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Global Studies Undergraduate Courses

Global Studies (GLS) is an interdisciplinary department with faculty trained in political science, geography, communication, and culture. As such, we offer an array of regionally and globally focused courses from a variety of perspectives. Our courses examine contemporary global issues and international relations with emphasis on politics, commerce, and culture. GLS courses serve students in the International Affairs Major and Minor as well as the Liberal Studies Major. US, Comparative, and State and Local Government and Politics courses fulfill Bentley's General Education Requirement. These and other GLS courses can also be used to satisfy degree requirements in other programs as indicated in the descriptions below.

GLS100 US Government and Politics

This course focuses on the practice of politics in the United States. Beginning with the core concepts and fundamental principles underlying the U.S. Constitution and American civil rights and liberties, it then traces how the structure, functions, and leadership of Congress, the Presidency, and Judiciary have developed. Turning to the contemporary American political system, it considers how political parties, interest groups, campaigns & elections, and the news media link citizens with their leaders and influence the policy process.

GLS101 Globalization

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent. The revolutionary changes in information and communication technology and the collapse of the Cold War international system in recent decades have been driving the flow of goods, services, capital, people, ideas and images across the globe at an unprecedented speed. This course begins with an introduction defining what globalization is and is not, why everyone is talking about it, and what forces are pushing it. The course then engages the students in the theoretical debates about the nature of globalization, after which it examines the political, economic, security and cultural impact of globalization. Furthermore, we will use the case of China, India, the United States and the developing world will be used to show how nations react to the challenges of globalization.

GLS102 Comparative Government and Politics

This course offers an introduction to comparative politics. It provides students with the basic knowledge and conceptual tools for analyzing the varieties of national states, regimes (democratic, nondemocratic and hybrid), political institutions and processes. It is designed to help students learn about the historical, economic and cultural contexts of political change (such as democratization, revolution or reform), and understand how and why political systems function differently and the consequences of the differences.

GLS105 US State and Local Government and Politics

Subnational governments (localities, states, regions) are involved in tackling many of the most challenging problems facing nations and are on the front lines responding to social and economic change. This course will help students understand how subnational institutions and decision-makers operate, what kinds of public policies they produce, how they interact with the national government, and how the balance of power between subnational and national government shifts over time.

GLS110 Global Regions

This survey course will examine the world’s major global regions, adopting a geographic perspective to better understand contemporary global landscapes, people and events. In other words, the course will consider the ways in which attributes of location and geography underlie cultural, economic and political circumstances around the world. For each region, associated themes are discussed. For example, North Africa/Southwest Asia tends to be associated with oil and Islam, while North America is often associated with themes of urbanization and mobility. Region-centered class materials and discussions are then complemented by students’ country-specific current events studies that narrow the scale of analysis and thereby reinforce knowledge acquired in the course.

GLS114 Cross-Cultural Understanding

Offers an introduction to effective communication between people of different cultures. Helps students develop and clarify their own concept of culture, and see how differences and similarities in this concept affect communication. Students learn to identify cultural assumptions and perceive how differences in assumptions affect cross-cultural communication. Cultural elements of several specific countries are examined, and strategies for effective communication are developed and applied through readings, case studies and experiential exercises. The course also includes guest speakers, films and small-group discussions.

GLS116 International Relations

This survey course introduces students to International Relations (IR) as a field of study in political science. Students will learn key terms, analytical tools and theories of IR, through which they can better understand and analyze important issues in global politics and the world economy. The course begins with an overview of the central themes, core principles and key concepts of IR, as well as the changing nature of the international system in both the pre-Cold War and post-Cold War eras. It discusses various theoretical approaches of IR and then focuses on several key issue areas, including peace and security, conflict and terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, international cooperation and organizations, international law and regimes, global trade and finance, relations between developed and developing regions, poverty and economic development, and the challenges of managing the environment, resources, and technological and information revolution in the age of globalization.

GLS205 Social Policy

The United States stands out in international comparison for the degree to which it has relied on the private sector to provide social benefits, such as healthcare and pensions, to its citizens. The course will begin by exploring the courses and consequences of this heavy reliance on the private sector for the provision of public benefits. The course will then consider the ways in which this trend continues to strengthen as policymakers increasingly emphasize the privatization of social policy. In particular, the course will consider current social policy debates that emphasize shifts in the role of the private sector: Should social security be privatized? Who should provide health insurance and who should pay for it? Should employers be obligated to pay a living wage? Would market-based reforms improve public schools?

