Core Curriculum

Second Year - Global and Historical Studies

Course Structure

Two courses taken in the second year, chosen from a list of three-hour courses.

Learning Objectives

  • 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.

Course Descriptions

GHS201 - "South Asian Civilizations"

This course will provide an overview of South Asian civilizations in comparative perspective, and will focus on the subcontinent's geography and history, its cultures and religions, its arts (i.e. music, dance, literature, and film), its notions of virtue and gender, its economic realities and role in the global marketplace, and its political development. Though covering the entire region, the course will pay particular attention to Pakistan and India, which, because of their religious demographics, provide an interesting contrast and a history of conflict. Nevertheless, the course will also draw attention to the ways in which religious, ethnic, communal, gender, and political lines have been blurred in South Asian history.

GHS202 - "Postcolonial Studies: The Caribbean"

Ever since Toussaint-L'Ouverture led the first successful modern slave rebellion in Haiti in the late eighteenth century, defeating the armies of France, Britain, and Spain, the Caribbean has been a pivotal region in understanding the legacy of colonialism in the Americas. In this course, we will examine, from an interdisciplinary and comparative framework, the long history of interaction between the Caribbean and the West. Beginning with Christopher Columbus's "discovery" of the New World, Europe's development of the Atlantic slave trade, and the world-changing Haitian Revolution, we will follow the efforts of formerly colonized people of this region to forge new nations, cultures, and identities in the aftermath of European imperialism. Topics likely to receive particular emphasis this semester include Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism, Rastafarianism and Obeah (Voodoo), Bob Marley and Jamaican popular music, international capitalism and the tourist industry, and the role of Caribbean women in the struggle for postcolonial identity and the development of a diasporic consciousness.

GHS203 - "Modernizing and Contemporary Europe"

This course will study the early modern establishment of nation states, the Enlightenment advocacy of human rights and constitutional government and the revolutionary movements to realize those ideas, the World Wars and the Cold War, and the establishment and expansion of the European Union."

GHS204 - "Frontiers in Latin America"

This interdisciplinary course explores the historical development of the notion of "frontiers": in Latin America though three units of study: 1) The Frontier as Contact Zone: The Amazon 2) The Promise of Modernization in the Southern Cone, and 3) Crossing Frontiers: Mexico and the United States. The themes of social and cultural identity, citizen participation, sustainable development and migration will be interwoven through the course."

GHS205 - "East Asian Interactions"

This course explores the interactions among China, Korea, and Japan. It will examine how each of the three states has contributed to the evolution of a common tradition, how each of them has benefited from the interactions, and how some of the interactions have caused destruction in the regions.

GHS206 - "Resistance and Reaction: Colonialism and Post-Colonialism in Africa"

This course intends to explore the more complex realities of African responses to the imposition of European military, cultural, and economic domination in the colonial era and the effects of such responses continuing into the postcolonial period up to the present.

GHS207 - "Resistance and Rights: Global Women"

In this course, we will examine the means by which women around the globe work individually and collectively to gain basic human rights. Issues of culture, religion, tradition, beauty, tourism, health, war, immigration, and the media will be explored as we consider the possibilities for activism and resistance to oppression.

GHS208 - "China and the Islamic Middle East"

This course examines the roots of the oldest continuing civilization today, China, and the origin and emergence of Islam as a major world culture and religion. It addresses the challenges of modernity for these two traditional cultures, particularly as they have responded to a world increasingly influenced by the West. (This course was previously listed as ID201 and CC208)

GHS209 - "Revolutionary Europe and Nigeria""

The course examines the cultural traditions of Europe and Nigeria and their confrontations with modernity in the 19th and 20th centuries. The old order ends in violence, replaced by the beginnings of democracy, science, capitalism and imperialism. (This course was previously listed as ID202 and CC209)


Students cannot fulfill the 6-hour requirement with both GHS209 "Revolutionary Europe and Nigeria" and GHS203 "Modernizing and Contemporary Europe" due to an overlap in course material.