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SOC 1102 Global Perspectives

Course Description

This course will survey various global issues arising since World War II by studying history, political science and economics. We will emphasize the interaction of the superpowers during the Cold War, the post-colonial emergence of the Third World, the ascendancy of regional and international economic and political institutions, and the reshaping of contemporary Europe.

Course Objectives

  • Recognize the interlinked social science disciplines of history, political science, sociology, economics and international relations
  • Develop analytical skills to understand the complex, contemporary globalized world, including the shifting balance of power patterns influenced by nationalism, religion, race, ethnicity, gender and different personal and societal differences and identities
  • Discuss the world since the 1990s, the role of the United States after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
  • Recognize the emergence of new leading economies of developing or newly industrialized countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (the BRICS) and Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey (MIST) and their influence in regional and global affairs.
  • Analyze how U.S. foreign policy decisions (soft power vs. hard power) and subsequent events, such as the 9/11 attacks and the war on terrorism have formed the global perceptions of the United States.
  • Examine global activism for change, democracy and development (e.g. Arab Spring) and technologies that effect rapid change and responses in government policies, activities, and strategic planning
  • Apply and discuss alternative non-U.S. perspectives
  • Discuss the future: new global order in a multipolar world, climate change, competition over resources, and new hybrid threats for the U.S. and the world

Week 1

Topic: Introduction to the Contemporary and Integrated World
Lecture: Introduction to the Course
Lecture: Are You a Conscientious Global Citizen?


  • Discuss how nationalism, identity, differences, technology, population growth, and various political philosophies and different theories that have shaped the world and led to key global events
  • Explain the evolution and flux of world systems and world order over time
  • Recognize the global interconnectedness and integration throughout the history of humankind
  • Identify the key events of the twentieth century

Week 2

Topic: Crisis in the European-Dominated World Order and World War I
Lecture: Responsibility to Protect Doctrine – Libya Intervention


  • Explain the causes for World War I
  • Analyze the role of the United States
  • Discuss the changes in Europe, different political philosophies, and key events
  • Explain the Great Depression and subsequent changes in governance, including the New Deal concept

Week 3

Topic: World War II and the Age of Superpower Rivalry
Lecture: Neutral Foreign Policy – Is It Really an Option?


  • Discuss how Europe recovered from WWII
  • Explain the United States' rise to power after WWII
  • Analyze the reasons for the Cold War and its impact
  • Recognize the increasing global economic integration
  • Recognize the effect of dissolution of the Soviet system

Week 4

Topic: Latin America
Lecture: Future of Cuba and Its Relations With the United States


  • Compare “old” and “new 21st century” Latin America
  • Discuss the U.S. / Latin America relations
  • Identify influential Latin American countries and how the region will influence the global affairs
  • Explain what is meant by “Latin America’s decade”
  • Recognize the extraordinary changes, positive developments, and growth in Latin America and the region
  • Analyze current state of specific countries in the region

Week 5

Topic: Middle-East and Africa
Lecture: Why the Western and United States Presence in the Middle East is Resented


  • Discuss U.S. / Middle East relations including the impact of U.S. involvement in the region
  • Recognize different levels of development between African countries
  • Describe the social, economic, and political impact of colonialism in Africa
  • Discuss different perceptions of the United States and what might have caused such views
  • Explain Arab unity concept and its evolution

Week 6

Topic: Asia
Lecture: Foreign Assistance


  • Explain the Western dominance of Asia
  • Identify the fast growing Asian countries and their influence in global affairs
  • Discuss changes in China
  • Recognize the diversity of Asia with regard to ethnic groups, cultures, environments, economics, historical ties, and government systems
  • Discuss the United States' role in Asia
  • Evaluate the role of Japan
  • Analyze the impact of rapid economic growth, uneven distribution of wealth, increased demand for natural resources, and population growth in Asia

Week 7

Topic: The World Since the 1990s
Lecture: Views of the U.S. and American Foreign Policy


  • Discuss the role of the United States in the contemporary world
  • Recognize the changing perceptions of the world’s views on the United States as a result of different foreign policy approaches and decisions
  • Analyze the changing balances of power between the key players after the Cold War
  • Discuss some of the most devastating conflicts, political transitions, and atrocities in the 1990s in Europe and Africa
  • Discuss how the world’s increasing population has imposed greater demands on a fragile environment
  • Identify the increased awareness of regional, ethnic, cultural, and/or religious identities and differences by people across the globe and the challenges that has brought

Week 8

Topic: Twenty-First Century and the Future
Lecture: Sustainable and Peaceful Future or More Conflict and Turmoil?


  • Discuss some of the potential 21st century threats to peace, development, and security
  • Explain key human and global development issues and challenges
  • Analyze the role of the international organizations in maintaining world order
  • Explore the role of the United States in the 21st century world

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. April 2015