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Global Studies

Global Studies FAQs

Does a GBS course need to discuss the entire globe?

No. The second GBS outcome requires that GBS courses deal with processes that are affecting interconnectedness, but a course focused on a specific region can focus attention on such processes as they affect the region under study.

 

Are the first two GBS outcomes at cross-purposes with each other?

On the contrary, they are two aspects of one goal. That goal is to extend students’ intellectual horizons beyond the American world into an encounter with the realities of today’s world in contexts quite different from the domestic contexts our students tend to be most familiar with. To achieve that goal requires both the cultivation of intercultural competence (outcome 1) and a consideration of how connections between diverse places are being affected by contemporary processes (outcome 2).

 

Are the two main types of GBS courses (regional studies and global dynamics) at cross-purposes with each other?

No. Regional studies courses typically focus more attention on GBS outcome 1, but whatever region is under study cannot be adequately understood without considering how global dynamics are affecting that region. Global dynamics courses typically focus more attention on GBS outcome 2, but whatever processes affecting interconnection are under study, they cannot be adequately understood without considering how they play out in specific cultural contexts and how multiple cultural perspectives bring them into focus in different ways.

 

Does GBS outcome 1 require courses to subscribe to a specific definition of ‘culture’?

No. The Global Studies committee avoids offering a definition of ‘culture,’ partly because how the term works has particularities from one academic discipline to another, and we want every discipline that might be able to address this outcome to address it without having some definition that doesn’t fit well with their discipline imposed on them. Some courses may pay more attention than others to the complexities of culture, to the contestations and tensions that undermine any monolithic view of culture. But all GBS courses should lead students to recognition of the specificity of their own cultural perspective through engagement with how the world looks from some cultural site quite different from the domestic contexts our students tend to be most familiar with.

 

Do GBS courses have to stick to the present and the very recent past?

No. The GBS requirement is about encountering the realities of today’s world, and so GBS courses should spend a considerable portion of the semester on 20th and 21st century realities, but many GBS instructors find that understanding those realities requires some substantial time spent studying pre-20th century history.

 

 

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