theory

Neoliberalism- a lecture for a Global Studies theory class

This will be the last lecture that I post for a Global Studies class. As with all the earlier materials, please feel free to adapt and use in your classes any way that is helpful. One free documentary that I think would work well to accompany this lecture would be the Spider’s Web.

Shawn Smallman

Feminism, a lecture for a Global Studies theory class

If you’ve been following this chain of blog posts, I’ve been sharing the class materials I created for a Global Studies theory class. I no longer teach it and I wanted these materials to be useful to others. Please feel free to take, use and adapt. Like all my lectures, I would have liked to have updated this piece if I were to teach it again. But I hope that there may be some passages or ideas here that may be useful still.

Shawn Smallman

Green Theory, a lecture for a Global Studies theory class

If you’ve been following the series of blog posts, over the last two weeks I have been posting course content from my Global Studies Theory course. Please feel free to use, adapt and make it your own. In this lecture, I focused on India’s Chipko movement to talk about Green Theory. I feel that this lecture (and my feminism lecture) are not as strong as the others, but I hope that there may be some material here that you find useful.

Shawn Smallman

Classical Liberalism, a lecture for a Global Studies theory class

This month I am posting some syllabi, assignments, rubrics and lectures for my theory class in Global Studies. Please feel free to take, use and adapt for your own classes.

Shawn Smallman

Critical Theory- a lecture for a global studies theory class

This month I am sharing lectures, assignments, rubrics and syllabi for a Global Studies theory class. Please feel free to take, adapt and use this material in your own classes.

Shawn Smallman

NeoMarxism: a lecture for a Global Studies theory class

This month I am sharing syllabi, lectures and assignments for a global studies theory class. Please feel free to take, adapt and use as you see fit in your classes. Please note that this lecture is now several years old, so examples and figures will need updating.

Shawn Smallman

Postcolonialism- a lecture for a Global Studies Theory class

This month I am sharing lectures, assignments and syllabi for a Global Studies theory class. Here is a lecture on postcolonialism that you are free to take, adapt, and use for your own classes. As you’ll see, some of these lectures may have references to my own experiences or location, so please edit them as needed. Please click on page 2 below to view the syllabus. Good luck with your class!

Shawn Smallman

Classical Marxism lecture for a Theory class in INTL

This month I am sharing some of my syllabi, lectures, and assignments for a “Global Studies Theory” class. Today I am sharing the lecture on Classical Marxism. Please feel free to use and adapt this for your own classes.

Shawn Smallman

Action Research: a class competition

This month I am sharing some of my syllabi, assignments, rubrics, and class lectures for my “Introduction to Global Studies Theory” class, which in my department was called “Foundations of Global Studies.” In my face to face and hybrid class alike I liked to use small group work during class. Of all these assignments, none was more popular with my students than this competition. I would frame the competition with a brief lecture (5-10 minutes) on action research. Then I would break the class into small groups, and have each group present their groups’ proposal for an action research project.

Action Research

  • I want to briefly discuss action research
  • A field that dates back to the 1930s, and has roots in education, as well as anthropology, health and women’s studies
  • Action based research blurs the lines between scholar and subject, because the people studied become part of the research process
  • One of the goals is to empower them
  • The approach hopes that people in the community studied will better understand their problems at the end of the process
  • In that sense, an emancipatory theory, that aims to free people to think critically about their world
  • Sounds abstract: let me give you a concrete example
  • Work mapping in Arctic communities: includes members of the communities
  • Map rolled out on the floor: elder note sacred sites, burial grounds, trap lines, the movement of animals
  • Creates a product for their use
  • The goal is not to be a dispassionate observer
  • It is to produce something of use to the community
  • The focus is on practical outcomes related to the actual lives of the people studied
  • The theorizing tends to be small scale and often has the goal of creating positive social change
  • One of the goals is to democratize knowledge production and use
  • Very different perspective than the behavioralist ideal of the dispassionate observer off to the side
  • Instead, the action researcher is a facilitator, who brings the community together
  • This is a collaborative approach to research
  • Designed to be accessible and understood by the very people that it studies, so as to empower them

Core Idea:

  • At the core is the idea of action
  • Knowledge is not created solely for its own value
  • Instead, it is designed to be used
  • This school draws heavily in theoretical writing in education, in particular the work of Paulo Freire
  • The hope is that not only will the research prove useful, but also that people will develop the skills to study their own problems and be empowered.
  • For this reason, action research is designed to take into account the communities’ culture, emotional lives, and other influences
  • The researcher is a participant in the process of learning with the community
  • The research is then shared with the community
  • This is very important in action research
  • Research that is not shared has no value
  • There is a clear social or political value to research in this perspective
  • It hopes to create research to help solve a particular problem
  • Very attractive in fields such as public health that work with communities
  • Challenges older constructs of the social sciences

Small Group Work, Action Research:

  • Break into groups of four or five people. Appoint one person to be the action researcher. It is this person’s job to interview the group to learn what the key concerns facing university students are at our institution. Then with the group, this person is to come up with an action research plan that could be used to further study these problems. Remember: you have to include the community in your plan for research process. We’re going to report out on the findings from each of the groups, and the class is going to judge if these sound like good plans for action research. 
  • Which of these plans did you like the best? Why?

