Courses offered in the Contemporary Global Studies category must have the following dimensions:

“Core:” Courses for this CART, which lack a follow-up (such as Natural Science II, Philosophy II), need to be broadly-based surveys that provide a foundational basis for further learning in the liberal-arts tradition. While this general-education requirement entails some breadth emphasized over depth, thematic topics can be used to organize information and appeal to both professional and student interest. These should not be so narrow, however, that they seem more suitable for advanced study. Courses that can and should be offered for upper-level major curricula, especially from outside the traditional liberal arts, are inappropriate for this Core CART. Selective moments of digging deep into a subject are certainly necessary for developing student skills and should be developed in these courses. Still, essential information about content and methodology to understand global issues requires broad strokes when limited to one course in one semester.

“Contemporary:” Students should understand how the world is in the condition it is today, for good or ill. This quality requires dealing at least with human activity that has taken place in the last century up to the present. Proper understanding of these events may require going much deeper into the historical past. Much of the human condition has existed for millennia. Likewise, more emphasis could be placed on the much more recent past, the past decade or half-century. Some problems have not been around that long. Yet overall, students need to have this category provide them basic tools and knowledge about most major institutions and attitudes that connect and divide people today.

“Global:” Students need to understand the worldwide dimensions of contemporary problems. While any problem, from the Wyoming Valley to the Americans may have global consequences, this category should exclude courses that are too geographically narrow in conception. As such, this category cannot focus on courses that might belong with the Foreign Cultures CART, even if they add perspectives drawn from the social sciences. Nor should courses in this category overemphasize the American dimensions of, or perspectives on, any problem, even while we can hardly ignore America’s dominant political and cultural position. Instructors should strive to avoid, or at least make clear for analysis, any “hyphen-centrism,” whether of “American-,” “Euro-,” or any particular ethnicity or gender. This category should not house “regional” studies either, even if those regions include several different peoples, cultures, states, etc. It should range across this planet’s surface, drawing in as many perspectives as possible that contribute to understanding the institutions and attitudes that have changed our shared past and are transforming our future. The course may be taught by a survey that examines all areas of the world, or by global comparative studies.

“Studies:” Courses in this category should also include interdisciplinary approaches, especially those of the social sciences. The courses must significantly engage both cultural issues (value, meanings, ideologies, etc.) and structural issues (institutional arrangements, hierarchies, resource allocation, power structures, etc.) Faculty whose specialty may be in other areas (e.g. Business, Literature, Science, Philosophy) can offer courses in this category, but they must clearly delineate why the proposed offering does not better fit in another CART or major more closely connected to those disciplines. One aspect of that explanation should be the application of interdisciplinary social science themes, concerns, and interests (as well as, of course, the general-core, contemporary, and global aspects listed above).

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