New syllabus for a hybrid Global Studies theory class

I’ve been teaching my courses as web-infused classes for some time, which means that I put key materials on-line: the syllabus, key terms for every class, a lecture outline, rubrics and readings. I’ve also used an online “dropbox” for students to submit their work. I’ve found that students really appreciate being able to read the lecture outline before class, and that they are more likely to read their papers if I give them feedback on-line. I appreciate that the system allows students to track their grades, so I no longer get the question, “Can you tell me what my grade is now?” And I never have to worry about losing a paper that a student has submitted.

I made the jump this quarter to teaching a hybrid class, which meets one day a week, and has the rest of the content on-line. I’ve used the library data-base for streaming video, and put links into the syllabus for the permanent URL’s for articles in the library system. You won’t be able to use most links if you click on the syllabus, because students need to log into the library. But I thought people might be interested in looking at the syllabus for the class, which has evolved considerably since I posted an earlier iteration on this site.

So far, what I’ve most enjoyed have been the on-line discussions. Because the students have time to think, the answers tend to be quite thoughtful. I also know that I am hearing from voices that wouldn’t be included in other class discussions, when many people sit and listen. Of course, there are challenges too. I’ve used the discussion posts to cover material covered that week in class, while the quiz is on next week’s reading. But I failed to make this format clear enough in class, so some students came to the first quiz and were shocked that it covered the material for the next week. My hope is that since the class keeps the same format throughout, that this will be clear from now on. I’ve also had to deal with several e-mails today, with students not able to make a link work, or who were having trouble accessing the system. But I think that will die down. But there have also been good surprises. For the weekly quiz, I ask for a short answer (one to three paragraphs) on a question related to the reading. The answers were very well done overall, and make me anticipate the remaining nine weeks. I’m planning on “flipping” the class, and having most of the content on-line and a much more active classroom, with a lot of small group work.

I started the class by dividing the students into small groups (three to five students) and giving them two tasks. First of all, I gave them a sheet with four theories on it (Marxism, Neoliberalism, Postcolonialism, Critical Theory). Students were to attempt to define each of these sentences. I like this assignment because it serves as an ice-breaker. We then shared the answers with the class.  Predictably, three of the theories had definitions, but nobody was able to give a clear definition of critical theory, which is surprising because this often emerges as the theory body that most interests students later.

For the second activity, I first gave the students a fifteen minute lecture on Action Research theory, which emerged out of education, and has become important in fields as diverse as women’s studies and public health. Some key principles of Action Research is that it should involve the community being studied, that people should be empowered through the process of research, and that the end product of the work should be immediately useful.  I then divide the students into their groups again, and give them fifteen minutes to come up with an Action Research proposal for an issue affecting students at our university. At the end of that time, they have to do a three minute presentation to the class on their proposal. The class as a whole then votes on the best presentation. I’m always impressed by how good the proposals are. And it provides a means to begin discussing questions about methodology and epistemology, such as is it necessary for a social science researcher to be truly objective? This week, students will again break into small groups to come up with a classical social science proposal.

I’m including a copy of the syllabus below, and hope those of you who are teaching are having a good start to the academic year.

INTL 390

Theoretical Foundations of Global Studies

Monday, 10-11:50am

Cramer Hall 221


Prof. Shawn Smallman

Rm. 345, East Hall

Phone: 503-725-XXXX


Office Hours: Tuesday, 9-11am.


Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the leading schools of thought in Global and International Studies, from foundational theories to contemporary post-structuralism. The course will also use case studies, so that students may see how different theoretical frameworks may be applied to the same global issue.

Hybrid Course: This is a “hybrid” course, meaning that instruction is made up of both weekly face-to-face classroom time and online activities. To access D2L, go to the To login, enter your odin ID and your odin password. If you do not have an odin account, or are not sure what your odin ID or password is, go to or contact the Information Technology Help Desk at or 725-HELP.All assignments will be submitted in the Dropbox feature of D2L. Please e-mail the faculty member directly rather than through D2L.

Learning Outcomes: The students in the course will:

1.    Gain an understanding of a number of key ideas and theoretical approaches for analyzing and interpreting global social and cultural realities.

