Global and Intercultural Studies (GIC) Co-major

The GIC Co-major enhances a primary degree by exploring questions related to global systems of power in our increasingly interconnected world. The co-major, which incorporates both humanities and social science, studies questions related to belonging and culture as well as economic and political trends. Its themes transcend national boundaries. They shape and are shaped by an increasingly global and intercultural world. Students learn to solve contemporary problems using interdisciplinary perspectives and diverse frames of reference.

The co-major incorporates both the humanities and social science approaches.

Key Questions

  • How do global systems of power function in our increasingly interconnected world?
  • How do political boundaries relate to notions of belonging and culture?
  • How do economic and political systems transcend these boundaries?

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing a degree in Global and Intercultural Studies, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate global and intercultural literacy in oral and written contexts.
  2. Identify key questions of culture and identity in our increasingly interconnected world.
  3. Summarize a broad range of intellectual perspectives and apply analytical skills to specific global problem.
  4. Identify and propose possible solutions to contemporary problems and issues of power and inequality from a number of different perspectives, disciplines, and frames of reference.
  5. Synthesize existing data on and design and execute a research project that tracks the transnational flow of persons, ideas, and objects that characterize globalization today and have historically shaped our world.
  6. Draw conclusions about one's own critical self-awareness and engaged global citizenship that supports local diversity and respects individual dignity.

Thematic Concentrations

I. Global Economies

Interconnected, outsourced, internationalized, and unequal, global economies—capitalist, socialist, and increasingly rarely, communist—are one of the definitive elements of globalization in the twenty-first century. Co-majors in Global and Intercultural Studies may elect the thematic concentration in Global Economies to study inequality, international divisions of production and finance, political economy, systems of global economic exchange, the emergence of historical institutions that govern global economies, such as the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, as well as bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, philosophical and ideological differences between "free trade" and "fair trade," and anti-globalization movements.

II. Critical Race and Ethnicities

Race, racialization, notions of racial difference, and racism have had local, regional, national, and international implications: students co-majoring in Global and Intercultural Studies may select a thematic concentration in Critical Race and Ethnicities from multiethnic and multinational perspectives. Worldwide historical case studies could include segregation, apartheid, caste systems, and even genocides. This concentration foregrounds and examines race as a historical, legal, material construct (not as a biological given) and helps students understand the deleterious ways that racism has had oppressive forms across the globe and formulate critical, antiracist approaches to living with others in the world.

III. Human Rights and Social Movements

Legally codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was ratified by the United Nations in 1948, international human rights and international human rights law are defining elements in globalization and twenty-first century existence. Students co-majoring in Global and Intercultural Studies may thematically concentrate their studies on Human Rights and Social Movements—including civil rights movements, social justice movements, labor rights movements, and myriad other movements of the past century.

IV. Migrations: Transnationalism and Diaspora

According to the United Nations, there were over 244 million international migrants in 2015: of this total, 65.3 million people had been forcibly displaced, 21.3 million were refugees, and 10 million were stateless individuals without the protections of citizenship. In an era of travel bans, walls, closed borders, and immigration controls, visa quotas, and militarily-enforced geographical borders, students need a globalized understanding of Migrations: Transnationalism and Diaspora, one thematic concentration in the Global and Intercultural Studies co-major. International migrations yield myriad diasporas and diaspora communities who often hold dual citizenship, ambivalent national affiliation and disaffiliations, and live lives defined by transnationalism (identities and cultural exchanges not bound to one nation-state but fluidly flowing across them). Students will not only theorize mobilities and movements, including tourism, but also its inverse—indigeneity, native territoriality, and rootedness.

V. Critical Gender and Sexualities

Suffrage movements, liberation struggles, women's rights, gender equality, gender identity, transgender issues, and sexual identities are malleable, even fluid categories that are historically distinct, culturally specific, and socially constructed by a wide range of intersectional factors, such as race, ethnicity, class, nationality, language, sexuality, sexual orientation, age, bodily normativity (or dysphoria), ability, and disability, among many other issues. Students enrolled in the Global and Intercultural Studies co-major may concentrate their studies on the globalized dimensions of Critical Gender and Sexualities.

VI. Visual, Material, and Popular Cultures

The Global and Intercultural Studies co-major hybridizes humanities and social science approaches to the study of globalization in the twenty-first century; and students enrolled in the co-major may select a thematic concentration in Visual, Material, and Popular Cultures, which includes the study of world languages and literatures, film studies, art and art history, and other forms of visual and popular cultures, as well as music and dance, across many geographical regions, cultural traditions, linguistic communities, and in comparative relation to one another.

VII. Environment, Science, Technology, and Health

Globalization has broad implications for the environment, science, and health: students enrolled in the GIC co-major may thematically concentrate their study in the area of Environment, Science, Technology, and Health, studying, for example, global climate change, carbon exchanges, ecological blowback, food sustainability, energy collaborations, biofuels, international science exchanges, patents, licenses, and global public health issues from a cross-continental and international perspectives.