Overview of Course
The field of Global Studies explores transnational patterns of human experience across time and space, drawing on multiple disciplines and ways of knowing. Its aim is to better understand important global forces that structure our lives, shape the future, and demand our attention as we seek a better world.
Our Global Studies course is the connective academic experience for the shipboard community. It is the place where we draw meaning from our time on the water, our varied cultural encounters, our explorations in port, and our inevitable conversations about obligations and opportunities as global citizens. The course provides a narrative for the voyage, and skills and knowledge that will be useful after our travels by weaving together the following four components with associated learning outcomes:
- Port Country Discovery. Our ports are more than places to stretch our legs. They are laboratories within which we observe global forces (social and natural) in action, and where we develop skills for comparative thinking and serendipitous insight. Such skill development requires essential information about the geographies, cultures, histories, and current social issues of the places we visit, which the course provides.
- The Blue World. As half of our time on the voyage will be spent sailing the world’s oceans it is essential that we examine in greater detail what it is that lies “beneath our feet.” Oceans dominate our planet, and rapid global change across the ocean will greatly influence life in the future. As we traverse two oceans we will learn about their global properties and processes, with implications for future sustainability. We will also reflect on the impact of oceans on some of the great human settlements of the globe, represented by our port cities and the countries within which they sit.
- Intercultural Competence. Regardless of your professional or personal trajectory, your future is certain to involve increased intercultural interaction with people from a wide range of cultures other than your own. Our port encounters, class sessions and post-port reflections serve as an opportunity to hone personally valuable and professionally transferable skills of intercultural observation, communication and interaction. Each port poses its own intercultural challenges, which we will address. By the voyage’s end, we will be able to generalize across these varied challenges to better understand the fundamentals of intercultural connection and communication within increasingly globalized societies.
- Global Citizenship with a Focus on Fresh Water. “Global citizenship” is commonly invoked as a justification for and outcome of global studies courses. But what is it, how is it experienced and practiced, and how might we become more engaged global citizens? In addition to gaining greater understanding of our world’s marine environments (the Blue World), through this unifying theme we will focus our attention on a critical resource, fresh water, by examining such questions as: how has the availability of water influenced the development of the cultures we will encounter? How do people use and subsequently impact their water resources? Is water a human right or a commodity to be bought and sold? What special knowledge and skills are required for two-thirds of the world’s nations who live on shared transboundary waters and must work together to share this precious resource?