Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities
Course Descriptions
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GSAH 220: GLOBAL INTERACTIONS AND IDENTITIES focuses on specific regions and their global interactions across time; explores historical and contemporary transformations of cultures and identities; attends to global conditions, concepts, and dynamics of the past and the present.  Considers shifting centers of cultural, political, and economic interaction over time, as well as individual and socio-cultural effects of such interactions.

Fall 2017: GSAH 220-001
Imagined Communities: Visual Media and Transcultural Relations among Africa and the North Atlantic
Prof. Candace Keller

Spring 2018: GSAH 220-001
Caribbean Critical Theory
Prof. Nikolay Karkov

This course will serve as an introduction to cultural and political theory from the Caribbean. Over against neo-colonial fantasies of the region as a “tropical paradise,” we will take up the Caribbean as a space of autonomous intellectual production, offering insights of both local and global significance. The course will consist of a few distinct while also interrelated sections. After reading Jamaica Kincaid’s “anti-tourist” manifesto, A Small Place, we will look at the contributions of antic-colonial theory and psychiatry, cultural studies and literary theory, feminist and queer theory, and the history of cricket and science fiction respectively, as they offer insights into the “history of the present.” Authors and texts might include Aime Cesaire’s Discourse on Colonialism, Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks, C.L.R. James’s Beyond a Boundary, and Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber, along with excerpts from the work of Edouard Glissant, Stuart Hall, Gloria Wekker, and Carlos Decena. No prior knowledge of the region or its theorists/writers is necessary or expected.

Spring 2018: GSAH 220-002
The United States and the Asian Pacific
Prof. Jonathan Glade

GSAH 230: VALUES, EXPERIENCE, AND DIFFERENCE IN GLOBAL CONTEXTS explores conflicting cultural systems, considers differing norms and values, analyzes culturally-specific ethics, values, judgments and responses as they are affected by interactions in global and local contexts.  Engages with the issues and concerns related to evaluation, effective response, and reasoned judgment in broad cultural contexts and from varied perspectives, equipping students to engage with value systems and representational practices outside those of their own experience.

Fall 2017: GSAH 230-001
Representing and Interpreting the Global
Prof. Salah Hassan

Fall 2017: GSAH 230-002
Power, Identity, and Culture in the Global City
Prof. John Monberg

Spring 2018: GSAH 230-001
Salsa as Resistance
Prof. Nikolay Karkov

This course will serve as an introduction to the radical political potential of Afro-Latin music and dance, notably Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican salsa. Taking Latin music and dance as a point of departure, the course will examine how they bring up questions of embodied memory and resistance, histories of racism and colonialism, structures of economic and social inequalities, and issues of gender and spirituality. To this effect, students will read an interdisciplinary array of texts from anthropology of dance, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, Caribbean feminism, and race theory and black studies, exploring how the music and dance carry traces of global political, social, economic, and cultural processes. In an effort to bridge the divide between theory and practice, the second half of every weekly session will be dedicated to learning how to dance salsa. Accordingly, students will start with basic dance steps and slowly build up toward more complex dance patterns, including in a couple format. During the last few sessions students will also learn the basics of salsa rueda de casino, a semi-choreographed multiple-partner type of salsa danced in a circle (or “wheel”). No previous dance experience or knowledge of the Caribbean is necessary.

GSAH 310: CONFLICT AND JUSTICE IN A GLOBAL SETTING addresses global justice and ethics in regional, national, and transnational contexts, through the study of environmental, political, social, religious, sexual, and gender conflicts.  Broadens students understanding of the limits and possibilities for global ethics and justice in historical and contemporary contexts.

