This class examines a defining phenomenon of our time—globalization—a world-historic dynamic that has shaped political, economic, and socio-cultural change in the longue durée. The concept crisscrosses the boundaries of academic disciplines and we will benefit from multiple frameworks. However, a sociological lens on globalization means we will not only dissect and critique the fundamental characteristics and contradictions associated with globalism. This includes intervening in debates about national sovereignty, capitalist and development and the world system, corporate and global governance, hybrid identities and postmodern cultural forms, the global economic crisis, and the potential power of counter-hegemonic movements for an alternative globalization. As the body of literature in the field is immense and wide-ranging, we must draw boundaries somewhere; this course will emphasize the political-economic and cultural dimensions of globalization. The course readings are sometimes foundational and sometimes critical of the traditional points of view. The most general critique will be to view globalization not as inevitable outcomes of historical progress, but as conjunctural phenomena arising out of myriad socially-constructed forces. Overall, you should leave this course with a basis for further study of the dilemmas and opportunities posed by a globalizing world.

Class Participation

You are expected to come to every class and out-of-class event. Come prepared to discuss readings and join group discussions. You are encouraged to have an opinion, be audacious, and risk your pride. Class participation means you regularly attend class and take part in meaningful ways. Since critical dialogue is probably where most learning happens anyway, this should be in our mutual interests. Learning is a conspiracy, a group activity where we work, play, plot, and debate together. Students should be prepared to take notes without laptops. Cell phones and all other non-airplane-approved devices must be switched off.

Assignments

You will write eight short papers (approximately 2 pages each) in response to particular readings and themes. We will discuss how to write these papers in class. During week six I will give you a mid-term exam consisting of several short essay questions. You will also work in groups to complete a presentation to give at the end of the semester. I will give you more specific information on the details of each of these assignments when the time comes.

A Note on Written Work

Written work is the primary way you will be evaluated, and your writing will be graded according to its readability, grammatical accuracy, and creativity, in addition to the substantive ideas it conveys. We will discuss the challenges posed by sociological writing, but if you have any concerns about your ability, please see me and consider visiting the CTLR: http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/resources/ctlr. All written work is accepted by email.

Grades

Your grades come from the assignments stated above, plus class participation. Class participation is derived from a combination of attendance, frequency and quality of participation in class discussions, the competency of your five minute introduction, and observed struggle to engage the material. Late work is lowered half a grade for the first week late, and is not accepted thereafter. The grade breakdown is as follows:

Response papers                  25%

Midterm                                  25%

Group Project                         30%

Class participation               20%

Most students can expect to receive a grade in the B range. Typically, A’s at Middlebury are reserved for outstanding work above and beyond what is average and expected. If you object to a grade you receive, email me a detailed explanation as to why you think the grade should be changed. In that email, also include a few times when you can meet me as soon as possible to discuss the matter further.

Honor Code and Academic Integrity

The Middlebury Honor Code forbids cheating and plagiarism. For details on what constitutes these breaches of conduct, please see Middlebury policy here: http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/administration/newfaculty/handbook/honorcode

Failure to abide such regulations will result in my notifying the proper college authorities. The academy is not known for its sense of humor, but plagiarism is truly no joke. For information on how to avoid plagiarizing, see Earl Babbie’s article: http://www.csub.edu/ssric-trd/howto/plagiarism.htm