GLS226 US Foreign Policy

Examines briefly the historical trends in U.S. foreign relations. Devotes major attention to the forces affecting the development of foreign policy and the problems facing the United States worldwide since World War II.

GLS230 Politics and Public Policy

This course provides an introduction to the making of public policy. The first part of the course considers questions about the appropriate role of government and why and when do we need public policy? The course then examines the broad context for policymaking in specific countries and considers a number of important and difficult questions: What determines which of the many issues that might command popular attention actually make it to the political agenda? What is political influence and how do we identify who has it? How do various organized interests like labor and business shape policy choices? How do the various institutions of government affect the types of policies that are considered and adopted? How do ideas and culture influence the nature of government intervention in society and the economy? In order to answer these questions, students will analyze case studies of current policy debates.

GLS236 Campaigns and Elections

Examines political campaigns and elections in the United States and other democracies. The course covers the core principles and practices of modern campaigns, including who runs for office and why; how are campaigns organized; what makes a good campaign strategy, and what is the best way to communicate a theme to the voters; how are campaigns financed; what is the impact of money, polling, political advertising, and grassroots mobilization; how is technology transforming campaigns; and how do voters make their electoral decisions? These questions will be answered by closely tracking and analyzing current races, assessing the performance of the news media, comparing the U.S. electoral system with systems abroad, suggesting reforms for the U.S. system, and discussing the implications of the most recent election outcomes for future governing and policymaking.

GLS238 Immigration

Considers America's love-hate relationship with its immigration legacy - a nation of immigrants that now favors stricter immigration policies. Focuses on the country's immigration legacy, immigration institutions, legal and undocumented immigration, political refugees and human rights issues at America's borders. It also examines foreign policy influences on immigration policy and places immigration within a global context to examine the origins of immigration as well as international migration patterns.

GLS240 Special Topics: Global Studies

Permits students to study selected topics in Global Studies. (Allows repetition for credit).

GLS242 Current Political Issues

Focuses on a specific current event or public policy debate at the forefront of U.S. or international politics. The course will examine current issues in their political context, with emphasis on the actors, institutions or organizations, and processes that shape them. Topic changes: With department approval, course may be taken more than once.

GLS243 The Developing World

As the forces of globalization increase the flow of goods, services, capital, people, ideas and images across borders, many social, political and economic consequences have arisen for developing, as well as developed, countries. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining the dynamic interaction of the social and political factors with regional and transnational economic forces in the developing world. More specifically, it discusses the social and political conditions for successes or failures of development as well as the consequences of development and underdevelopment. The United Nations Human Development Index is used to analyze the consequences of global socioeconomic interactions. Students in this course will acquire a deep understanding of the global and socioeconomic interactions measured by the index and develop skills to analyze the multifaceted impact of globalization on the developing world.

GLS248 Media and Politics

This course analyzes the role of the media in politics and its relationship with the public, business, government and candidates for office in a democratic society. The course will examine the role and structure of the news media as a political and economic institution in the United States and other democracies and how it is being transformed by the "alternative" media, new technologies and globalization; the conventions and controversies associated with the journalism profession, including news reporting and the newsgathering process, questions of bias and objectivity, investigative journalism, and news coverage of political campaigns, public policy, and global affairs; news-making strategies and the effects that media have on citizens' attitudes and behaviors.

GLS251 Latin American Cinema

The course will look at how Latin American cinema addresses issues of cultural identity, history, politics and society, and will investigate how this cinema fits into the larger socio-historical-political context of Latin America in our modern “globalized” world. One of the central objectives of this course is to consider the ways in which cinema has shaped perceptions and understandings of recent and contemporary Latin American experiences for audiences inside and outside of Latin America. In addition, students will learn about styles, forms and techniques of Latin American film production and how various films have influenced as well as been influenced by recent history, politics, violence and culture in Latin America and the Latin American diaspora. One of the goals of te course is to identify key themes and styles of representation in Latin American cinema and investigate the ways in which this cinema expresses the concerns and experiences of Latin Americans.

