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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cabeiri Debergh Robinson
JSIS 202
Seattle Campus

Cultural Interactions in an Interdependent World

Cultural interaction among societies and civilizations, particularly Western and non-Western. Intellectual, cultural, social, and artistic aspects; historical factors. Offered: Sp.

Class description

Modern political and economic systems are founded and maintained by combinations of subtle workings of ideas and overt violence. This course examines how the systems of meaning and social organization we call ‘culture(s)’ organize the experiences, ideologies, and institutions of power which we call ‘politics’ at the local, national, and international level. This course introduces a critical approach to understanding the relationship between culture and politics by examining the problem of political violence and armed conflict and its relationship to society and culture in the post-WWII world. The questions this course will address include: In what ways are strategies of power produced through forms of knowledge that are culturally organized? How does power become internalized and personalized so that people actively reproduce it? What does it mean for a society to become ‘militarized’? What are ‘cultures of terror’ and what does it mean to rule by fear rather than by consent or coercion? How is torture and the violent inscription of the body a ‘modern’ political practice? How do cultural expectations shape international recognition of conflicts as ‘war’, ‘civil insurgency’, or ‘terrorism’ and of impacted people and populations as ‘victims’, ‘refugees’, ‘perpetrators’ or ‘terrorists’? What is the distinction between modern and postmodern warfare and how do their political economies differ? How do post-cold war peace-making paradigms of accountability and reconciliation rely on the transformative possibilities of political culture? We adopt an ethnographic perspective to examine the these questions through the examination of processes of political violence and armed conflict in the daily lives of ordinary people, drawing on case studies from the US, South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Student learning goals

• Learn the terms, concepts, and theories of culturally informed studies of international political culture.

• Understand cultural explanations about the problem of contemporary political violence.

• Develop the ability to use ethnographic and anthropological information and ideas to explain contemporary political and social problems.

• Develop and improve the ability to synthesize and analyze different ideas and theories about contemporary political and social problems.

General method of instruction

Three 50 min. lectures and two section discussion hours per week.

Recommended preparation

Sophomore standing or previous completion of SIS 200 or SIS 201. Students should expect to do all readings and attend all class sessions.

Class assignments and grading

There will be seven weekly response papers, a 5-6 page analytic essay using course readings, discussions and writing workshops in sections, current events quizzes, and a short answer and essay final exam on lecture and reading materials in which students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of key concepts.

The final grade will reflect students’ full participation in this course weighted as follows: response papers 30%, essay paper 20%, section participation 20%; quizes 10%; final exam 20%. Weekly response papers: 30% Essay Paper: 20% Section Participation: 20% Quizes 10% Final Exam: 20%

TOTAL: 100 %


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 01/25/2013