College Bulletin 2023-2024 
    Feb 21, 2024  
College Bulletin 2023-2024

Global Studies



AYSE KAYA (Political Science), Coordinator
CARINA YERVASI (French and Francophone Studies), Coordinator
Cheryl Sharp, Administrative Coordinator
Deborah B Sloman, Administrative Assistant


Farha Ghannam (Anthropology)
Stephen Hopkins (Religion)
Jose-Louis Machado (Biology)
Maria Pia Oliverso (Economics)
Sunka Simon (Film and Media Studies)
Tristan Smith (Physics)

Global Studies Committee Member in Memoriam
Stephen Golub (Economics)


The Global Studies Program brings together courses across the curriculum that focus on, or provide means to, understanding and analyzing: global processes, systems, and phenomena, the relationship between the local and the global, and trans-border connections among people and events. 

Global Studies, with its emphasis, on the one hand, on processes and phenomena common across borders and, on the other, with a particular attention to differences in the global-local connection, offers students an opportunity to more strongly command an understanding of their place in the world and an awareness and appreciation of differences through cross-cultural competence as well as a greater ability to mediate these differences. The Global Studies program complements and strengthens Swarthmore’s efforts to shape engaged citizens not just with a local or a national conscience, but also with a global one.

The minor in Global Studies requires a total of 5 credits plus Foreign Language study to create a cohesive pathway to an interdisciplinary understanding of the global. One of these 5 credits has to come from the Introduction to Global Studies course.  The remaining four credits need to come from the list of eligible courses, which include core courses and paired courses.  While core courses offer a global view of a particular subject, paired courses predominantly study one part of the world or an issue area, topic, or theme through a part of the world.  In this respect, paired courses provide a global view through comparative analysis.  One GLBL-eligible paired course needs to be combined with another GLBL-eligible paired course for the student to receive credit for each paired course. The rationale for the pairing should be outlined in the student’s Sophomore Pathway. Further, Graduating seniors complete a Senior Reflection Exercise.

Those interested in a special major in Global Studies can work with the program coordinators to develop a plan. A special major will include the requirements of the minor plus additional credits.

The Academic Program

Course Minor


  1. Introduction to Global Studies (GLBL 015.)
  2. A minimum of four credits in core and paired courses:
    • These four credits should come from at least two different divisions.
    • More than one course in the same Department/Program is not permitted to count toward the four credit requirement.
    • Two of these four credits must come from the core courses
    • A maximum of one of these credits may be taken off-campus at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or on an approved study abroad program, upon petition to and approval by the coordinators.
  3. Foreign language study


Introduction to Global Studies - GLBL 015:

All minors are required to successfully complete the one-credit Introduction to Global Studies (GLBL 015) offered every fall, preferably by their sophomore year. It is team-taught by two faculty members from different departments. First-years are permitted in the course. Seniors may enroll upon approval of the instructors.


A minimum of four credits in core and paired courses:

Core courses - Minimum of 2

Core courses are the backbone of the Global Studies program because they have a high level of content central to the analyses of global events, systems, or processes. The core courses may be focusing on processes of interdependence (such as migrations or the economy of arts), the impact of an event or a process across multiple regions of the world (such as urbanization in different places or the effects of capitalism), or a comparative analysis of an idea or phenomenon in different parts of the world (such as how Buddhism is understood and practiced in different parts of the world). These courses provide explicit tools, concepts, and analysis that are commonly used in, or connect closely with, themes in Global Studies and are noted in the catalog entry notes as “Eligible for GLBL - Core.”


Paired Courses

Students can also pair courses to achieve a comparative, cross-regional emphasis. To elaborate, if students choose to take paired courses that are eligible for GLBL, they must combine at least two paired courses in order to receive credit for each course for the minor. Courses listed in this category are predominantly courses that study a part of the world or an issue area, topic, or theme through a part of the world. These courses may present global concepts, systems or phenomena, but are limited by focus on a specific part of the world. These courses are noted in the catalog entry notes as “Eligible for GLBL - Paired.” An additional core course can count as a paired course with another GLBL-paired course.


