Benjamin Richard Gardner
Investigates different meaning of the claims about globalization, a term often used to describe processes of change that take place across and outside of national contexts. Critically examines contemporary global processes in order to explore their impacts on our lives.
Globalization is often described as the worldwide intensification of social, political and economic relationships. Some claim that this increasingly interconnected world opens up opportunities for economic prosperity and democratic processes. Others claim that these interconnections economically dispossess and politically marginalize certain groups, societies, and people at the expense of the already powerful and wealthy.
Based on specific assumptions about what globalization is and what it means, people take positions alternatively advocating for the intensification of global processes, regulating them, or resisting them. Such framings of globalization posit it as a set of malleable relationships that are subject to the whim of human desire and thought.
This course looks at globalization as a set of historical and geographical forces and their effects on different regions and groups. We will investigate the debates about globalization to understand the origins of the global political economy, the processes, institutions, and ideological prisms through which it works, and how these forces intersect with pre-existing geographic differences and inequalities.
Student learning goals
Provide a working definition of globalization and describe its constituent elements.
Discuss the historical origins of globalization, both in terms of the development of capitalism more broadly and the specific crises in the post WWII period that led to the restructuring of the global economy.
Define and demonstrate appropriate use of key concepts in global political economy.
Describe the origins of some of the key institutions in the global economy and how they have transformed over the last fifty years.
Articulate how different understandings and representations of globalization lead to different analyses of the creation of poverty and wealth.
Analyze the potential efficacy of one or two social movement strategies against globalization.
General method of instruction
The format of the class emphasizes collaboration between students and with the professor; therefore a relatively large portion of your final grade depends on your overall contribution to the course. On the most basic level of course contribution, you should come to class on time and stay for the duration, having read the assignment and having given it some thought in preparation for participating in discussion and group activities. In addition, you will have many structured opportunities to contribute to the course. You will also have the opportunity to participate in electronic discussions on Blackboard. If you feel that you are particularly shy about speaking in the full class, you can make contributions in other ways, but you must meet with me early in the quarter to arrange this. Class participation is not only a way to share what we’ve learned, but also a chance to ask questions, experiment with new ideas and explore issues that are unclear. Other in-class activities, written and otherwise, may also be assigned and evaluated under course contribution.
There are many ways to approach the topic of globalization; this course will largely draw from the theoretical traditions of political economy and cultural studies. You are not expected to be well versed in economic or cultural theory to take this course; indeed you will see that the language of political economy and cultural politics are quite different than that of contemporary economics. Nevertheless, we will use many terms and concepts that may seem difficult at first. While I will do my best to explain those concepts that are critical to the course material, as well as provide other tools you will need, ultimately it is your responsibility to do well. This means active and timely reading, regular participation in class, and seeking help when you need it. It is extremely difficult to do well in the class if you do not attend class on a regular basis and do all of the reading.
Class assignments and grading
The course requirements are designed to give you different kinds of opportunities to succeed in this class. Grades/evaluations will be based on: 1. A short (non-research based) writing assignment that will ask you to reflect on a key term. For this assignment, reflection will count more heavily than getting the right answer. 5% of the total grade. 2. A midterm examination, focusing on definitions and key concepts, to be held in class. 20% of the total grade. 3. Completion of a group research project, to be organized and discussed in class. A small portion of this grade will be based on your meeting interim deadlines. 25% of the total grade. 4. Course contribution. Engaged and respectful participation in class, on discussion boards, and group assignments. 20% of the total grade. 5. A take-home final examination that tests your analytical and evaluative knowledge of course content. 30% of the total grade.