Second Year - Global and Historical Studies
Global and Historical Studies engages student in an
investigation of and reflection about cultures different from their
own, especially non-western cultures. In Dr. Donald Braid's
course, Change & Tradition in China & the Islamic Middle
East, students examine the roots of the oldest continuing
civilization today, China, and the origin and emergence of Islam as
a major world culture and religion. Students don't just
address the challenges of modernity for these two traditional
cultures in the classroom, however. Face-to-face
conversations with Muslim individuals affiliated with the Nur-Allah
Islamic Center, and Iraqi and Palestinian refugees help "break
through stereotyped beliefs and get students to understand Muslims
as human beings," Braid says. "The interviews provide an
opportunity for students to go well beyond the surface," he
continues, "to ask questions and to probe issues about gender,
belief, practice, and daily life that reveal the layer of common
In the course, Resistance and Rights: Global Women, built
collaboratively by faculty affiliated with the Gender, Women, and
Sexuality Studies program, students' exploration of the world
centers on sex and gender. "What it means to be a man or a
woman in any given culture shapes people's experiences and
struggles throughout the world," according to Dr. Kristin
Hoerl. Yet "what it means to be a man or women in society. .
. doesn't ever mean the same thing to every culture. The
challenge of the course is to make sense of this
Dr. Craig Auchter, in his course Frontiers in Latin America,
agrees that helping students gain an understanding of a part of the
world different than their own is crucial. "Most North
Americans," he suggests, "know relatively little about South and
Central Americans and much of that is based on misperceptions from
movies and TV." Butler students explore a "series of
'frontier moments'," Auchter explains, "including the experiences
of Portuguese and Spanish colonization, indigenous knowledge and
cultural adaptation, the global process of modernization,
environmental degradation and sustainability efforts, changing
gender roles, and patterns of migration." This global and
historical "laboratory" that is Latin America matters. "As
our students grapple with the challenges and opportunities
presented by a world of diverse cultures . . . and their own
understanding of borders in the context of our common humanity and
contingent future, a careful study of the experiences of our
hemispheric neighbors," Auchter makes clear, "teaches us much about
ourselves as well as what we can learn from others as we set about
shaping the twenty-first century."
Course Structure: Two courses taken in the
second year, chosen from a list of three-hour courses.
The learning objectives for Global and Historical Studies
To employ a conceptual framework for global and historical
studies which appreciates cultures as dynamic,
heterogeneous, and constantly in conversation with one another.
To draw on a variety of sources and disciplines - including the
arts, the humanities and the social and natural sciences.
To recognize both the benefits and challenges of living in a
culturally diverse and increasingly globalized world.
To continue development of skills of expository writing.