Foreign Language Study

Studying a foreign language engages an essential tool of cross-cultural communication as it embodies a different way to learn about others’ cultures while reflecting on one’s own. Choice of language should be integral to the student’s Global Studies minor. The language study requirement comprises two choices:


1. New Language: Students choosing a new language will be required to complete the first three semesters of a new language offered at Swarthmore (Trico or UPenn for languages not housed at Swarthmore) or reach the equivalent of intermediate level in a study abroad language option upon approval of program coordinators.


2. Continuing Language: Students choosing to continue a language begun elsewhere and taught at Swarthmore will adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Students placed at the 1st - 3rd semester-level must complete through the 3rd semester of that language.

  • Students placed at the 4th semester-level must complete that level.

  • Students placed above the 4th semester-level must complete one advanced course in that language.

  • Students who wish to declare English as their foreign language must meet with the program coordinators.


In essence, some students may continue a language they studied in high school, while others may prefer to begin a new language. We would strongly advise the student to see the language choice as integral to their choice of elective courses. For languages not housed at Swarthmore, Global Studies will encourage students to explore two options: (1) local language study in the Trico or at UPenn or (2) study abroad opportunities that offer intensive language programs on their own or as part of a study abroad program. In such cases where students want to study languages elsewhere, Global Studies’ students will work in consultation with the program coordinators to develop a language study program.


NB. Some of the courses that would satisfy the Global Studies core and paired courses requirement are language courses, so they would meet both the course requirements as well as the language requirements.


Sophomore Pathway

Equivalent to the sophomore plan, in the Sophomore Pathway the students will outline their rationale of their chosen GLBL courses and language study, including how they think these courses will help them pursue their area of interest or permit the exploration of a theme from different vantage points.

A minimum “B” average within the GLBL minor is required for all minors by their junior year.


Senior Reflection Exercise

Seniors will revisit their Sophomore Pathway as they craft a statement to reflect upon their Global Studies minor. The statement will be presented in a short, public address to all interested faculty, staff, and students at the GLBL Spring Gathering. The exercise should be a self-assessment on the student’s course choices and what they have learned, what connections still need to be made, what plans they have for future growth in skills and knowledge-building.

Honors Minor

An Honors Minor preparation will consist of the combination of two related courses using GLBL 015 and any GLBL-core course taken at Swarthmore. The focus will be on how the two courses connect, combining a dimension of the GLBL 015 syllabus with the GLBL-core course. Students will be examined in that dimension, even though general questions of either syllabus may be asked. To qualify for Honors, students must maintain an average of B or better in their GLBL coursework. Students wishing to pursue an Honors Minor in GLBL should consult with the coordinators.

Special Major

Guidelines for a Special Major in Global Studies

Due to student demand, we are outlining our guidelines for completing a Special Major in Global Studies.

The total number of credits in the Special Major in Global Studies is 10-12, per the College’s guidelines. As outlined below, the Special Major in Global Studies consists of required courses and electives.

The required courses are Introduction to Global Studies (GLBL015) and foreign language study for all Special Majors in Global Studies and several Economics courses and a course in Statistics for certain concentrations within the Special Major. These courses are geared toward ensuring the student’s substantive immersion in the relevant topics of global studies, as well as gaining general skills required in understanding the impact of global issues. They also intend to aid the student in their future endeavors.

In addition, the electives-comprising 6-8 “core” or “paired” GLBL-eligible courses-offer specialized electives organized around one of the many themes within the field of Global Studies. The student should always refer to the website for the most up-to-date information and email the coordinators with any questions.

Requirements for the Special Major in Global Studies:

  1. GLBL015: Introduction to Global Studies. We strongly advise students take this course in their first two years as it will provide a synthetic overview of different topics and will enable them to discover their interests, thereby helping with the thematic organization of their elective courses.
  2. Foreign language study
  3. 6-8 “core” or “paired” GLBL-eligible elective courses organized around a theme, with the theme justified in the student’s Sophomore Pathway paper and later revisited in the student’s Senior Reflection Exercise.
  4. The student is allowed to take up to one of the above electives in affiliated institutions Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and UPenn) or another institution with the Coordinators’ permission, including from an off-campus study program.
  5. It is the student’s responsibility to take all prerequisites for any suggested courses.
  6. The students should not be taking more than 6 credits in any one Department.

