Oct 06

Strange podcasts to make you afraid

Winter forest by Paige Smallman

Winter forest by Paige Smallman

Every Halloween I explore a suitably spooky topic, from a book about an alleged Canadian haunting, to Japanese books on the supernatural. I’ve also suggested some international ghost stories for Halloween. Still, there is no substitute for hearing spooky tales in audio, so this year I will focus on the best podcasts that cover mythology, mysteries and folklore, all of which have at least some international content. I’ve also included podcasts that take a more skeptical and scholarly look at these issues.

The Night Time podcast covers the strange and the supernatural in Atlantic Canada. This is a relatively new podcast, and it has content that would be difficult to find in detail in other venues. In the first episode the creator of the podcast, Jordan Bonaparte, interviewed his own grandfather about a possible UFO sighting. He then interviewed his own grandmother about the same sighting in a subsequent episode. What I like about the series is that the creator carries out his own research and interviews, on topics such as disappearances, visions and archaeology, usually with a strong Atlantic Canadian flavor. Some of the episodes, such as the “Overton Stone,” shed real light on the region’s history. As an Oak Island skeptic, the interviews regarding that topic intrigued me less. I was glad, therefore, that he also recently did an episode (#21) titled “A Skeptical Look at Oak Island and Bell Island,” which consisted of an interview with Brian Dunning of the podcast Skeptoid.

Some of the best episodes of the Nighttime Podcast have dealt with disappearances, such as strange case of Maura Murray in New Hampshire (episodes 14 and 16), and the three episodes that covered the case of Emma Filipoff (episodes 2, 23 and 24), who vanished from Victoria, British Columbia. As always, Bonaparte interviewed people who were closely involved in the cases. For example, in episode 24, he had a lengthy conversation with one man who had been mentioned in an earlier podcast as a possible suspect in Emma Filipoff’s disappearance. Overall, the Night Time podcast is an original podcast with unique content, which will leave you feeling that you are sitting at a kitchen table in Nova Scotia, while listening to a neighbor tell a favorite story. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/10/halloween-podcasts/

Sep 29

The never ending Syrian Conflict

Max Fisher has an outstanding article on the Syrian Conflict titled “Syria’s Paradox: Why the War Only Ever Seems to Get Worse.” Fisher places the Syrian conflict into the context of other civil wars, and argues that that what makes this conflict distinct is not only the diversity of combatants within Syria, but the extent to which this is a proxy war, which has drawn in a myriad of external actors. In sum, Fisher suggests that all the factors in place suggest that this will be a very long war. While not a cheerful read, the writing is clear, the arguments are succinct, and the implications are disturbing. As I write this, the piece has attracted over 330 comments, and it is well worth reading the “reader recommended” ones. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/09/the-syrian-conflict/

Sep 23

The Beauty of Strange Things Done

My sister, Ellen Wild, has a mystery novel set in the Yukon, which will be released tomorrow. Check out the Dawson Daily, for the latest Yukon news, with a strange twist. And if you are a mystery lover, please watch the trailer for Strange Things Done.

Shawn Smallman, 2016

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/09/strange-things-done-2/

Sep 18

10 tools you need to teach a Global Studies class

For those of you who are about to teach an “Introduction to Global Studies” or “Introduction to International Studies class, here are some resources that will make teaching the class easier:

  1. A syllabus for a face to face class.
  2. An online syllabus for the introductory course.
  3. This map of U.S. security interests is popular with many instructors who want their students to explore how the U.S. government views the world. In the post, I describe a classroom exercise based on the map.
  4. Instructions for a chocolate tasting class activity.
  5. Instructions for a blog review with a rubric.
  6. Recommended Films and Documentaries for International Studies 101
  7. Learning outcomes for International and Global Studies students.
  8. short definition of International and Global Studies. You can find a longer discussion of how to define International and Global Studies at this post. This post discusses the difference between International and Global Studies.
  9. A response paper assignment and rubric for an introductory class.
  10. A link to our textbook, which is a relatively inexpensive book and is now in its second edition. The book has an online instructor’s manual, with resources such as exam questions, chapter resources and activities. It’s also one of the most widely used textbooks in the field.

Lastly, you might want to bookmark this blog, for more teaching tips, resources, book reviews and syllabi.

Shawn Smallman, 2016

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/09/10-resources-to-teach-a-global-studies-intro-class/

Sep 14

10 interview tips you’ll need for academic jobs

I have served on many search committees in International and Global Studies over two decades, and I want to give some tips for academics applying for faculty positions. Some of these points are obvious, but they are easy to forget during the pressure of a job interview:


  1. Do your research, and know all the faculty members’ work before you arrive. This is a sign of respect, and will be very helpful during the dinner meetings.
  2. Before you come to the campus, you should also look at the department’s courses online, and have a good understanding of how the curriculum works. This step will enable you to better explain how you can contribute to the department’s offerings.
  3. When you are giving a talk based on your research, make sure that you convey the relevance of your work for nonspecialists. Many applicants don’t do this, and no matter how theoretically relevant or innovative, you can lose your audience otherwise, even when they are in the same field.
  4. Maintain your energy throughout the interview process. Yes, the search process is exhausting, but the person having coffee with you on the second afternoon should still see you as someone who will be dynamic in the classroom.
  5. Think about how you would teach online. Increasingly departments expect faculty to be willing to do some online teaching, and they often just assume that younger faculty will know how to do this. While you may not have had a chance to work with a class in an online format, spend a little time talking with someone who has, and convey enthusiasm about the opportunity to do so. This may set you apart from the other applicants.
  6. Be flexible in what courses you would be willing to offer. Do not be too modest, and say that it would take you a lot of work to develop a course, or that you’re not sure if you have the expertise. That is not how you wish to present yourself during an interview.
  7. Often candidates will have a lunch meeting with students. Search committees take student input seriously, so treat their questions with respect, and make an effort to engage with everyone. Try to learn student names, and to address students by them, even during a brief meeting. If a student has a question, get their email, and send them some follow-up information.
  8. After you have a campus interview, always send a thank you email to the head of the search committee, as well as the committee members. This conveys enthusiasm for the job, and people will remember it.
  9. Don’t bring up spousal hires, moving expenses, and related issues until you’ve been offered the job. All those questions should be addressed during the negotiations after you’ve been offered the position. Remember, once you have been offered the job the power shifts to you, because departments are very reluctant to move to their second choice.
  10. Never, ever complain about your adviser or your graduate program. You were invited to campus in part based on the strength of that program or that adviser’s reputation, so such complaints undermine you as a candidate. They also may paint you as a difficult person. You’ll have lots of time for this after you get the job.

