January 6, 2016 Leave a Comment
Elnor Gasanov came to Brandeis’ Global Studies MA program on a Fulbright scholarship from Norway. In 2012 he wrote a Master’s thesis on human rights and Norway’s global oil industry. He is now a Norwegian diplomat to Israel. Here’s how he’s used his degree.
“After finishing my MA program, I went back to Norway…after an extensive application process with seven rounds of interviews and tests, I was admitted to the Norwegian Foreign Service in the summer 2013. My first two years, before coming to Tel Aviv in the summer 2015, I worked at the Section for Multilateral Development Finance and Global Economy and then in the Communication Unit.
“My MA program and experience at Brandeis was an important contribution to my overall understanding of global issues and international relations, and therefore undoubtedly made me a more interesting and relevant candidate. My thesis’ comparison of Norwegian national distinctiveness with other countries’ approaches was also helpful, I think, as it showed my ability to present the Norwegian perspective in an international context. After all, this is partly what diplomats do.”
“I did not talk much about my thesis while interviewing, but I mentioned how the Global Studies program has helped me to better understand the importance of the human, anthropological and cultural aspects of international relations. It is a little too early to say if my degree has helped me in my current post, but some of my responsibilities include trade, economy and commerce, which in the Norwegian case often include the oil sector and oil policy. Having dealt with that during my studies makes me more confident now.”
Want to learn more about the program? Read about it here. Applications for 2016-2017 will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning in mid-January.
October 27, 2015 Leave a Comment
IGS has about 44 classes cross-listed this semester, but a few are completely new and have limited seats. Don’t let these fill up before you get a spot!
This year we’re offering the first ever Comp Lit/IGS collaboration, a literary voyage across the Mediterranean. COML/IGS 125B: The “Sea-Between-Lands,” looks at the cultures along the sea’s shores and all interplay, back and forth, between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. You’ll study literature and film from the Francophone world (in translation) including some classics but also plenty of the sharpest writers from Greece, Lebanon, Morocco and, of course, France’s south coast.
Pardon my bias toward the humanities, but this is a great way to get a sense of a place — and what a place to understand! The “sea of monotheisms,” the waters that people have been navigating from Homer to today’s Syrian refugees. And what a professor! If you’ve met Clementine Faure-Bellaiche, you probably already have a sense how warm and bright she is. But you might not yet have seen just how incredibly knowledgeable and interesting she is too. She’s a graduate of the very top of the French academic world and is just amazing to talk to. If I could take one IGS class this spring, this would be it.
COML/IGS 125B meets in Block K: M,W 2:00 PM–3:20 PM. There are only 18 slots, so sign up quick if you’re interested!
The Mediterranean always interests me simply because for some societies, its shores were the whole world. But of course today the international is truly global, which makes this pairing of new courses especially relevant.
On the one hand you have POL 163A: Creating World Order, to be taught by Politics professor Kerry Chase. This is a course that takes you right into the minds of the people who built the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank — all born from the wreckage of World War II and created in search of a safer, more prosperous and just world. In a time when those institutions are often called outdated or even destructive, it’s worth seeing how they were built in the first place.
POL 163A: Creating World Order meets in block S2: T 2:00 PM–4:50 PM. Again, it’s limited — just 20 seats — so if you’re interested, get it quick!
At the other end of that you’ve got my own class, SOC 146B Nationalism and Globalization, which is a look at how that global order might now be coming apart. I have been struck that, while we live in a global age, nationalism also seems to be resurgent — from Russia to China, India to Europe and yes, even here, with Donald Trump.
Is there something about globalization that sparks nationalism? Are these opposites, or two sides of the same coin? We’ll also look at these cases but also places with other identities, whether the “post-national” European Union or cosmopolitan Hong Kong.
This class is for juniors, seniors and grad students and only has 15 seats! It meets in Block H: T,F 11:00 AM–12:20 PM.
