By Fan Liu
Last spring, the Stanford Global Studies Division received a new grant from Global Studies Division director Jeremy Weinstein to fund a series of courses aimed at increasing undergraduate exposure to global issues. The grant supported five courses offered during the 2017-2018 academic year.
Of the five courses, four were new. Three of these courses were offered fall 2017-2018: “Around the World in 10 Films,” “Mapping Poverty, Colonialism and National Building in Latin America” and “Populism and the Erosion of Democracy.”
Weinstein, a political science professor and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute who formerly worked as a deputy to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said he awarded the grants because he believed having an international perspective on global issues was important regardless of one’s major.
“Courses are a really important context in which students get some exposure to different parts of the world, and so absolutely supporting these courses is one way of helping students get better acquainted not just with Global Studies but also with the set of issues that we’re here to champion on campus,” Weinstein said.
He said some of the professors are using the grant money to support their research in the course development process and to invite speakers from around the world. Often, the professors need research assistants to help them plan a course.
One of the funded courses taught last quarter, GLOBAL 106: “Populism and the Erosion of Democracy,” taught by political science professor Anna Gryzmala-Busse, focused on the rise of populism. The course examined when populism becomes a threat to democracy, how the global economy can generate inequality which leads to supporting populist movements and the possibility of networks between populist parties.
Gryzmala-Busse said the global class attracted a diverse set of students, stimulating class discussions.
“We had students coming in from various backgrounds of previous exposure, from first years undecided about their major to visiting fellows from the Freeman Spogli Institute who have experience with global issues and activism,” Gryzmala-Busse said. “This diversity of perspectives has made way for fascinating questions.”
One of the courses, COMPLIT 100: “Capitals: How Cities Shape Culture, States, and People” (COMPLIT 100/DLCL 100/HISTORY 206E/URBANST 153) with Lisa Surwillo, Iberian and Latin American Cultures professor, will be offered this quarter. The grant will cover “Human Rights in Historical Perspective” taught by classics professor and Director of the Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice David Cohen in spring.
Contact Fan Liu at fliu6 ‘at’ stanford.edu.