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.
October 20, 2014 Leave a Comment
By Juliette Martin and Chandler Rosenberger
The IGS Conversations series is back!
Last Tuesday, four students with recent experience abroad came together to discuss a common theme in the unique countries of their specialty: the rise of extreme right-wing nationalism.
The event featured Viktoria Bedo on Jobbik in Hungary, Nick Kodama on Abe’s Japan, Jill Martin on India’s Narenda Modi, and Michael Pizziferri on France’s National Front — four different nationalisms across greatly differing cultures.
In Hungary, Viktoria explained, the Jobbik party has crafted a language of victimization that revises history in a way that is appealing to Hungarians, often to the detriment of other groups within the country, including Jews and Romanies. They also reject the EU, blaming the West, whom Hungary has often felt excluded from, for modern woes.
Michael, it turned out, had seen something similar during his semester in France. There the National Front glorifies French-ness by speaking to a history of victimization (in this case, France’s lost colonial power and recent economic woes) and by blaming and excluding minority groups. The Front is also deeply anti-EU, though,ironically, the party now holds a great deal of France’s seats in the EU parliament.
Nationalism in Asia seemed more mainstream and less disgrunted. Returning from Japan, Nick described the social issues that had brought Shinzo Abe to power. Japan, Nick noted, is nervous: it faces an aging population, falling birthrates, and the decline of an electronics industry that had earned Japan’s wealth after World War II.
In Japan, Nick noted, nationalism was not rising: it had never really left. But Japan’s nationalist movements, Nick stressed, are mostly reserved and pragmatic — a far cry from the extremism of the movements in Hungary and France.
Finally, Jill Martin spoke on Prime Minister Modi in India, who is supported—like the Jobbik party—primarily by the youth. In this case, the National Congress Party took a stand against the rampant corruption in India for their rise. They also promise to create jobs for regions suffering from high unemployment.
Jill recalled one young Indian man who voted for Modi, and, when asked why he supported him given Modi’s now well-publicized miss-handling of the 2002 Gujarat riots. His answer was that Modi promised a better future.
Despite her friend’s optimism, Jill worried about the overt Hindu character of Modi’s political party, the BJP. India, she noted is a deeply religious country of many faiths that has thrived under secular governments. The BJP, Jill worried, might upset India’s delicate balance between belief and tolerance.
Conversation then turned to the many forms nationalism can take, especially the striking difference between optimistic patriotism and darker visions.
Thanks to Viki, Michael, Nick, and Jill — and the audience — for a great conversation! And look forward to seeing you all for more as the year unfolds.
October 10, 2014 Leave a Comment
Tuesday’s “Meet the Majors/Welcome Back, Seniors” was a lot of fun: great to have the Class of 2015 back on campus, telling stories and sharing tips on getting the most out of IGS. And how great to see so many first-years and sophomores interested in the major!
Speaking of recording one’s time abroad…we have some winners for the photo and blog competitions! The UDRs picked the best pics. They were:
Ally Eller’s powerful shot at the gates of Auschwitz:
“As the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, this generation needs to be able to tell their stories, and part of that is facing the horror they went through. To me, this picture shows that, though 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, we aren’t gone, we’re thriving, and remembering this piece of our history so nothing so horrible happens again.”
If you want to read more about Ally’s trip, check out her blog post: this entry also made her a co-winner of the blogging prize for the night!
And it turns out that Rohan’s a talented photographer as well as poet: here’s one of his shots from Ghana. As Rohan writes:
“The picture was taken right by Cape Coast Castle in the Central Region. The castle, which was used a slavers castle, is a historical site. This is a fishing village right outside the Castle. I remember being somewhat shocked by all the hustle and bustle. It was early morning and I hadn’t yet grown accustomed to all the bargaining and commotion involved with Ghanaian trading and public life. I was so drawn in by all the colors and the incredible diversity of age and focus of each person.”
Our last winner was Joe Crook’s gorgeous shot of a beach in Vietnam. As Joe writes:
“This picture was shot on Cham Island (Cu Lao Cham), which is located off the coast of Hoi An in central Vietnam. The small bowl-like objects scattered about are actually a style of traditional Vietnamese fishing boats known as Thung Chai. Local fishermen use them to transfer between larger boats and land, carry supplies, and to cast and catch fishing nets…If you look closely, you can see none of them are tied up or locked down, which speaks to the Vietnamese sense of trust and community.”
Finally, the other co-winner in the blogging category was Mia Katan, currently abroad in Uganda on an SIT program in conflict resolution. Mia’s been traveling around the region and filing sharply observed posts wherever she goes.
Looking forward to seeing more of you all as the year unfolds!
September 29, 2014 Leave a Comment
by Juliette Martin
Last Thursday (September 18th) the IGS department hosted an alumni panel, bringing in three successful IGS grads to talk about their experiences navigating the job market and applying the skills learned in the IGS major to their jobs. The panelists (Yuli Almozlino, Nafiz Ahmed, and Scott Evans) each brought a unique perspective and shared some fantastic advice, including these top five tips:
5) Be interested and interesting: Actually be interested in the companies you apply to! Do your research in advanced and get curious about what they do and how your particular skills could be put towards their goals. Use your research think in advanced about how you’re going to present yourself so as to interest a particular employer, tailoring the way you talk about your experiences appropriately.
4) Remember, your classes count for something: You’ve learned more from your classes than just what you were tested on. Think of a small class like a project team, and your professor as your boss—that will help prepare you for the kind of teamwork that many jobs will require.
3) Don’t make an exception of yourself: In college, an extension is usually just an email away. However, when you’re working with bosses and clients, those deadlines are harder. Plan your time appropriately and deliver on your commitments in order to be a valuable employee.
2) Interviewers won’t remember facts, they’ll remember stories: After the fact, an interviewer may not actually remember much about you—but if you tell interesting stories, they might remember those. Instead of just presenting your achievements, actually talk about them. Tell a wild story about something you saw while abroad that taught you a valuable lesson, or something you did with a club that establishes your leadership ability.
1) And finally, use what IGS has taught you: The ability think analytical and critically, and to approach problem from many perspectives. The IGS major is extremely interdisciplinary, which gives IGS graduate students something other majors may not have. An IGS grad may have taken class in politics, anthropology, economics, sociology, and particular regional studies, granting the ability to look at a problem from many perspectives and present well-round solutions.
Plus, bonus tip: All of this goes hand in hand with networking! Your resume has a better chance of actually getting looked at if somebody already in the company hands it over to HR on your behalf.