Social Sciences and Global Challenges

Courses in the social sciences that explore important global issues through the lens of the social sciences. Each course focuses on a particular issue/challenge and course content assists students in understanding key disciplinary knowledge and approaches that provide insight into the issue. Students explore ways to productively think about and address the issue.

These courses help students increase their understanding of complex global issues, develop knowledge of a social science as it relates to a global issue, explore approaches to and solutions for global issues, develop skills and confidence in applying know ledge to complex issues, and improve writing and research skills. Global Challenges courses include students from a variety of disciplines, promoting interdisciplinary conversation and understanding. This course requires a major paper or project, as well as some kind of reflective assignment where students are asked to synthesize their overall learning as it relates to the global issue being studied. Community-based learning is encouraged but not required.

Sample Sections

Crime & Punishment: Modern Age

Faculty: Henry Kamerling

All societies have crime. All societies punish. This course will explore the problem that crime and its punishment presents to modern civilization. By examining how different cultures throughout the modern world address the inevitability of crime and punishment students will interrogate the contours of modernity and investigate the relationship between punishment and the formation of modern society. At its heart we will examine what it means to be modern by exploring how it is that the way a society chooses to punish reveals its unique outlook on justice and injustice, rights and responsibilities and its appreciation of mercy and forgiveness.

Global Economic Challenges

Faculty: Yitan Li

What are the main global economic challenges we are facing today? This course addresses theories and issues of international political economy.  By examining problems such as international trade, production, debt, aid, development, the role of the state, multinational corporations, international institutions, regionalism, and the process and impact of globalization, the course aims to help students understand the main global economic challenges, especially how these challenges could influence international justice.

Deconstructing Hate

Faculty: Heath Spencer

This course explores the construct of hate from historical, psychological, sociological, organizational, and criminal justice perspectives. It inquires into the human capacity to define, and then dehumanize another and the processes that involve curtailing, controlling, or combating that capacity. In being exposed to the nature of hate in the US and abroad, students will: examine hate as a cultural practice; explore its communicative and social cognitive foundations; examine hate from a legal and social scientific perspective; explore hate crimes and hate speech; and examine politics and psychology of prejudice, discrimination and hate.

Politics of Reproduction

Faculty: Harriet Phinney

This class examines reproduction through an anthropological lens with a particular focus on the politics of reproduction. By using reproduction as an entry point to cultural analysis we will explore the ways in which reproduction relates to broader systems of power, identity, race, and technology in different cultural contexts around the world.