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Learning in the Centre for Global Studies

The Centre for Global Studies promotes undergraduate inquiry into how we are situated in our world, and how we may most effectively engage the prominent issues and concerns that we face together.
  • The Purpose of the Centre for Global Studies

  • The fundamental educational aim of the Centre for Global Studies is to develop recognition of how each of us is caught up and active within networks of complex relations and interrelations with one another, on social, material, cultural, legal, political, historical, and conceptual registers that function on world–wide scales. The Centre for Global Studies provides opportunities to confront the responsibilities that are part of such relations and develop, with one another, appropriate understandings of and actions toward global engagements.

    The Centre for Global Studies provides three main points of entry into the study of global-scale relations: those that lead to understanding and addressing global inequalities; those that explore the global interrelations and conflicts of communities and their respective interests; and those that reflect on the ideas and cultural expressions that structure the global. Each of these concentrations is represented in a degree stream:

    Globalization Studies

    Global Development Studies

    Global Culture Studies
  • Interdisciplinary, Critical, and Collaborative Learning in the Centre for Global Studies

  • The Centre for Global Studies is not a traditional academic department, in the sense that our courses and degree programs each emphasizes interdisciplinary study and critical engagement in scholarship. As a fundamentally interdisciplinary academic unit, the Centre for Global Studies takes the world, not a discipline, as the common focus of study across all courses and degrees. Such interdisciplinary focus provides opportunity to address the world as built through the intersection of a wide variety of relations, ideas, and practices that cannot be reduced to single perspectives. The Centre for Global Studies does not take the world as a container of objects, categories, societies, or places that can be studied and compared only in such fixed and distinct terms as politics, economics, histories, societies, cultures, religions, ethnicities, or geographies.  Rather, in our Centre we promote studies that show an appreciation for how human subjects in the world and their identities, communities, commerce, politics, territorisalisations, ethics, social orders, legal institutions, cultural differences, languages, and interests are always shaped in the constant interrelations of these same things.  The Centre for Global Studies invites study of how the world and our worlds are made in our interrelations, an approach that requires the innovative and flexible process of interdisciplinary study.

    The forms of study that are presented in the Centre for Global Studies, then, are necessarily critical in character, in that we situate learning in self-reflective practices of acknowledging the places and times where we find ourselves. To engage in critical studies is to develop an understanding of the conditions under which our knowledge, experiences, and insights are produced.  In this regard, the courses and educational programs of the Centre for Global Studies are directed primarily toward studies that consider how it is that we know the world’s politics, economics, history, society, culture, religion, ethnicity, and geography as we do.  And, Centre for Global Studies courses seek to consider how it might be possible and more appropriate to know and engage the world in different ways.  The Centre's educational programs aim to provide students with opportunities to understand how they might actively come to build their understanding of the world differently.

    To achieve both the interdisciplinary and critical aims of the Centre for Global Studies, it is crucial that the courses and other learning opportunities offered in the Centre are collaborative.  In emphasizing the point that effective engagement with our world is something that begins where we each are, that gives focus to the interrelation of our respective communities and the different dimensions of human life, and that understands the production of knowledge itself as a social practice, the Centre for Global Studies is dedicated to helping students respect and form collaborative forms of research, both within and outside of the classroom.  This certainly means that learning in the Centre is typically practiced as something that we do with one another in terms of our scholarly projects.  There is an emphasis placed in the Centre for Global Studies on students being engaged to teach one another and to work with one another on collaborative projects.  However, this means also that Global Studies is practiced by the Centre as something that we really must do with others beyond our classrooms as well.  We recognize that each of us become the strongest learner about our places and responsibilities in the world only once we can appreciate and experience others in the world as co–learners—persons who have something to teach us—instead of treating others as mere subjects of study.
  • Students' Experiences in the Centre for Global Studies

  • Personal Relevance and Responsibility

    As a site in which students may engage in interdisciplinary, critical, and collaborative studies of living in the world, Centre for Global Studies courses and degree modules attract primarily students who enjoy taking a high degree of responsibility for their own learning and in planning their undergraduate experiences.  Centre for Global Studies courses themselves are both challenging and demanding in ways that invite students to think independently and creatively.  They offer events in learning where students are able to not only study subjects, problems, and topics that are new to them but where students may develop research–based and analytical projects about concerns and issues that are of personal concern to them, as socially engaged persons living in the world.  And the degree modules in Globalization Studies, Global Development Studies, and Global Culture Studies that the Centre offers permit high degrees of flexibility in how the respective directions of their studies are formed.  Students take courses from both the Centre for Global Studies and other academic units at Huron and Western, across the social sciences and humanities, allowing them to select courses and develop paths of enquiry at the Centre for Global Studies, as a site of inquiry, that have specific relevance to the students' own interests and aims in learning.

    Strong Academic Training

    The courses and learning experiences developed by faculty members in the Centre for Global Studies give students ample opportunity to read and study wide ranges of challenging scholarly and primary sources;  they require students to develop and complete significant writing assignments, based on sound and rigorous research activities and methods;  they give students sustained practice in reflective, creative, and analytical forms of critical reasoning;  and they bring students into oral dialogue with one another, via group work and both individual and group class presentations.  The faculty members of the Centre take their students seriously, as learners.  We show students the respect deserving of persons who wish to commit themselves to satisfying their curiosity and concerns about the world in rigorous academic methods.  It is the Centre for Global Studies' primary educational objective that students coming through the Centre's courses and degree modules should become confident, perceptive, resourceful, and articulate scholars who are able to transfer their academic skills to a wide range of academic and non–academic activities and professions.

    Experiential Learning Opportunities

    A distinguishing feature of learning in the Centre for Global Studies is the emphasis faculty members place on experiential learning as an integral part of academic study.  Most fundamentally, the Centre for Global Studies approaches the acts of study, research, and the creation and communication of knowledge in our classrooms as the most practical kind of experiential learning.  To this end, Centre for Global Studies courses and the academic assignments students take on are designed to give each student strong and frequent practical experiences in critical thinking, research, analysis, effective writing, oral communication, and collaboration.  Our students learn how to practice each of these things well in the actual experiences of doing them.

    The Centre for Global Studies is also committed to extending learning opportunities in the experience of collaborations with community partners, both locally and globally. Through partnerships with local community groups and projects, students can work collaboratively with people who work on issues and concerns that we study in class. Outside of the regular academic term, it is possible also for students to partake in experiential learning placements with non–governmental organizations in different areas of Canada and in other countries whose work addresses globalization’s impacts on community development. Faculty in the Centre may also be called on to facilitate students' efforts to identify and put together their own experiential learning placements with individuals or groups locally or abroad, establishing with students strong academic complements and assignments that help them derive the greatest possible learning experiences from these opportunities.  As well, the Centre for Global Studies now regularly offers in–class courses that critically explore problems in experiential learning in the world and that help students prepare themselves to make the most of such opportunities.