What is a theme?

A thematic organization of the student’s 6-8 elective courses ensures the student has a clear, easily communicable focus in their examination of global issues. A theme identifies and concentrates on the core fields and approaches within the growing area of Global Studies. A theme will attend to comparative historical and contemporary engagements with and consequences of transnational and global phenomena, processes, institutions, and representations of these interactions. This means that the theme will encompass different disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses the student needs to take to fulfill the special major. These courses might provide divergent angles of a topic, study the same phenomenon from different disciplines, or provide the application of an issue (such as economic development) to different areas of the world (e.g., West Africa and East Asia). The goal is for the student to have both breadth and depth in their choice of a theme with tightly connected courses.

We recommend the following themes based on the state of the discipline of Global Studies, but remain open to the student petitioning a different theme if the student can make a strong case that an adequate number of courses exist to fulfill the theme. In this case, the student must describe the theme as well as list the courses they wish to take, paying close attention to course scheduling. Student designated themes cannot replicate existing majors in the College.

Possible Themes and Examples of Elective Courses

While we list possible themes here, if the student chooses these themes, then the student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements under the theme. If the student petitions to do their own theme (see above), the Coordinators retain the right to require specific courses to ensure the student’s coursework is rigorous and meets the expectations of the field of Global Studies.

1. Global Studies Special Major in Urban Studies

This theme, geared toward the study of global urban issues, connects local and global phenomena around the growth of cities. It focuses on transnational interactions between states and cities with an emphasis on the role of refuge-seeking in the growth of cities, the role of mayors in global governance as well as the role of architecture and infrastructure on urban expansion. Students are encouraged to develop both a historical as well as a contemporary understanding of urban growth in the era of the anthropocene (including but not limited to built space and human, animal, plant interactions; climate impact on cities; population studies; and geography).

GLBL-eligible courses that fit the theme well include (but are not limited to): ARTH66: Race, Space and Architecture or ARTH155 Modern Architecture and Urbanism or ARTH73 Global History of Architecture; EDU68: Urban Education; FREN116: La pensée géographique; HIST90E: On the Other Side of the Tracks: Black Urban Community; ENVS43: Race, Gender, Class, and the Environment; PHYS1C: Earth’s Climate and Global Warming; POLS28: The Urban Underclass and Public Policy; SOCI37C Racial Geographies or SOCI48L: Urban Crime and Punishment; SPAN69: Cartografías urbanas; one course in the Cities program at Bryn Mawr(optional).

2. Global Studies Special Major in Global Political Economy

This theme is ideal for students, who do not wish to pursue a double-major in Political Science and Economics, but would like to still focus primarily on those two disciplines and adjacent ones, to pursue a focus on understanding, explaining, and studying the global political economy, including foreign economy policy of countries and opportunities as well as tensions that arise from these policies, issues of economic development, and the impact of the economy policies on societies and individuals.

1. Four courses in Economics (Econ 001 plus three additional courses):

a. Econ 001. Introduction to Economics is a prerequisite for other courses in the discipline. We will respect Economics’ decisions on waivers to this prerequisite.
b. Additionally, Econ 11 or Econ 21, and a course that bears directly on some aspect of global political economy.
c. If you have trouble taking Econ 11 and 21, please discuss with the Coordinators in a timely manner. The student is, nonetheless, required to take 3 Econ courses in addition to Econ 001.

2. Stat011. Statistical Methods - or higher (Stat021 or Stat041, if the student has met the departmental prerequisites).

a. Please note that Econ 31 also fulfills the Statistics requirement, i.e. if you have taken Econ 31, you don’t need to take Stat 011.