GLS255 Global Commerce and Human Rights: Short-Term Program to Chile

This course will look at Chile as a test case for global commerce and a free market economy, noting the benefits and opportunities that are available to Chileans who live in a nation whose recent governments have embraced a liberal marketplace and free trade, as well as the hardships that the Chilean people and their environment have endured as a result of such unrestricted free trade combined with a lack of human rights, social services and environmental protections. Staying in Santiago, Temuco and Renaca while visiting some of the surrounding coastal and mountainous regions in central and south-central Chile, students will speak with representatives from the Central Bank of Chile, the Santiago chapter of the Association of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared, the Mapuche indigenous people of Chile, a journalist and communications professor, a filmmaker and blogger, and a TV journalist/host, among others.

GLS262 Politics in the Middle East

This course examines the modern (post World War I) origins of states in the Middle East and attempts to explain the various forces at flux, which determine the national and regional politics of the region. For the purposes of this course the Middle East is defined as the Arab countries of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, and the non-Arab countries of Iran, Israel and Turkey. The course will also consider non-state actors such as the Kurds and the Palestinians and their relations with the states that they operate in.

GLS265 Study Tour to Asia

This course examines the ongoing socioeconomic transformation of China as 1.3 billion people are developing a market-based economy and coping with the challenges of globalization. The course involves a two-week study tour to China, preceded by two evening seminars and one Saturday orientation on the Bentley campus. During the two-week stay in China, the group will visit the cities of Beijing Xi'an, and Shanghai, where the participants will study the Chinese economy, society, history and foreign relations, visit key historical and cultural sites, and exchange views with Chinese scholars and students. Students are required to complete a term paper as part of the requirement in this course

GLS270 Contemporary Europe

The course offers a topical and regional approach to the geography of contemporary Europe. The topical --or thematic-- approach investigates Europe’s complex physical, cultural, economic and political landscapes. The course will focus upon contemporary issues including European Union integration and the competing forces of devolution, as well as the Euro, the welfare state, tourism management and environmental issues. The ultimate objective of the course is to build a fundamental understanding of Europe’s landscapes, diverse populations and contemporary issues, and for each student to develop a geographic expertise on one European state. This course may be offered with an intensive travel component to Europe over spring or summer break.

GLS272 European Politics and Societies

The course introduces students to the governments, politics and major political issues that concern the people and countries of the European Union. The goal is to help students develop a solid understanding of individual countries as well as the evolving project of European integration. Topics may include the historical patterns of political development; societal characteristics; political parties and party systems; governing arrangements; political economy concerns such as markets and regulation, labor relations and the welfare state; political participation and political culture; and the interaction of regional, national and European Union politics.

GLS276 Case Study: Transforming Economies of Europe: Short-Term Program to Europe

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor.

This travel-embedded course examines the complex political, economic and cultural changes taking place in Central and Eastern European economies as they re-join the global economy after decades of isolation. This course looks at the challenges facing former centrally-planned economies as they attempt to converge with those of the European Union. Course material is drawn from the region as a whole, but one or more countries are chosen as the primary focus of attention. The course features experiential learning in one or more countries within the region, and these may include the Czech Republic, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, (eastern) Germany, or another location that illustrates the course content. This course may be taken multiple times for credit when traveling to different locations.

GLS298 Experimental Course in Global Studies

Experimental courses explore curriculum development, with specific content intended for evolution into a permanent course. A topic may be offered twice before it becomes a permanent course. Students may repeat experimental courses with a different topic for credit.

GLS299 Experimental Course in Global Studies

Experimental courses explore curriculum development, with specific content intended for evolution into a permanent course. A topic may be offered twice before it becomes a permanent course. Students may repeat experimental courses with a different topic for credit.

GLS303 Dictatorship or Democracy?

This course explores why some countries are democratic while others are not, and why some democracies survive while others return to authoritarian rule or hover in an ambiguous state of neither true democracy nor outright authoritarianism. The course analyzes how and why transitions from authoritarian rule toward democracy occurred in many countries around the globe in the late-20th and early-21st centuries, such as in southern Europe, the ex-communist world and the developing world, and it explores the quality of the new regimes, the challenges they face and their prospects for survival. The course analyzes questions, such as: Is democracy only for the rich? Is Islam incompatible with democracy? Does ethnic diversity hinder democracy? Can democracy be imposed by the U.S.? Is women's equality essential for democratic development? What is the effect of inequality on the sustainability of democracy? What are the chances for democracy in the Middle East?

