Terrorism. Poverty. The dollar. Global warming. The World Cup. Immigration. K-pop. The United Nations. Ebola. McDonald’s.
Almost every aspect of human existence has been touched by the dynamic of globalization, which may be the defining characteristic of the 21st Century.
Yet, the origins, history, evolution, and impact of globalization – even its very definition – are subject to intense debate. We can surely say, however, that every student leaving college and entering the workforce – the world – should have a fundamental understanding of globalization.
Such understanding will give students crucial knowledge and skills that will set them apart in this new world and help them succeed in an increasingly globalized context. It will help them anticipate the social, cultural, economic and political changes brought about by globalization – and the resistance to globalization. It will better prepare students to draw connections in an interdependent and interconnected world.
Global Studies is a relatively new and increasingly popular major at universities worldwide, including Yale, UCLA, the London School of Economics and others. Different from study in an individual department, Global Studies is emphatically interdisciplinary, with professors from anthropology, journalism, sociology, modern languages and literature, religion studies, political science, history, international relations, and others. Increasingly, the most important questions cannot be answered by one discipline but by the combined efforts of multiple disciplines.
Although study of globalization has been conducted at Lehigh for years, the University formally created the Globalization and Social Change Initiative in Fall 2006, and the major in Global Studies followed soon after. Lehigh's first Global Studies majors graduated in 2010. The program now attracts dozens of majors every year. Most of our students complete double majors in fields that tie in neatly with the study of globalization – including foreign languages, political science, religion, economics, political science, Africana studies and many others.
Global Studies faculty members conduct research on the cultural, economic, historical, political, religious, and sociological aspects of globalization around the world.