Course Info & Requirements


Earth Description
Absences & Lateness
A Word About Plagiarism & Tutoring



The ultimate goal of History 648f is to provide a more precise understanding of globalization, its character and historical development, and the potential responses to the multitude of contemporary global challenges, which we, as citizens of the 21st century, face. In investigating these global challenges, we will take a number of approaches. First, we will look at the various ways scholars and journalists have defined and characterized globalization. While we will primarily focus on the economic dimension of globalization, we will also consider globalization’s cultural and political attributes. In doing so, we will begin to raise the question—one which we will assess throughout the course—to what extent is globalization beneficial and to what extent is it detrimental. This is typically referred to as the globalization debate. Globalization & Its Discontents, however, is not solely a contemporary global issues course. Indeed, part of the premise of the course is that we need to understand the historical antecedents of globalization in order to make sense of our contemporary circumstances. To this end, we will, with the aid of a number of scholarly works, look back to the past to see how people and their governments responded to earlier global or regional challenges. We will also spend time examining the rise and fall of the economic and political regime known as the Bretton Woods System, which developed as a result of World War II. The remainder of the course will involve an investigation of the content and parameters of a number of contemporary global challenges. Among the challenges we will explore during the semester are:

  • demographics, migration, urbanization
  • the impact of neo-liberalism and responses to it in Latin America, Africa, and Asia
  • global health and epidemics
  • the communication and financial revolutions
  • world agriculture and biotechnology
  • threats to the environment including climate change
  • sustainable development
  • the future of the nation state
  • the so-called clash of global cultures
  • international terrorism and geopolitics
  • gender and development
  • the Arab Spring
  • the Eurocrisis

Many of the readings for the case studies will be taken from scholarly works as well as The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. Part of my rationale for using these magazines is to introduce you to the most thoughtful journalistic examinations of contemporary issues. In our media-saturated society, there are many sources that supply information — some of which are worthwhile and some of which are banal. One of the goals of this course is to “prepare” you to be an engaged and knowledgeable citizen of the 21st century. Knowing which information outlets are of value and knowing how to critically assess this information are keys to becoming prepared for such citizenship. Another part of my rationale for using these contemporary journalistic examinations is that these articles provide a series of diverse case studies —focusing on how a variety of countries and regions are responding to global challenges. No single textbook could expose you to such variety. Thus, by the end of the course, each of you should possess a truly global sense of as well as a range of potential responses to the challenges we face in the 21st century.



Globalization meets three times a cycle (including a double). You are expected to come to class on time, having done the readings, completed written assignments if requested, and ready to talk, discuss, and ask questions. This is a discussion-based seminar; thus, everyone is expected to participate regularly and to contribute to class discussions. Consistent lack of participation will affect your overall grade. At the same time, you must listen to each other and make an effort to encourage your classmates to speak.


Manfred B. Steger, Globalization: A Very Short Introduction [Hereafter referred to as Steger.]
Jurgen Osterhammel & Neils P. Petersson, Globalization: A Short History [Hereafter referred to as GSH.]


The course website, located at, should be the starting point for you each day. It is where all assignments, study questions, readings to be downloaded as well as ancillary materials such as maps, images, charts and web links can be found. You are expected to complete the readings and answer the study questions before each class meeting and will be called upon in class to discuss your homework. You must bring all readings whether downloaded, handed out, or in Steger and GSH to class. Keeping up with assignments is the key to doing well in this class. If you miss class for any reason, you are responsible for getting the notes from a classmate. If you are having difficulty keeping up with your assignments, you should schedule a meeting with me to discuss study strategies. You will be responsible for a weekly journal entry that will be turned in usually every Monday morning by Ad Hoc. This journal entry must be typed.


Since class participation is central to this course, coming to class ready to discuss readings, the concepts, and the global issues/challenges we're discussing is crucial. Other assessments include:

  • A take-home essay defining globalization and characterizing the various debates over globalization.
  • A take-home essay examining the historical development of globalization.
  • A compilation of weekly typed-journal entries (approximately 1-single spaced page each) in which you respond to a reading, a discussion from the class, or one of the concepts or global issues under discussion. At times, I will indicate on the journal assignment webpage if there's something specific which I want you to respond to in your journal. The entry is due every Monday morning by Ad Hoc whether or not we have class.
  • During the second quarter, there will be a quarter-long project that will combine both group and individual work. I will divide you into groups of three or four. Each group will collectively research a set of global challenges within a particular country. Each student will address a particular global challenge of his/her own choosing in relation to the group’s country. By the end of the semester, each one of you will have written one chapter of a book examining a particular global issue in a country. As a group you will also write a collective introduction and a conclusion and turn in a completed book. Also, during the last two weeks of the semester, each of you will deliver a 10-minute presentation of your findings to the rest of the class.

All written work must be typed with no grammatical or spelling errors. Unless otherwise noted, take-home essays are due by the end of Ad Hoc in the basket on my desk on the day that they are due. Make sure that you have stapled your paper before handing it in. Late assignments will lose 1/3 a letter grade for each day that they are late. If you think you will need an extension for an essay, you must ask at least two days before the due date though I generally do not give extensions since I give at least a week to write an essay. I do not accept essays via email. If you know that you will not be in school on the day an essay is due, you must have someone hand in your essay for you. This is the case even if you are sick on the day that it is due.

Absenses & Lateness

If you are absent from a class, find out what you missed. It is also respectful for you to email me that you will be absent. All information is provided on the website. Do NOT wait until the next class to find out what was due. Missing school is no excuse for not handing in an assignment in on time. Please review the section on attendance in the Upper School Handbook. You should make every effort to come to class on time. Repeated lateness will lower your participation grade.


The essays, the journal, the group project and paper, and your overall participation/preparation will each receive a grade. Your final grade will (more or less) be an average of these.

A Word About Plagiarism and Tutoring

You must do your own work and you must not plagiarize!  Familiarize yourself with Trinity’s policy on academic integrity and plagiarism in the Upper School Handbook as well as the History Department’s policy on outside help [LINK].  If you are confused as to what “doing your own work” or plagiarism means or if you find yourself worried that you are in fact plagiarizing, come see me. Though help from a friend, parent, or tutor can be appropriate, excessive help is not. In fact, you must notify me if you have received any help from a tutor and what the nature of that help was. Ignorance or parental approval is no defense. Anyone caught not doing their own work or plagiarizing will receive a zero on the assignment and risk failing the course.  If you have received help on an assignment from a tutor, you must acknowledge that you have received such help in writing at the end of your assignment.