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Program of Study

The Global Studies major is concerned with the interconnected and interdependent nature of the contemporary world. Its main task is to understand how sites, objects, and concepts contribute to worldwide connections, from ecological concerns to human rights campaigns. These connections span all forms of academic inquiry, making Global Studies an essentially interdisciplinary program. Students majoring in Global Studies will take courses throughout the College, often with particular interests in Anthropology, Political Science, History, or a specific regional study.

Instead of beginning with “global” and “local," the typical categories of globalization studies, the Global Studies program contends that the distinctions between sites and trends, between objects far and near, and between the cosmopolitan and the vernacular emerge from empirical studies. Students are encouraged to exercise close attention to mundane practices, everyday materialities, and lived experiences. With a good grounding in case studies, students in the program are expected to be able to reflect upon the implications of their research interests, both inside and outside the classroom.

Relationship to International Studies

The Global Studies major will fully replace the International Studies major following the 2016–17 academic year.

Students planning to graduate by Spring Quarter 2017 have the choice to remain in the International Studies program or move into Global Studies. Any International Studies majors in the Class of 2017 who wish to transition to the Global Studies program must meet with the program administrator by the first week of Autumn Quarter 2016. The Class of 2018 and beyond will only have the option of majoring in Global Studies.

Program Requirements

Students must complete a total of 13 courses (including one approved elective and two BA seminars), a research activity, and a language requirement, broken down in the following manner:

Introductory Courses (2 courses)
All students are required to take the two-quarter introductory sequence to the major, GLST 23101-23102 Global Studies I-II. These courses are offered annually and in sequence in the Autumn and Winter Quarters. Students are expected to complete the sequence in their second year, if possible.

Thematic Tracks (8 courses)
The body of the major (eight courses in all) is comprised of courses selected from four overlapping thematic tracks of study. Students will select two tracks, a major and a minor one, and complete five courses in the former and three in the latter. The selection of the major and minor track should be linked to the student’s BA research interests. The tracks are outlined below with sample classes that might fall within each category, but more detailed information about these tracks may be found on the Global Studies website.

Bodies and Nature
This track focuses on bodily nature (broadly construed) and ecological relationships. Particular attention is paid to environmental and health-related topics, and not always with a focus on human beings. Themes could range from sustainability, ecotourism, and pandemics to modern beauty practices, health movements, and animal studies.

BIOS 13140 The Public and Private Lives of Insects
GRMN 24416 Biocentrism: The Concept of Life in German Literature and Art around 1900
ANTH 28210 Colonial Ecologies

Knowledge and Practice
This track focuses on the production and circulation of knowledge, with an eye towards how that process is situated. Often there will be a science and technology component, but other times habitual/instinctual know-how will be highlighted. Themes could range from regulatory standards, countercultural movements, and cultural artifacts to consumer politics and media studies.

HIST 24206 Medicine and Culture in Modern East Asia
ENGL 29202 Objects, Things, and Other Things
SOCI 20208 Internet and Society      

Cultures at Work
This track focuses on the entanglements of culture, economics, and politics. It focuses on cultural production, often of a physical nature, as well as cultural modes of reception. Themes could range from global brands, sweatshops, and rituals of food production/consumption to gaming and consumer politics. Much of “everyday life” would also apply.

ANTH 21725 Mass Mediated Society and Japan
GLST 24101 Paperwork
ECON 22650 Creativity

Governance and Affiliations
This track focuses on politics and claims to authority within power relations. It tries to stand a middle ground between extremes of privileging nation-states and solely valuing micro-sites of governance. Themes could range from UN agencies to online protests, humanitarian intervention to surveillance and corporate governance.

CRES 22150 Contemporary African American Politics
PLSC 27016 Popular Culture, Art, and Autocracy
PLSC 29500 Drugs, Guns, and Money: The Politics of Criminal Conflict

Elective (1 course)
Students will select one elective course that will further their BA research, often late in their third or early in their fourth year. This course should be chosen after discussion with the program administrator, and can include:

  • A regional studies course that furthers the student's cultural and historical knowledge in their BA research topic
  • A research methodology course (i.e. ANTH 21420 Ethnographic Methods) that will equip the student for better collection of primary source materials
  • An introductory course in another major that has a direct connection to the BA research topic
  • A language course that will help the student read texts or interact with persons pertaining to their BA research topic

These options are not exhaustive and should only be used as guiding ideas for the elective requirement. Students should seek program approval for their choice of elective course before registering, and the elective should be completed before the Winter Quarter of the student's fourth year.

Research Activity Requirement
Students will be expected to complete a major activity or program exploring global issues as related to their intended BA project, often in an international setting.

This major activity might be:

  • An internship (academic year or summer)
  • A study abroad program, often through the Study Abroad office
  • A volunteer opportunity
  • A well-defined field research project.

