The West and the World (2)

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Salisbury
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1425
End: 1540
Field Work: Day 1 - Singapore - 22 February | Singapore Download Syllabus

From ancient times to our modern global village, people in the West and the world interacted and shared elements of their culture – from goods, to inventions, to abstract ideas. This course will focus on the itinerary of the voyage and explore the interactions between the West and the world that shaped the history and culture of the lands we will visit. The course will focus on two major global developments: 1) the history of ideas that were transformative (for better or worse), and 2) the environmental impacts that accompanied the movements of people and ideas.

As we cross the Pacific, we will begin with World War II, the moment when people in the West finally acknowledged they lived in a global world. From there, we move back in time as we study the roots of Marxism and its expression in China and the cold war leading to the VietNam War. We will look at imperialism, for example in Hong Kong, India and Africa, capitalism and its global implications in modern China, the sugar trade in lands like Mauritius, and the slave trade in Africa. Some transformative ideas originated in the world and moved west, and we will particularly study the force of pacifism from India to Cape Town to Myanmar.

The movement of people and ideas around the world had implications for many aspects of society beyond the abstract history of ideas. Therefore, we will also consider ecological implications from the Dodo bird to the nuclear age that led to Hiroshima and the recent Japanese nuclear accident at Fukushima. As people moved around the world, they changed the ecology in ways that continue to shape the world and people’s lives.

The course will be organized in accordance with our itinerary, and include lectures, readings and discussion to give students a fuller understanding of both the world and the West.

Field Work

Country: Singapore
Day: 1 - Singapore - 22 February

We will meet with a professor from the University of Singapore who will describe the history of Singapore as a British colony. Then we will have a walking tour through the city to talk about the war experience and how it shaped the city. Finally, we will gather with some Singapore students to discuss various views of the interaction between the West and Singapore. Academic Objectives:

  1. Learn about colonialism as expressed in Singapore.
  2. Study how World War II impacted this region and its people.
  3. Study how Singapore has combined the various peoples that have made up its past, and consider how this experience differs from other regions we have visited. Consider also the implications for the West in this region.
  4. Compare our perspectives with those of local students.