The Making of the 21st Century

JSIS 201

Provides a historical understanding of the twentieth century and major global issues today. Focuses on interdisciplinary social science theories, methods, and information relating to global processes and on developing analytical and writing skills to engage complex questions of causation and effects of global events and forces. There are two main themes of this course. The first is the making and un-making of global orders. Over the course of the last hundred years (or so), there have been numerous attempts to impose economic, political, military, and cultural frameworks in the name of various ideals like peace, security, democracy, and development. Many of those attempts have led to disastrous consequences. This course will explore many of those varying efforts and pay particular attention to the work that has gone into the connections and conflicts between “First” and “Third” World projects. The second theme concerns the interplay between structures and actors in various processes of international political economy. On both global and local levels, the old observation of Karl Marx remains largely true: people make their own history, but they do not make it under conditions of their own choosing. We will examine both how global forces structure the decisions of elite and popular sectors, as well as how political actors negotiate, contest, and transform global forces.