2.    Learn to analyze and evaluate competing theories.

3.    Apply one or more of these theoretical frameworks to analyze a concrete problem or case.


Basis for Grade:

Reading and Video Quizzes (40% of the final grade): Students will complete brief reading quizzes on D2L throughout the term as indicated on the syllabus. Quizzes will cover readings and other online materials and will help students prepare for class discussions. Quizzes should be completed no later than 5pm on Sunday each week so that the instructor can review student reflections on the reading before class. The lowest quiz score will be dropped.

On-line Discussion (30% of the final grade): Following class each week, I will post some questions on the discussion board. These questions will follow up on our in class discussion and look ahead to the next week’s topic. Students will be asked to reply to at least one of my questions and to reply to at least one of their peer’s comments. Participation in online discussion will be graded as a participation grade. Questions will be posted each week by noon on Tuesday. Students should respond to the instructor by Wednesday at 9 pm, and respond to a peer comment by Friday at midnight.

Response Paper (30% of the final grade): The students will write a response to a question given on the last class, which will ask them to integrate material from the readings, lecture, and videos. The paper will be uploaded onto Dropbox in D2L by 11:59 pm on Monday, December 9th.


There is only one book assigned for the class: Kwame Appiah, Cosmopolitanism

**Note: other reading will be assigned from websites listed in the syllabus or for articles available in the course-site in D2L.


Late policy: late assignments, posts or quizzes will be penalized (except in case of verifiable illness or family emergency) three percent a day for each day that they are late (including weekends) up to a maximum of thirty percent of the final grade. Please be certain to check that when you submit your response paper into Dropbox that you receive a confirmation e-mail.


Plagiarism is the submission of another person’s work as your own.  It is also a serious academic crime.  Any instance of plagiarism will result in an automatic “O” for that assignment.  You may also not submit work in this course that you also use in another course, which also constitutes plagiarism.

Disability: Any student who has a disability that may require some special arrangements in order to fulfill the course requirements should contact the Disability Resource Center at the start of the course to make appropriate arrangements. The DRC is located in 116 Smith Memorial Student Union, and their phone number is (503) 725-4150.

Topics: True academic inquiry must follow its own course. For this reason, there may be changes and additions to the schedule that follows.

Week One, Introduction and Purpose of Theory

Class meets: Monday, September 30th.

Quiz: The first quiz will cover the readings and video for week two, and will be due by 5pm on Sunday, October 6th.

Reading and video: PDF available in D2L on social science methodology.

Watch the following video, which is available in “Films on Demand” in the library’s “Streaming Video” database at this stable URL:

Note: When you access this database off campus you will have to log-in with your ODIN name and password. If the log-in box doesn’t show up, check to see if you have a pop-up blocker active.


Week Two: Classical and Modern Liberalism


Class meets: Monday, October 7th

Quiz: the second quiz will cover the reading and video for week three, and must be completed on-line by 5pm on Sunday, October 13th.

Reading and Video:

PDF online on classical liberalism.

Adam Smith, “On the Division of Labor,” “Of the Principle which Gives Occasion to the Division of Labor,” “Agriculture” and “Taxes Upon Profit, or Upon the Revenue arising from Stock,” An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations, The Modern Library, New York, 1937, pp. 3-16, 650-652, 798-801.

Video: “Theory in Action: Liberalism”

Week Three: Neoliberalism


The class meets Monday, October 14th.

Quiz: the quiz will cover the reading and video for week four, and must be done by 5pm on Sunday, October 20th.

Readings and videos:


Watch the following case study: Argentina’s Collapse in 2002: a Neoliberal failure? (Wide Angle Film, PBS: the Empty ATM). Available in “Films on Demand” in the library’s “Streaming Video” database at this stable URL:

It is also available at the following website:


F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom – Abridged version for Reader’s Digest, April 1945. Available at Last accessed April 9, 2013.

Milton Friedman, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits,” New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970. Available at Last accessed April 9, 2013.

Week Four: Classical Marxism and Neo-Marxism


The class meets Monday, October 21st.

Quiz: the week four quiz will cover the material for week five, and must by done by 5pm on Sunday, October 27th.