Finally, we’re opening up GS 202B, Critical Global Issues, to a few select seniors this fall. This is a rare chance to take a graduate class, taught by Dr. Kristen Lucken, the director of our MA program, that offers hands-on training in how to build and evaluate an NGO, how professionals are handling the migration crisis — you’ll have exposure to real methods and real people from the field. We don’t usually let this class get bigger than 10, so add it quickly if you want it. GS 202B meets in BlockS3: W 2:00 PM–4:50 PM.
If you have other suggestions, please add them in the comments below. And happy hunting!
July 6, 2015 Leave a Comment
As enrollment for the fall semester opens up again, you may well be scrolling up and down through the Registrar’s list of IGS classes like it was a Buzzfeed listicle. Fear not: your UDRs and I have put together a list of recommended classes in each elective category. UDR comments are in italics: course descriptions are in quotations.
Needless to say, all IGS classes are wonderful and enlightening, but here are a few top choices. Enjoy!
In Global Governance, Conflict, and Responsibility
POL 164A: Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East
M 2:00 PM–4:50 PM
“Provides students with historical and analytic mastery of the Arab- Israeli conflict in a novel way. Through immersion in three competing narratives – Israeli, Palestinan, and pan-Arab – students will gain proficiency in the history of the conflict as well as analytic leverage on the possibility of its resolution. The course is organized as a seminar and is premised on active student participation.”
POL 134b Immigration, State, and Nation
Mon-Wed. 2 to 3:20
“This course examines patterns of global migration and immigration policy in Europe and the US. Immigration poses a dilemma for Western democracies. Anti-immigrant sentiments are rising but immigrants are, at the same time, regarded as needed for their skills and willingness to take jobs not wanted by others. Anti-immigrant backlash fuels the electoral success of far-right parties, yet employer interests and human rights norms limit what governments can do to control immigration, both legal and illegal.”
“Students will become familiar with the facts of migration, the core concepts and theories informing scholarly debates and disagreements, and the conflicting views and interests of policy-makers, migrants, and communities affected by immigration.”
“for students who are interested in the intersection of politics and Islam.”
In Culture, Media, and the Arts:
SAS 100A — India and Pakistan: Understanding South Asia
Prof. Harleen Singh
T,F 11:00 AM–12:20 PM
“An exploration of the history, societies, cultures, religions, and literature of South Asia–India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Uses perspectives from history, anthropology, literature, and film to examine past and contemporary life in South Asia.”
“A great introduction to one of the world’s most interesting regions, one that’s more and more important economically and politically. And Prof. Singh is amazing.”
NEW COURSE! LALS 170A — Sports, Games, and Politics in Latin America and the Caribbean
Dr. Laura Brown
M,W,Th 1:00 PM–1:50 PM
“Sports are one of Latin America’s biggest exports and imports. This course, engaging with cultural studies theory and interdisciplinary readings, examines the politics and social forces behind sports such as soccer, cricket, baseball, wrestling, and bullfighting.”
In Economics, Health, and the Environment:
ECON 122b: Economics of the Middle East
T,Th 3:30 PM–4:50 PM
“Examines the Middle East economies – past experiences, present situation, and future challenges – drawing on theories, policy formulations and empirical studies of economic growth, trade, poverty, income distribution, labor markets, finance and banking, government reforms, globalization, and Arab-Israeli political economy.”
“for students who are interested in the relationship between economics and international relations.”
HS 110A — Wealth and Poverty
T,F 12:30 PM–1:50 PM
“Examines why the gap between richer and poorer citizens appears to be widening in the United States and elsewhere, what could be done to reverse this trend, and how the widening disparity affects major issues of public policy.”
“I would recommend it to the students who are Business and IGS double major/minor.”
November 6, 2014 Leave a Comment
Governance, Conflict, Responsibility Course Recommendations:
1. French 111A –The Republic
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor. The “Republic” analyzes how the republican ideal of the citizen devoid of religious, ethnic, or gender identity has fared in different Francophone political milieux. Course involves understanding how political institutions such as constitutions, parliaments, and court systems interact with reality of modern societies in which religious, ethnic, and gender identities play important roles.
This course has an overall rating of 4.5 on the course evaluations page. This course would be a good fit for students who want to study both French and IGS. It will fulfill the university foreign language requirement, the IGS language requirement, and the writing intensive requirement.
