Write a 3 page essay on one of the following questions.
- In Sweetness and Power, Sidney Mintz explores the history of a single "global" commodity - sugar. According to Mintz, how did the transformation in the meanings and uses of sugar and its changing patterns of production and consumption affect and transform relationships between different parts of the world? In answering this question, explore the following issues: How did the meanings and uses of sugar shift historically? What were the changing patterns of production and consumption associated with sugar? How did these patterns transform relationships between people living in different parts of the world? What kinds of power relationships emerged as part of these transformations?
- Although "globalization" is often discussed as if it is unique to the current era, we have considered how different historical periods may also have been based upon "global" dynamics. Discuss Amitav Ghosh's novel, In an Antique Land, in relation to this issue. What types of historical "global" relationships does Amitav Ghosh attempt to uncover in his novel? (Be sure to offer specifics such as the time period, the regions affected, the business and cultural climate of the Indian Ocean, and the types of evidence he uses). Why does Ghosh think it is important to call attention to this history? How and why does he contrast this history with the contemporary period? (To offer greater context for the Indian Ocean trading world described in the novel, I recommend that you consult Janet Abu Lughod's book, Before European Hegemony.
Note: Please make an appointment with the writing tutor, to discuss your paper topic.
Answer ONE of the following two essay questions. Your paper should be approximately seven pages in length.
- Drawing heavily on the materials from this course, describe some of the economic transformations that occurred over the course of the 1980s and 90s. In what ways have the work and personal lives of the people we have studied been transformed? How have such transformations affected relationships between various parts of the world? What do you see as some of the long-term ramifications of such changes? In your view, are such changes generally positive, negative or some mix of the two? Make sure you offer an overview but also provide specific case examples that suggest the impact of these changes on people's everyday lives.
- "Globalization" is also often used to signal political transformations in a post-Cold War era. According to Verdery, how did state socialism work and what is it currently in transition to? More broadly how is the end of the Cold War shifting how people think about relationships between different parts of the world?
Students must write a 10-13 page final research paper based on a topic of their own choosing. Topics must in some way explore issues relating to "globalization" as discussed during the class and suggest how relationships between particular regions of the world are being configured in relation to their chosen topic. Students must reference at least two of the class readings. Students may utilize current newspaper and magazine articles and information found on the internet, as well as relevant academic literature.
Past topics have included: the differential impact of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis on different parts of the world; the molding of MTV content to fit different national contexts; the international impact of the Bombay film industry; regional perspectives on the United Nations; the impact of "outsourcing" on different parts of the world; the "global" dimensions of the Korean fashion industry; differences in the social meanings of hip hop in the U.S., Germany and Tanzania; Silicon Valley as a social and technological node of "globalization"; the increasing internationalization of professional basketball in the US; and the international impact of professionals trained at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).