Contemporary Global Issues

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This course seeks to explore the key elements that shape the international political environment of the 21st century.  Whether we like it or not, the United States exists in a world that is increasingly linked politically, economically, demographically, culturally, and even environmentally.  Students in the course will explore a variety of these linkages in an attempt to understand more fully the key issues that form the heart of international debate and conflict today.  That means, of course, that the course syllabus is subject to revision as new issues arise and older ones wax or wane in intensity.

What will be different about this class is that students will be responsible for producing a good deal of the information that we discuss.  Rather than simply being consumers of assigned reading, students will be asked to do a significant amount of research to create the body of information that they will then focus on analyzing.  The focus on current global issues means that the bulk of your research will be web-based.  This reliance on the web means that one of the key skills you need to develop is the ability not simply to find information, but the ability to evaluate the sources you find for their veracity and reliability.  One cannot effectively analyze issues without first collecting reliable information upon which you can base those analyses. Thus we will spend time not just discussing issues, but evaluating the research process students use to collect their information.

One of the main strategies to accomplish these goals will be for each student to create their own web site.  Each site will be developed and expanded by students throughout the semester, providing a place for the student (as well as the class) to find information and develop links between the various thematic units.  Information gathered by students will also prepare students for our class discussions, which will form the other key element of the course.

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