2. HIST 177B — Modern Germany: Rise of a Global Power
Offers a systematic examination of modern Germany from 1815 to the present, with particular attention to Germany’s role in globalization.
This course is taught by professor Gregory Freeze and has received a 4.85 out of 5.00 by students who have taken it last semester. It is a writing intensive class, but students have said that the workload and course is manageable and interesting.
3. HIST 61A — Cultures in Conflict since 1300
Explores the ways in which cultures and civilizations have collided since 1300, and the ways in which cultural differences account for major wars and conflicts in world history since then. Usually offered every year.
The course received an overall 4.21/5.00. Students thought that the “class lectures were interesting and clearly explained”. If you want to fulfill a writing intensive requirement on top of an IGS requirement, this course will push you to develop your critical thinking and writing skills.
Culture, Media, and the Arts:
1. CHIN 136B – Chinese Modernism in International Context
Examines the origins, recurrences, and metamorphosis of modernistic styles and movements in twentieth-century Chinese literature, film, fine art, and intellectual discourses. Usually offered every second year.
This course is taught in English and has received a rating of 4.8/5 from students in the past. Students have said that they really enjoyed the readings and found them be interesting; Professor Wang is very passionate and engaging. It also fulfills the university nonwestern requirement.
2. FA 79A — Modernism Elsewhere
Explores major architectural developments from the late 19th to the 21st century outside the West. While focused on the territories between the India Subcontinent and North Africa, it examines Western colonial politics of center-periphery in creating architectural forms, discourses, and practices in the postcolonial world. Usually offered every third year.
This is a Fine Arts course that covers both the Creative Arts and nonwestern university requirements. Students have enjoyed the lectures, student presentations, and the final project. They gave this course a 4.68/5, and noted that Professor Grigor is a wonderful lecturer with engaging topics of discussion.
1. ANTH 121a – Crossing Cultural Boundaries- Prof. Parmentier
An examination of situations where individuals, either actually or imaginatively, willingly or unwillingly, cross over the boundaries separating their own culture and other cultural traditions. The understandings and misunderstandings that result from these encounters are examined in primary texts and images and in scholarly reconstructions. Transient experiences are compared with sites that develop over a long period of time (colonial settlements, plantations, frontiers). Potentials for reflexive self-understanding and meaningful dialogue are sought in fictional and nonfictional representations of boundary crossings.
Students gave this course a 4.5 out of 5 and said that his lectures are interesting and “conceptually challenging”. UDR Jessie Miller writes: “Even though I had never taken an anthropology class, I really enjoyed Crossing Cultural Boundaries because it taught me how different cultures interact and the importance of cross-cultural understanding. This is incredible relevant if you want to work internationally because you’ll work with people from different cultures. The course also made use of historical information, so it was a great alternative to a traditional history course.”
4. AMST 156b – Transatlantic Crossings
Examines how the United States has interacted with the rest of the world, especially Europe, as a promise, as a dream, as a cultural projection. Focuses less on the flow of people than on the flow of ideas, less on the instruments of foreign policy than on the institutions that have promoted visions of democracy, individual autonomy, power, and abundance.
Prof. Whitfield is known for his engaging, animated, and intellectual lectures and his classes usually attract a full crowd. He’s the type of professor who has an answer for every question you ask. Even if you aren’t majoring or minoring in American Studies, Whitfield’s classes are a great addition to your schedule and he loves teaching students. Received an overall rating of 4.62/5.00; students really enjoyed the course and thought lectures and readings were interesting and stimulating.
October 21, 2014 Leave a Comment
Here’s a shot from the October 8th visit of about a dozen students from Chou University in Tokyo, Japan. This pictures shows me two things: getting a crowd of students from different countries together is a lot of fun and, much to my surprise, a selfie stick is actually useful!
The students are this year’s members of the Takeishi seminar, a class that comes to Boston every year to speak — usually hilariously — about some aspect of Japanese life. Every year IGS and the Japanese program collaborate to welcome the students, so do look out for this in years to come if you’re interested in Japan.