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Thinking Globally: Colonialism and the Making of the Modern World

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 08, 2019 - July 19, 20197/08 - 7/19M-F 8:30A-11:20AOpenRicarda Hammer
11264 ADD TO CART

Course Description

Knowledge of the social world is often premised on the boundedness of the nation state, as if our nation exists and has always existed in isolation of global influences. Yet, the history that created the modern world is one of empires, colonialism, the slave trade and other transnational connections. These racial and colonial histories are often ignored or silenced.

This course aims to illuminate our sense of identity and how we came to be: If we acknowledge that the world has ‘always already’ been global, what does that mean for our sense of place in the world? How should we analyse the connections between local and global stories? And how do these colonial or global histories still matter? The course consists of three main components: (I) We examine the silences of historical and sociological knowledge production (II) We look at how local lives are embedded in larger processes and connections (III) We search for alternative ways to think of the local as globally constituted.

As part of this course, students will engage in mini-research projects in Providence, RI, and explore its silenced histories and global connections. The course will be discussion based, aimed at developing students’ skills in critical thinking, critical reading, debating, presenting and writing on past and contemporary global processes.

When asked to recount his views on immigrating to Britain, the Jamaican-born cultural theorist Stuart Hall once said: “Symbolically, we have been there for centuries. I was coming home. I am the sugar at the bottom of the English cup of tea” (Hall 1991, 48). While most of our sociological and political discussions are premised on the nation state as an analytical category, the history that created the modern world is one of empires, colonialism and other transnational connections. Yet, these racial and colonial histories and global connections are often ignored or silenced.

This course aims to illuminate our sense of identity and how we came to be: If we acknowledge that the world has ‘always already’ been global, what does that mean for our sense of place in the world? How should we analyse the connections between local and global stories? And how do these colonial or global histories still matter? The course consists of three main components: (I) We examine the silences of historical and sociological knowledge production (II) We look at how local lives are embedded in larger processes and connections (III) We search for alternative ways to think of the local as globally constituted.

As part of this course, students will engage in mini-research projects in Providence, RI, and explore its silenced histories and global connections. The course will be discussion based, aimed at developing students’ skills in critical thinking, critical reading, debating, presenting and writing on past and contemporary global processes. Drawing on the Rhode Island’s entanglements with colonialism, slavery, migration, or the global economy students will apply the course discussion to an empirical case. The goal of this case study is to denaturalize our understanding of our social word through an investigation of the global connections in the everyday life of present or historical Rhode Island, and a discussion of the implications of this exercise for students' everyday lives at home.

This course prepares students well for college-level classes in the social sciences and the humanities: First, it presents them with a series of social and political theoretical texts and second, it introduces students to the basis of research and knowledge creation.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

- Critically analyze contemporary sociological and political issues through the lens of uncovering its global and historical connections (and look at the world differently!)
- See linkages between ‘the local’ and ‘the global’ and apply these insights to contemporary issues
- Gain an introductory understanding to sociological and anticolonial theories, including the work
of DuBois, Hall, Bourdieu and Fanon

				

Course Information

  • Course Code: CESO0946
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

Summer@Brown

Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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