GLS310 Perspectives on Global Commerce

This course surveys the phenomenon of global commerce within a broad interdisciplinary context. It considers the meaning and changing nature of global commerce and examines contemporary trade patterns from a geographic perspective. Reviews the history of global commerce and its impacts, and provides an overview of the development of economic ideas concerning trade and commerce. The course also examines specific areas of interest, such as commerce and culture, the role of government and international organizations, the legal framework of global commerce, selected contemporary issues, and possible future scenarios for trade and commerce.

GLS312 International Organizations

This course examines the intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations working in the field of economic and social development. With the increasing interdependence of states and the globalization of the world economy, new international institutions are developing. The course will study the historical development, the contemporary operation, and the contributions of organizations such as the United Nations, European Union, World Trade Organization, United Nations Development program and Oxfam. Since sustainable development is a primary activity of international organizations today, the course will focus on development projects and activities in Africa. The course provides an understanding of the work of international organizations in the field of development and of the practical skills required to work in international governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

GLS315 Human Rights in Global Media

This course looks at how media covers themes of human rights across the globe. It focuses primarily on documentary and feature films, but includes television, radio, print journalism, music, poetry, textiles and the Internet, and will explore styles, forms and techniques of media production and reception. Many films and videos will be in languages other than English, with English subtitles. The course examines how media influence and are influenced by recent history, politics, violence and culture in different parts of the world, with emphasis on media influence in judicial human rights cases. The course will emphasize team projects, fieldwork and student creativity.

GLS316 International Politics

Momentous events occurred in 1989 when the Communist regimes of east Europe collapsed and the Soviet government instituted major reforms. Clearly, with the end of the Cold War, the world was entering a new era of a new order. This course offers an overview of the critical international issues with which policymakers will grapple in the years leading into the 21st century. The course pays special attention to the controversies that illuminate the more perplexing questions that confront U.S. foreign policy, which range from international competitiveness to the conditions requiring U.S. military intervention.

GLS320 Human Rights & Global Governance

Prerequisite(s): PH 101 or Instructor's Permission

Note: Cross listed with PH 320

The aim of the course is to introduce Bentley students to several key philosophical debates regarding human rights and global governance. In this era of globalization, some understanding of current issues relating to human rights and global governance is a necessary requirement for global citizens, especially for those who aspire to be business leaders of the 21st century. The course also aims to help Bentley students develop stronger critical thinking skills. Philosophy articles and chapters chosen as class materials follow the philosophical method, which is the method of critical thinking. Understanding the philosophical method is therefore a prerequisite for understanding, analyzing, and engaging with the class materials. Hence, some portion of the course is devoted to explicating various elements of the philosophical method or critical thinking.

GLS325 Global Transportation and Tourism

Prerequisite(s): GLS 101, GLS 110 or GLS 116 or instructor's permission.

This course introduces the fundamentals of the global tourism and hospitality industries, emphasizing the role of all modes of passenger transportation. The semester is organized into five broad topics: tourism principles, history and distribution of tourism, tourism transportation, tourism impacts, and tourism research and marketing. The course pays special attention to the facilitation of tourism by ever-evolving passenger transportation technologies as well as how the industry is affected by events such as conflicts, terrorism and natural disasters. From a spatial perspective, the course also looks at the many economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism upon destinations. Students apply course concepts by researching the tourism industry in one specific country and sharing their insights with the class. The ultimate objective is to develop a fundamental knowledge of the industry and to obtain skills for involvement in a variety of capacities.

GLS326 Terrorism & National Security

Note: Epected to be offered every two years. Formerly taught as a topics course under GLS 230 and GLS 242.

This course introduces students to contemporary terrorism and the strategic challenges it poses for national security policy. The course analyzes the causes of terrorism; terrorist ideology; the categorization of international and domestic terrorist groups; how terrorist groups affect the development of national counter-terrorism policy; amongst other topics. While focusing primarily on modern terrorist groups, it also analyzes the often historically-grounded causes and development of these groups, and their demands.