Students should work with the program administrator to identify appropriate opportunities and should have their activity approved ahead of the experience itself. Most activities should last no less than six weeks, though intensive programs with shorter durations may be considered.

The research activity should be linked to the student’s BA thesis and serve as an introduction to that topic. International experiences are encouraged for the completion of this requirement, but the requirement may be met with domestic projects dealing with global issues (for example, an internship with a domestic NGO).

BA Seminars and Thesis (2 courses)
Students are required to take the two-quarter BA seminar (GLST 29800 BA Thesis Seminar I and GLST 29801 BA Thesis Seminar II) in Autumn and Winter Quarters of their fourth year. The first BA deadline is the end of fifth week in the spring of a student’s third year. By that time, students must have submitted a topic proposal, secured a faculty reader, and completed a faculty reader form. The final version of the BA thesis is due by the second Friday of the quarter in which the student plans to graduate. Successful completion of the thesis requires a passing grade from the faculty reader.

The Global Studies major thesis must be clearly organized around a contemporary global issue. Students may double-major, but double-majoring with another program that requires a BA thesis would entail (a) the second major's program accepting the Global Studies thesis as fulfilling that program's BA requirements or (b) the student completing an additional BA thesis for the second major.

Regardless of the requirements of the second major, Global Studies majors are required to complete both quarters of the fourth-year BA seminar.

Foreign Language Requirement
The Global Studies language requirement can be completed in two ways:

  1. Students may complete the equivalent of seven quarters of language study in a single language. Credit for the seventh and final quarter must be earned by University of Chicago course registration. If the final term of study in a foreign language focuses on cultural studies, it may be used in an appropriate major or minor thematic track, as outlined above.
  2. Students may obtain an Advanced Language Proficiency Certificate, which is documentation of advanced functional ability in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. For details, visit the College's Advanced Language Proficiency page.

Summary of Requirements

GLST 23101-23102Global Studies I-II200
Five courses in a major thematic field500
Three courses in a minor thematic field300
GLST 29800BA Thesis Seminar I100
GLST 29801BA Thesis Seminar II100
One program elective100
Total Units1300


Students with an overall GPA of 3.2 or higher and an in-major GPA of 3.5 or higher will be eligible for honors. For the awarding of honors, the BA thesis must also be judged "high pass" by the faculty reader.


Students should select their courses for the Global Studies major in close consultation with the program administrator. The Global Studies program publishes a list of courses approved for the major each quarter, both online and outside the Global Studies program office, Gates-Blake 119.

Students should meet with the program administrator early in their final year to be sure they have fulfilled all requirements.


Students who are majoring in Global Studies must receive quality grades in all courses meeting the requirements of the degree program.

Global Studies Courses

GLST 23101-23102. Global Studies I-II.

This is the Global Studies program’s core sequence, typically taken during a student’s second year. Global Studies I is an orientation course for students interested in majoring in Global Studies, while Global Studies II seeks to impart important theories and research practices through intensive, critical readings.

GLST 23101. Global Studies I. 100 Units.

The first course in the two-quarter Global Studies core sequence.

Instructor(s): Jasarevic, Larisa     Terms Offered: Autumn

GLST 23102. Global Studies II. 100 Units.

The second course in the two-quarter Global Studies core sequence.

Instructor(s): Jasarevic, Larisa     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): GLST 23101

GLST 24104. Ecopoetics: Nature, Lyric, and Ecology. 100 Units.

This course will track the literary development of the concept and practice of "ecopoetics," with particular focus on the complex ethical responses that ecologically-minded poets and thinkers have made to the quandary of global warming and the emergence of the anthropocene. How might "lyrical thought" spawn modes of ecological practice and global-mindedness that are otherwise unthinkable in other disciplines and fields? In attempting to develop answers to this question, the course will place special pressure on the concept of "nature" and how such a concept creates the conditions for cultural forms that either contribute to, or work against, the specter of climate change. Is there one Nature or are there many natures? If poetry can produce, describe, and translate world(s), can poetry also "save the world"? We will read texts that look closely at how these two discourses--lyric and nature--in fact construct synthetic forms of ecological thinking. How might an “ecology of the mind” reflect or narrate the depressive environmental conditions of today? Can ecopoetry still be meaningful and productive in an age of rampant environmental desecration?

Instructor(s): Joseph Moctezuma     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 24104,ENGL 26406

GLST 24105. Rethinking the Middle East. 100 Units.

Where is the Middle East, how do we go about studying it and why does it matter? This course explores the emergence of the ‘Middle East’ as an object of inquiry; a place with a people and a culture set in opposition to the ‘West.’ It asks how these categories are constituted, by whom, and with what consequence. How do they define the contours of political community, the possibilities for empathy and understanding or the limits of rights and moral obligation? The historical and contemporary texts assigned draw attention to the layered and shifting meanings of these categories, and in turn to the geopolitical and epistemological worlds that give rise to them. By putting these texts into conversation with each other the course engages a number of key issues that have occupied social theorists: the relationship between power and knowledge, the politics of representation, and the nature of social theory more generally.

