The term globalization often refers to increasing cultural homogeneity but also to growing familiarity with multiple forms of diversity and intercultural exchange across the globe. The term is used to reference notions of progress and development, but also increasing poverty and inequality. In this course, we will look at how historical perspectives of the forces of globalization — including capitalism and modernity — shape contemporary understandings of immigration, dislocation, labor, gender and ethnic difference, the law, human rights, and indeed the human itself.
This course will challenge you to think about the implications of how difference is understood and represented in terms of the concepts of globalization and anti-globalization for political problems such as war, poverty, environmental destruction, forced dislocation, imperialism, and freedom of movement and expression. We will examine how human relations in specific locales are shaped through economic and cultural relations, forced displacement due to war and economic hardship, mass media, different forms of representation and changing means of mobility. To this end, we will draw on specific examples from African, European, Middle Eastern, Asian, Latin and North American contexts. This is an interdisciplinary course that draws on work in the fields of anthropology, literature, feminist theory, and postcolonial studies. Readings will include texts by: Benedict Anderson, João Biehl, Homi Bhabha, Heath Cabot, Karen Engle, Cynthia Enloe, Carla Freeman, Clifford Geertz, Amitav Ghosh, Andre Gunder Frank, Stuart Hall, David Harvey, Alexander Laban Hinton, Jonathan Xavier Inda, Alisson Jaggar, Claude Levi-Strauss, Bronislaw Malinowski, Karl Marx, Marcel Mauss, Sally Engle Merry, Renato Rosaldo, Deborah Thomas, Michel Trouillot, Anna Tsing, and Robert Young.