GLBL-eligible courses that fit the theme well include (but are not limited to): ANTH003G: FYS: Development and Its Discontents; ECON54: Global Capitalism Since 1920; ECON81: Economic Development; ECON151: International Economics; HIST36: Fascinating Fascism; HIST143: Political Economy of the Middle East: Theory & History; POLS47: Ethics and Economics; POLS66: International Political Economy.

3. Global Studies Special Major in Global Politics & Policies

This theme is ideal for students who wish to study politics, but with a particular emphasis on interactions between states (i.e. international relations) and between transnational non-state actors and states, and on global social movements and human rights. The students are encouraged to develop both a historical as well as a contemporary understanding of global politics.

GLBL-eligible courses that fit the theme well include (but are not limited to): ANCH31: The Greeks and the Persian Empire or ANCH 42: Democracy and Its Challenges: Athens in the 5th-Century; HIST3A: Modern Europe: 1789-1918…; EDU64: Comparative Education; POLS50: International Relations of East Asia; POLS4: Introduction to International Relations; POLS3: Politics Across the World; POLS61: American Foreign Policy; HIST003A: Modern Europe: 1789-1918…; POLS81: Global Environmental Governance; POLS37: Contemporary Political Philosophy; SOCIO48K: Political Sociology: The Mafia and the State.

1. Additional requirements: Econ 001. Introduction to Economics, though we highly recommend at least three courses in Economics.

2. Stat 011.a. Please note that Econ 31 also fulfills the Statistics requirement, i.e. if you have taken Econ 31, you don’t need to take Stat 011.

4. Global Studies Special Major in Global Histories, Cultures, Arts

This theme is ideal for students who wish to understand the interconnected nature of the histories and cultures of the world: ancient, early modern and postcolonial global contacts, historical and contemporary understandings of the entanglement of visual/linguistic/literary cultures in empire through decolonization.

GLBL-eligible courses that fit the theme well include (but are not limited to): ANCH28: Ancient Egypt or ANCH44 The Early Roman Empire; ARAB23: Identity and Culture in Arabic Cinema; ARTH72: Global History of Architecture: Prehistory-1750 or ARTH94 Transnational Modernisms (1850s-contemporary); BLST33: African Cinemas; ENG72 Global Modernisms; FMST50: What on Earth is World Cinema; FREN113: Re-Contons l’histoire: Postcolonialité et fictions d’écriture françaises; HIST60: The East India Company, 1600-1857; LING25 Sociolinguistics: Language, Culture, and Society; LITR18FJ: Manga, Bande-Dessinée, and the Graphic Novel: A Transnational Study of Graphic Fictions; LITR52S: Afro-Caribbean Literature and Visual Culture; MUSI5A: Music and Dance Cultures of the World or MUSI31: Music and Culture in East Asia.

5. Global Studies Special Major in Human Mobilities, Migrations, Diasporas

This theme is ideal for students who wish to understand the history, politics and rights behind the movement of people and diasporas, and the forces (political, climatic, economic, etc.) that give rise to displacements across the globe, as well as the literary and visual expression of this movement. This theme can explicitly bridge scientific, social scientific and humanistic approaches to analyzing movement across the globe.

GLBL-eligible courses that fit the theme well include (but are not limited to): BIOL34: Ecology or BIOL137: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning or BIOL009: Our Food; DANC25A: Dance and Diaspora; JPNS73: Transnational Japanese Literature: Diversity and Diaspora in Modern Japanese Literature; PHIL51: Human Rights and Atrocities; POLS4: Introduction to International Relations; POLS3: Politics Across the World; POLS31: Borders and Migration; RELG34: Partitions: Religions, Politics, and Gender in South Asia Through the Novel; SOCI35D Transnational Migration or SOCI35E Immigration, Race, and the Law; SPAN60: Memoria e identidad or SPAN87: Cruzando fronteras: migración y neoliberalismo en el cine mexicano.

Global Studies Courses

Currently offered courses relevant to the program include the following:

Note: The student is responsible for knowing and meeting any of the prerequisites associated with the following courses. In all cases, the student’s acceptance into these courses is up to the Instructor and not the Global Studies Program coordinators.