regions of the world, while emphasizing case histories of countries in each region. By examining these national histories, students not only deepen their knowledge of key regions around the world, but also gain analytical skills that enable them to continue learning about other cultures and societies, and the many ways in which the past shapes the present.
GS 3050 Economics and Finance (4 Credits)
This course begins with a review of fundamental economic concepts, such as supply and demand, cost analysis, money and banking, saving and investment, and the nature and limitations of markets. The emphasis is on how basic economic factors influence all types of organizations and what organizations do to manage their financial affairs through budgets, financial controls, investments, and collaborations with other organizations. The role of international and financial institutions, such as the World Trade Organization, World Bank Group, and International Monetary Fund, will be examined. How globalization has altered the economic and financial arrangements between countries is also explored. Students learn to utilize economic and financial tools to identify and analyze international business opportunities.
GS 3100 Understanding International Trade (4 Credits)
Basic concepts of international economics are reviewed to explore how economic factors, such as exchange rates, balance of payments, inflation, labor, tariffs, and the flow of capital, affect trade. Using existing data sources, students explore what countries and regions trade with each other, to what extent, and in what products and services. Students analyze the international trade interactions of a particular state, country, or region, as well as the historical and current factors that impact these patterns. Students explore legal constraints to engaging in international trade, such as requirements for export licenses and screening for individuals and countries where trade is illegal.
GS 3150 Global Politics (4 Credits)
What will the global political landscape look like in the next 10, 25, 50 years? Which countries will dominate the political order? Will there be any dominant Superpowers, or will power be distributed among a variety of nations? In this course, students examine the shifting role of government as the world becomes more interconnected through global trade, communication, and travel. Historical theories of international relations are contrasted with new theories that attempt to describe the complex interdependence between countries. What strategies do nation-states employ to advance their global interests? How do nation-states and international organizations interact? What is global governance? In addition to answering these questions, this course also focuses on the changing role of people, of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and of multinational businesses in this interconnected world.
GS 3200 International Peace & Security (4 Credits)
This course explores the challenges of international security, peace, and conflict. In helping students make sense of headlines from around the world, this course first presents major theories of conflict and peace, then examines some of the most important issues currently on the global agenda: terrorism, nuclear weapons, ethical, and religious conflict, the promises and problems of collective security, economic interdependence, global information flows, and the rising political power of networked individuals in the digital age. The course challenges students to discover the complex relationships among these issues, question their own assumptions about peace and security, and reflect on how their own identities and futures are affected by the forces explored in the course.
GS 3250 Society Through Novels and Film (4 Credits)
Artistic modes of expression such as film and literature offer a lens for understanding the forces and concerns that have shaped and are continuing to shape, countries, regions, and peoples. Literary and artistic movements arise because of the particular confluence of history and the creative choices of artists, reflecting the issues that are at the vanguard of the times. Students analyze key works of literature and film in order to learn how these works can provide a concrete understanding of society's cultural values and political events. Simultaneously, students learn how their own values and history, as well as their assumptions about artistic creators and observers, are present in their interactions with the work being studied and how these factors affect their understanding of the region, area, or people they wish to study.
GS 3300 Human Geography (4 Credits)
Human geography analyzes people and places and how they interact across broad expanses of history and multi-continental distances. This course examines the roles geography and humanity have played in shaping one another in space and time. This course pays special attention to how and why cultures have developed in particular spaces. Global, regional, and national factors are emphasized in considering how a specific place shapes one's identity, values, and traditions. This course also provides an introduction to GIS mapping and considers issues of global health, eco-refugees, climate change, poverty, sustainability, war, and economics. Students gauge the influence of media and governments on issues of geographic importance.
GS 3800 The Puerto Rican Paradox: Challenges and Opportunities in Uncertain Times (4 Credits)
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a tropical paradise boasting vibrant communities, rich cultures, and abundant natural resources. Once coined a “natural jewelry box” by the BBC, Puerto Rico offers sparkling turquoise waters, bioluminescent bays, lush mountainous terrain, and colorful colonial architecture. It is also plagued by a debilitating debt crisis, political corruption, and a crumbling infrastructure, which, particularly in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, have caused many residents to flee the island in search of better opportunities and more stable living conditions. In this course, students will examine the paradox that is Puerto Rico. Drawing from literature on culture, history, power, and politics, students will research a topic of their choosing, with the professor’s approval. They will then work with local communities in Puerto Rico on a project of mutual interest and importance, culminating in an approach or proposal for addressing the issue(s) at hand. Students will be required to spend 5 days on-site in Puerto Rico, plus any necessary travel time. This course will give students broad exposure to the history and culture of Puerto Rico, in addition to a nuanced understanding of a specific industry, issue, or problem. It will additionally highlight the power, privilege, and oppression that exists in our own backyards on this U.S. Commonwealth island.