21G.035 | Fall 2003 | Undergraduate, Graduate

Topics in Culture and Globalization



There will be four significant writing assignments: two 5-page essays (due in Weeks 5 and 9), and a 7-8 page final project due on the last day of class. You will have a choice of essay topics, or with the approval of the instructor, they may be developed from the issues raised in the weekly discussions. I am happy to look at preliminary drafts of papers, but except for unusual circumstances, I do not accept rewrites. I would also encourage people to make use of the Writing Center as it is an excellent resource.

Short Weekly Assignments

Depending on how the class is progressing, I reserve the right to assign short weekly assignments, such as brief writing exercises, or to ask certain students to prepare discussion questions, or to lead discussion of the readings.

Student Presentations

I would also stress that student presentations form a key component of the course. Students will be asked to make short presentations, either formally or as part of discussion, throughout the term as a way of delving into the readings, films, and lectures. I encourage you to use such opportunities to introduce the class as a whole to examples of culture and globalization that may not be directly treated in the reading assignments or lectures.

With a topic like “Culture and Globalization,” there is clearly no way for a one-semester class to be comprehensive, nor give a full overview of the issues involved. Instead, we will focus on developing the analytical tools necessary to unravel some of the complex economic, political and cultural changes of the contemporary world with respect to globalization. In order to accomplish this, the course will rely to a large extent on the work of you, the students, to bring concrete, up-to-date examples which we can use to assess the theoretical readings and reconsider their conclusions in light of our examples.

Below are assignments due throughout the term.

Essay #1

Diamond argues that the conquest of the Americas resulted from dramatic differences in the power of Europeans over people less endowed with guns, germs, and steel. In the articles assigned from Media Worlds, we see examples of the periphery attempting to use media to confront certain contemporary differences in cultural, political, and economic power. When do such efforts seem to work best and why? Write a short commentary suggesting one (or at most two) things that seem to make a difference in using media to promote political, economic, or cultural goals.

Week 2: A Pre-History of Globalization: Guns, Germs, and Steel

Reading Due

Greider, William. “The Real Cancun: WTO Heads Nowhere.” In The Nation. Sept. 22, 2003. Pp. 11-20. (please read related articles in the packet too).

Diamond, Jared. “Preface: Why is World History Like an Onion?” In Guns, Germs, and Steel. Pp. 9-11. (Handout in Class)

———. “Prologue: Yali’s Question.” In Guns, Germs, and Steel. Pp. 13-32.

———. “Collision at Cajamarca.” Chapter 3 in Guns, Germs, and Steel. Pp. 67-81.

———. “Hemisphere’s Colliding.” Chapter 18 in Guns, Germs, and Steel. Pp. 354 - 375.

Beynon, Dunkerley. “General Introduction.” In Globalization: The Reader. NY: Routledge, 2000. (Handout)

Film: Trobriand Cricket (50 min.) and Discussion.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2003
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Presentation Assignments
Written Assignments