Spring 2018: GSAH 310
Genocide, Transitional Justice & Documentary Film
Prof. Scott Boehm

Genocide, Transitional Justice and Documentary Film.  This course covers genocide and its aftermath in different national contexts as represented by documentary filmmakers. Particular attention will be given to the challenge of achieving justice in the wake of genocide, and how documentary film participates in the transmission and resignification of cultural trauma. The course focuses on genocides that took place in Turkey, Spain, Germany, Chile, Guatemala, Rwanda and Indonesia, and includes documentaries by renowned directors such as Claude Lanzmann, Patricio Guzmán, Pamela Yates and Joshua Oppenheimer.

GSAH 311: CROSSING BOUNDARIES/CHANGING WORLDS Studies the causes and motives, identities and relationships, transformations and traditions of people moving across geographic boundaries (local, regional, and national), and their effect on local and global conditions, focusing on creative, philosophical, and historical explorations.  Explores how and why “migration is often a process of negotiation over cultures.”

Spring 2018: GSAH 311
Narratives of Migration
Prof. Johanna Schuster-Craig

This course will look at the global migratory patterns of refugees since the early 20th century with a focus on three narratives of resettlement: Dadaab in Kenya, Za'atari in Jordan, and the “hyperghetto” of the Bronx in New York City. These case studies will help us explore the development policies and legal background which structure camp life and resettlement. This course will center around three main topics: human rights discourse, gender policy and the UNHCR; refugee integration and xenophobia in host countries of the US and Western Europe; and economic precarity as an extension of captivity after resettlement.

GSAH 312: MEDIA MOBILITY: CHANGE, ACCESS, REPRESENTATION focuses on circulations and appropriations of media in the context of technological change, economic power and political conflict; dealing with a range of media including, for example, print, film, radio, television, digital culture.  Introduces students to ethical and social questions concerning media use and circulation, the effect of global economies on media production, access, and appreciation, and the related transformations of social relationships and cultural exchange in global contexts.

Fall 2017: GSAH 312
Connection and Fragmentation in Global Media and Digital Culture
Prof. Jonathan Glade

Currently, the ability to access information and connect with people across the globe can be found at our fingertips. The possibilities enabled by technology, however, often create an “illusion of interconnection,” which in turn conceals the numerous ways in which we are becoming an increasingly fragmented global society. Through an analysis of various form of media and digital culture such as news media, blogs, film/video, social media, and online forums, this course will examine the main fault lines of this fragmentation and explore the following questions: What are the main forces shaping global circulations of information? How do language, technology, economic stratification, and regionalism affect media production and access? What types of media, content, or presentation best promote meaningful engagement? More importantly, this class will promote careful reflection about how you personally engage with media and digital culture and what possible assumptions or limitations your consumption habits promote. Similar to the nature of the content covered, the course will be centered on interactive engagement and effective communication strategies.

GSAH 450: GLOBAL CONCEPTS AND THEORIES SEMINAR (W) explores grounding concepts and broad theoretical debates in global studies. Models and systems that theorize global relationships, formations, and interactions.

Fall 2017: GSAH 450
Prof. Elena Ruiz

The course is designed as the first part of the GSAH Capstone experience. As such it aims for students to reflect on their major coursework in preparation for their final capstone project in GSAH 499. GSAH 450 offers students the opportunity to tie together their previous experiences and learning, while advancing their understanding of deeper theoretical and conceptual issues in the arts and humanities. It discusses the models and systems that theorize global relationships, formations, and interactions. An important part of the class will be for students to decide on the theoretical direction that their future GSAH 499 project will take. This course is also a Tier II writing course. 

GSAH 499: SENIOR THESIS IN GLOBAL STUDIES IN THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES (W) is a directed research and writing project, arranged by an individual student and a faculty member. Part of the capstone experience.


GSAH 200 QUESTIONS, ISSUES, AND DEBATES IN GLOBAL STUDIES (1-3 credits) explores issues and debates in Global Studies addressed through creative, critical, and analytical approaches to understanding values, practices, interactions, and identities throughout history and in the present.

GSAH 490  INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-4 credits) allows for special projects arranged by an individual student and a faculty member in areas supplementing regular course offerings.