GLS330 Politics of Risk

Note: Offered every other year.

This course provides an introduction to the governance of public risks or large-scale hazards and disasters impacting a broad cross-section of society. It surveys the policies and practices used to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the damage done by emerging diseases, natural disasters, environmental hazards, technological incidents, and other naturally occurring and human-made problems. This course will help students understand how nations, international institutions, non-governmental entities, and even private organizations work to identify and, subsequently, manage risks and hazards. Special attention is paid to the tension between preparing for emerging problems and responding to disaster events. The course will also investigate the various barriers to effective crisis management.

GLS335 Contemporary Issues in Global Politics

Prerequisite(s): GLS 102 or GLS 116 or GLS 226 or instructor's permission.

This course focuses on a specific current event or public policy debate at the forefront of international politics. This course examines specialized topics in the Global Studies field, focusing on those that are both critical and timely. The issues will be framed in a global political context, with emphasis on the actors, institutions or organizations, international systems, decision-making processes and interactions that shape them. The topic changes: With department approval, course may be taken more than once.

GLS398 Adv Experimental Course in GLS

Experimental courses explore curriculum development, with specific content intended for evolution into a permanent course. A topic may be offered twice before it becomes a permanent course. Students may repeat experimental courses with a different topic for credit.

GLS399 Adv Experimental Course in GLS

Experimental courses explore curriculum development, with specific content intended for evolution into a permanent course. A topic may be offered twice before it becomes a permanent course. Students may repeat experimental courses with a different topic for credit.

GLS401 Directed Study in Global Studies

Prerequisite(s): One GLS course and Instructor's permission.

Allows superior students to pursue independent study in a specialized topic under the guidance of a faculty member. May be repeated for credit.

GLS402 Directed Study in Government

Prerequisite(s): Department chairperson's or instructor's permission

Permits advanced students to study special topics. May be repeated for credit.

GLS403 Model United Nations

Prerequisite(s): One GLS course or instructor's permission.

Note: Offered only in spring.

What is the impact of the United Nations on the world today? How does it contribute to peace, development, and human rights? Students in the seminar will learn about the operation of the United Nations, will research an issue currently before the United Nations, and will participate in the Model Security Council where they serve as ambassador for a member state. This Model Security Council will develop students personal skills for researching, conducting parliamentary procedure, negotiating with other countries, public speaking and resolution writing. The reading, discussion, research and Model Security Council participation will enable you to understand the changing nature of global society and the role the United Nations plays in this new world.

GLS404 Seminar in Global Studies

Prerequisite(s): Junior or Senior class standing and one GLS course or instructor's permission.

Note: Not offered regularly. Check with department chair for availability.

This course focuses on several topics of current global significance. The emphasis is on issues that are rooted in specific geographies and economies, but are also affected by the changing world situation. The issues chosen may change from semester to semester. A selective, in-depth approach is taken to examine in an international context topics and cases that are of cultural, political, business or economic significance. Based on their background and interests, students will propose, develop and present their own research project or case. The course is designed to encourage students to contribute and synthesize concepts and ideas gained from previous courses, and to develop more depth and sophistication in applying their ideas and skills in analyzing contemporary global issues. May be repeated for credit.

GLS405 Seminar in Government

Prerequisite(s): One GLS course or instructor's permission and (CC5 or WP).

Note: Not offered regularly. Check with department chair for availability.

Permits advanced students to study selected topics in government. May be repeated for credit.

GLS421 Internship in Global Studies

Prerequisite(s): One GLS course and permission of the internship coordinator and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Allows students to apply in business, government or the nonprofit sector knowledge gained in their academic program. The on-the-job experience, in turn, helps students to clarify their interests and career goals. A final paper based on the internship activities helps students to integrate classroom knowledge with real-world experience. In addition to producing a final paper, students are required to attend pre-internship workshops at the Center for Career Services and to meet regularly with a faculty advisor.

GLS422 Internship in Government

Prerequisite(s): One GLS course and permission of the internship coordinator

Offers students the opportunity to arrange, in conjunction with the college, employment in a public or nonprofit organization. A major paper will be required.