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/09/academic-jobs-in-international-studies/

Sep 12

The sad human toll of Zika

There was a brief flurry of media coverage regarding Zika after the discovery that it was spreading within Florida last month. Over the last couple of weeks, however, it seems to have receded from the headlines. Some recent coverage, however, really provide a sense of the human toll of Zika. Reveal is a new podcast from the Center for Investigative Reporting, which provides long-form coverage based on work in the field. Their report, “From A to Zika” documents how people in Puerto Rico are experiencing the virus, and attitudes towards the outbreak in South Florida. It also describes the scale of the challenge that officials face fighting the virus during a deep financial crisis in Puerto Rico. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/09/the-human-toll-of-zika/

Sep 05

Have You Ever Thought About Teaching English Overseas?

Guest blog by Rosa David

If you have an undergraduate degree, are a native or native-like English speaker and have the desire to live abroad, there are countless opportunities to make this dream a reality. With the rise of globalization, English has become a lingua franca. The English language plays a leading role in international business, trade, academics and even is the language of the sky (aviation). Because of this growing need for English speakers, the prospect of teaching English is now better than ever. This article will highlight some possible teaching opportunities.

Many people who are thinking about teaching English overseas often choose to get some kind of teaching certification. Although it is not impossible to find a job as an English teacher without any kind of formal training, your chances of finding secure position with better benefits increases when you have some kind of English teaching certification. There are four certifications that you may consider: TESOL, TESL, TEFL and CELTA. These certificates range in cost, instruction, time commitment, location, curriculum, evaluation and job placement assistance. The British Council has written a nice article about the different certificate (http://www.oxfordseminars.com/blog/tesol-tesl-tefl-or-celta-which-is-right-for-you/), though please take into account that the British Council offers the CELTA and therefore paints a better picture of the CELTA. Take the time to think about your personal investment and choose wisely.    Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/09/have-you-ever-thought-about-teaching-english-overseas/

Aug 26

Hate, loss and Neoliberalism

I’ve been teaching a “Foundations of Global Studies Theory” course for a few years. I begin the course with a section on classical and modern liberalism, before moving to neoliberalism, because liberalism is a foundational theory for most issues in Global Studies. What has struck me over the years is how little ideological attraction most students feel towards neoliberalism. Although I have taught the class multiple times, I have only ever had a single student who was an ardent proponent of neoliberalism. They also wrote one of the best papers that I’ve ever received, and are now working in an excellent job in the financial sector. Still, most of my students have an almost visceral distaste for neoliberalism, and this has strengthened over time. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/08/neoliberalisms-decline/

Aug 11

Teaching about the Arab World

After the first edition of our textbook was published in 2011, Kim Brown and I were surprised by how quickly world events required changes to some chapters. For example, when we wrote the first edition, the energy chapter had no mention of fracking. In the space of two years, fracking completely changed energy trends not only within the United States but also globally. In terms of regions, the area in which there has been the greatest change politically and socially over the last fifteen years has been the Arab World, particularly after the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times has a new article, “Fractured Lands: how the Arab World came Apart,” which represents long-form journalism at its best. The work puts the recent political turmoil in the region in a historical context, while using individuals’ stories to convey the experience of nations. It is the kind of writing that takes months of fieldwork to complete, and is all too rare in this age when print journalism is in decline. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/08/the-arab-world/

Aug 09

The art of Strange Things Done

I love mystery novels, and northern mysteries in particular. My sister, Ellen Wild, has a new book Strange Things Done coming out this September. The lead character of the novel is Jo Silver; after a body is found in the Yukon river, she is drawn into a mystery that leads her to fear for her own life. You can hear about the local reaction to the body’s discovery in this brief video. I love the visual look of the website for the book, with the superimposed photos of an old Yukon building and a cemetery. This aesthetic carries through to the trailer for the book, which she filmed in the Yukon. The imagery -the woman’s hair in the river, the ice, Brandy Zdan’s music, the quirky northern bar, the barking dog- create an atmospheric glimpse of a town with secrets. Think a northern Twin Peaks. The book already has won an impressive set of awards:

2015 Unhanged Arthur Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel ― Winner
2014 Telegraph/Harvill Secker Crime Competition ― Shortlisted
2014 Southwest Writers Annual Novel Writing Contest ― Silver Winner
2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award ― Longlisted

You can find preorder the book (in the United States for October 18, 2016 or Canada for September 24, 2016) before “the freeze-up hits and the roads close.”

Shawn Smallman, 2016

Strange Things Done, quote by Ian Hamilton

Permanent link to this article: http://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2016/08/strange-things-done/

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