Instructor(s): Yaqub Hilal     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Students are expected to have completed the social sciences core curriculum before enrolling.
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 25105,ANTH 24105

GLST 24106. The Global South: Knowledge, Culture, Aesthetics. 100 Units.

This course will examine the geographically wide-ranging history, knowledge formations, and cultural productions of the global South, defined as a greater Atlantic sphere spanning the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean states and territories, and regions of Central America and West Africa. We will start by surveying the long colonial history of conflict and interaction in the West Indies between European settlers, enslaved African migrants, and indigenous populations, and the singularly complex arrays of locally determined ethnic, cultural, and linguistic formations that they produced. In addressing this history, we will also consider the region’s site-specific definitions of race, migration, settlement, identity, and cultural hybridity. We will then consider the ways in which these notions, along with the region’s own history and landscape, are dramatized in its twentieth-century literature and culture, by reading Gothic works of historical fiction (Carpentier, Faulkner), epic poetry (Walcott), and travel narrative (Hurston), as well as by track the aesthetic development of the region’s music, visual art, and architecture.

Instructor(s): Peter Lido     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 27316,CRES 24106

GLST 24107. Science: From the Occult to the Enlightenment. 100 Units.

This course explores the transformation of scientific standards with the advent of Enlightenment thought. It will examine the construction of a new scientific ‘narrative’ that formulated new standards by redrawing boundaries of scientific definition. We will particularly focus on the occult sciences (astrology, physiognomy, alchemy), which lost their scientific status and were relegated to the level of pseudo-sciences. A closer look into the redrawing of scientific boundaries to exclude the occult sciences and redefine other sciences will allow us to pose larger questions about scientific epistemologies. 

Instructor(s): Emin Lelic     Terms Offered: Spring

GLST 27702. About Nature: From Science to Sense. 100 Units.

“Consider mushrooms,” Anna Tsing (2012) suggests to those who are curious about human nature as she points to the relational and biological diversity found at the unruly edges of the global empire—the governmentalized, politicized, commoditized culture nature of capitalism. This course follows the suit, tracking the scent of what evidently remains, thrives, withdraws, overwhelms, and inspires wonder in the guises of the natural, wild, organic, or awesome. About Nature starts with critiques of the essentialized Nature in the modernist, theological, and scientific discourses, but it directs attention elsewhere: to the zones of writing and practice, academic and activist, professional and popular, where the natural figures through theoretical insights, empirical observations, or in practical problems; where it materializes in sensuous encounters, knowledgeable collecting, or ecstatic experiences; and where it rallies communities of inquiry and interest. The reading list mixes ethnographies with literary, philosophical, and “mystical” texts and pairs anthropological discussions with practical manuals and popular science books. Moreover, the course will look obliquely to the natural sciences—botany, environmental sciences, and entomology—presuming neither their thorough disenchantment nor a merely performative and populist value of scientific “wonder” and curiosity.

Instructor(s): L. Jasarevic     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 25117,INST 27702

GLST 28001. Colonialism and Female Iconography: Bengal and Britain. 100 Units.

The course offers a socio-historical approach to the construction, flow, and exchange of literary images of colonial and imperial women between Bengal and Britain in the nineteenth-century. The course will provide the students an overview of the comparative socio-cultural exchange between Bengal and Britain through the writings of secondary stakeholders of colonialism—namely women. Classes will include textual case studies.

Instructor(s): Sukla Chatterjee     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 26904,SALC 28001

GLST 29700. Reading/Research: Global Studies. 100 Units.

This is a reading and research course for independent study not related to BA research or BA paper preparation.

Terms Offered: Autumn,Winter,Spring
Prerequisite(s): GLST 23101, GLST 23102

GLST 29800. BA Thesis Seminar I. 100 Units.

This weekly seminar, taught by graduate student preceptors in consultation with faculty readers, is designed to aid students in their thesis research. Students are exposed to different conceptual frameworks and research strategies. Students must have approved topic proposals and faculty readers to participate in the seminar.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): GLST 23101 and GLST 23102
Note(s): Required of students with fourth-year standing who are majoring in Global Studies, but enrollment not permitted in quarter of graduation.

GLST 29801. BA Thesis Seminar II. 100 Units.

This weekly seminar, taught by graduate student preceptors in consultation with faculty readers, offers students continued BA research and writing support. Students present drafts of their work and critique the work of their peers.

Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): GLST 29800
Note(s): Required of students with fourth-year standing who are majoring in Global Studies, but enrollment not permitted in quarter of graduation.



Program Director
James L. Hevia
G-B 116

Senior Lecturer

Senior Lecturer
Larisa Jasarevic (on leave Winter-Spring 2017)
G-B 123

Administrative Contact

Program Administrator
Joshua Oxley
G-B 119