Case Study assignment and rubric for a Global Studies Theory class

Yesterday I shared a syllabus for a hybrid global studies class. Today I wanted to share a rubric that I adapted for a case study project in this theory class. The assignment itself is quite easy to summarize: “Case Study: The student will write an eight to ten page paper, which will briefly apply two (or more) theories to the same global issue, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each. The paper will be uploaded into Assignments by 5pm on Monday of exam week: 25% of final grade.”

The goal of this project was to have students reflect on how to apply more than one theory to a particular situation. In this way, I hoped that they might begin to realize that theories can be like tools in a tool box. It’s useful to try more than one approach to understand a situation, and to evaluate their respective strengths and weaknesses.

One challenge with this assignment is that students might be tempted to use a paper that they have written for another class, perhaps not understanding that it is possible to self-plagiarize. This happened. In order to avoid this, I would carefully explain that this is not permitted, but more importantly scaffold the work throughout the quarter; that is, in week four they would share an outline in the discussion board, in week 6 share their first three pages. In this way, not only would students be able to give feedback on each other’s papers, but also you could see they were truly creating the work.

Please note that I didn’t use this assignment in all my theory classes, including the hybrid class for which I shared the syllabus yesterday, in which I instead used a slideshow project. Although the content is mine, I don’t know who created the original rubric framework (especially the grading key) that I adapted. It had passed through too many hands by the time it reached me. If anyone knows, please contact me and I will give them credit.

Case Study Rubric

Student Name: _______________________________________________

Content Writing and Organization Originality and Insight 
Excellent
The writer demonstrates a mastery of both the theory and the specific case. The student clearly explains the strengths and the weakness of the theories. Their work is based on excellent research with well-chosen articles. The writer supports their arguments with specific detail.
Excellent
The essay is well-organized, flows logically, and has an introductory and concluding paragraph. The paper is free from grammar and spelling mistakes.
Excellent
The essay is original and demonstrates insight. The student has a number of new ideas or arguments. The essay’s creativity leads the reader take a fresh perspective on issues.
Good
The writer has demonstrated sufficient understanding of the theory and the specific case. There is adequate research. The writer uses specific examples and detail to support their argument.
Good
The essay is well organized and flows logically, but lacks a clear beginning or conclusion. The organization could have been tighter, although their argument is clear. There are few grammar and spelling mistakes.
Good
The essay shows insight or creativity.
Sufficient
The writer generally shows their understanding of the theory and specific case, although at times they could have used more detail and demonstrated a great mastery of the material. They could have more clearly described the strengths and weaknesses of the theories.
Sufficient
The essay has some organization, but sometimes jumps from one topic to the next. There is no clear beginning or conclusion. There are frequent grammar or spelling mistakes.
Sufficient
While the essay has some originality and insight, it is not highly creative and has only occasional insights.
Needs Improvement
The essay has does not convincingly demonstrate the student’s mastery of the theory and specific case. Key detail is sometimes omitted, or there are errors in their discussion of theory.
Needs Improvement
The essay sometimes rambles. The transition from one section to the next is not always clear, or the argument does not flow well. The essay lacks an introduction or conclusion. There are significant grammar and spelling mistakes.
Needs Improvement
The essay has few examples of original arguments or insight. The essay does not demonstrate thoughtful reflection.
Weak
The essay fails to demonstrate the students understanding of either the theory involved, or the specific case. The paper lacks critical supporting detail, or the research was insufficient. 
Weak
The essay lacks organization, and jumps from one topic to the next without any coherence. The essay is either too brief to adequately cover the topic, or too disorganized. The grammar and spelling mistakes are so significant that they detract from the argument.
Weak
The paper lacks original thought or new ideas. There is little or no evidence of reflection or fresh insight.
Grading: A = All excellent A- = Mostly excellent B/B+ = Mostly Good C+/B- = Good with some sufficient C or below = Mostly Sufficient to Needs Improvement D or below= Mostly Weak or Needs Improvement

Remember: students may not use material from another paper that they have written.

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