Reading and videos: watch “Heaven on Earth: From Harmony to Revolution” PBS documentary. Stable URL at the Library’s “Films for the Humanities” page:


Sue Collins, “`E ticket to Nike Town,” Counterblast: e-Journal of Culture and Communication, 1:1 (November 2011):

Karl Marx, “So Called Primitive Accumulation,” Capital, Vol. I, Part 8, Chapters 26-33, Vintage Books, New York, 1977, pp. 873-940. Also available at Look at the bottom for links to later chapters. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Week Five: Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School


The class meets on Monday, October 28th

Quiz: the week five quiz covers the reading and video for week six, and must be done by 5pm on Sunday, November 3rd.

Reading: Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” Dialectic of Enlightenment, 1944. Available at Last accessed April 22, 2013.

Herbert Marcuse, “The New Forms of Control,” One Dimensional Man, 1964. Available at Last accessed April 22, 2013.

Week Six, Postcolonialism


Class meets on November 4th

Quiz: the week six quiz covers the reading for week seven, and must be done by 5pm on Sunday, November 10th.

Jean Paul Sartre, “Preface,” in Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth, 1961. Available at Last accessed April 22, 2013.

Frantz Fanon, “Conclusion,” Wretched of the Earth, 1961. Available at Last accessed on April 22, 2013.

Harald Fischer-Tiné, “Post-Colonial Studies,” European History Online, available at Last accessed April 29, 2013.

Video on Edward Said. Please watch parts one and two:


Week Seven: Feminist Theory.


There will be no class on November 11th; all work this week will be on-line.


Quiz: the week seven quiz covers the reading and video for week eight, and must be done by 5pm on Sunday, November 17th.

Reading and Video:

Simone de Beauvoir, “The Second Sex 25 years later – Interview,” 1976. Available at Last accessed April 22, 2013.

Chandra T. Mohanty, 1988, “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses,” Feminist Review, No. 30, Autumn, pp. 61-88. Available as a stable URL in the PSU library at: Remember, you will have to sign into the library database.

One brief interviews with a feminist scholar of International Relations.


Video: Amy Goodman interview of Selma James on Democracy Now. Watch from start to minute 45. Available at  Last accessed May 15, 2013.

Week Eight: Green Theory

Class session on November 18th

Quiz: the week eight quiz covers the reading and video for week nine, and must be done by 5pm on Sunday, November 24th.

Reading and Video:

Garrett Hardin, “Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, 1968:

Thomas Friedman, “No Drill, Baby, Drill,” NYT, 2009:

Robert J. Smith, “Resolving the Tragedy of the Commons by Creating Private Property Rights in Wildlife,” CATO Institute,

Dipesh Chakrabarty: “Postcolonial Studies and the Challenge of Climate Change” New Literary History Vol. 43:1 (Winter 2012), 1-18. Available both in D2L, and at the following Stable URL:

Video: Wide Angle, PBS: “the Burning Season.” Free market solutions to global warming.

Stable URL (you will have to sign into the library):


Week Nine: Development and Cosmopolitanism

The class session will be on Monday, November 25th.

Quiz: the week nine quiz covers the reading and video for week ten, and must be done by 5pm on Sunday, December 1st.

Reading and Video:

Kwame Appiah, Cosmopolitanism

Appiah on difference:

Modernization and Dependency Theory; Hans Rosling’s TED talk: “Let my Data Set Change your Mindset.” This talk is available on-line at Ted Talks:

There is also a stable URL in the library database (you will have to sign in):


Week Ten: International Relations Theory and Security

The class session will be on Monday, December 2nd.

Quiz: the week ten quiz covers final material for the course. It must be done by Sunday, December 8th by 5pm.

Reading and Video:

PDF on Human Security.


Watch the following Youtube videos:

“Think for a moment about Human Security,”


“Professor Mary Kaldor on Human Security and Global Governance,” at


“Theory in Action: Realism” at


Response Paper: this assignment will be uploaded onto Dropbox in D2L by 11:59pm on Monday, December 9th.


2 thoughts on “New syllabus for a hybrid Global Studies theory class”

  1. Pingback: New Trends in Global Education | Intro to Global Studies

  2. Pingback: Introduction to International Studies Syllabus | Intro to Global Studies

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