Globalization, Social Justice and Human Rights
Global Course Goals
Upon completing this course, students should be able to do the following:
a. Develop and exercise the ability to communicate and act respectfully across linguistic and cultural differences. The ability to discuss these and other topics via technology on a global scale will inevitably influence the direction and results of the discussion and learning. This course recognizes the importance not only of communicating but also of acting respectfully across linguistic and cultural differences. This goal underlies all of the readings, discussions and activities that students will participate in. Students will maintain weekly blogs. The first 3 blogs are geared to understanding Globalization, Human Rights, and Social Justice not only from a local perspective, but also from the perspective of another Country. Student partners from different locations will be assigned to read and respond to at least one different blog entry. These responses will be limited to peers from other country participants. In this way, each student will have written 3 blogs and responded to at least 3 blogs once this set of assignments is complete.
Students may participate in the following activities -Facebook, blogs, service learning, and case studies. Students from 13 Universities -which include universities in Moscow, Mexico, Turkey, Lisbon, and Milan - will participate in these activities. In Facebook students will discuss, in a nongraded forum, the issues and content of the course. More specifics are provided by the course blogs. Blogs 1-3, for example, provide that all students will discuss globalization, social justice, and human rights from the perspective of their own country or region. Students are then asked to choose at least one of these blogs to research and respond to. These response blogs must come from a country not their own. Thus students in the U.S. must respond to one from Moscow, Lisbon, etc. and vice versa. In these first blog exercises students will begin discussions across cultures and languages. While all students will be primarily interacting in English, students will be utilizing Google translator to facilitate conversations across language boundaries. These activities will continue throughout the semester. Students will participate in either a case study or a service learning project. These too will allow students to communicate and actively participate across linguistic and cultural differences by providing a means of doing joint (peer to peer) research, collaboration, and activities. Students will learn to interact and to respect the differences of others. (See syllabus for the details for these activities and assignments.) Finally, students will be actively engaged in a common set of readings which provide for a detailed cross examination of globalization, social justice issues, events, and situations from multiple national, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. Toward this end there will also be a minimum of 4 guest lecturers from the partners. Two of which will come from our international partners.
b. Explore and understand their place and influence in the changing world. The rest of the blogs (750-1,000 words) are designed to assist students in exploring and understanding their place and influence in the changing world. Specifically, students will respond weekly to the current set of readings (about subjects including children and human rights, immigrant rights, ecological and mineral rights, women’s rights and etc.). In these responses students are asked to view these issues at local, national and international levels. Following each response, students are required to also read and critically reflect upon at least one different blog entry. (Note: Students must respond to a blog from a peer from a nation other than their own.) As their own blogs will also be responded to by peers, each student will be provided a mirror by which and through which to understand his or her place and influence in a changing world.
c. Determine and assess relationships among societies, institutions, and systems in terms of reciprocal – though not necessarily symmetrical – interactions, benefits, and costs: This will be accomplished with the help of a common set of readings which discuss the various institutions, national policies, and systems which create and sustain reciprocal and non-reciprocal interactions. As we discuss issues detailing children's, women's, indigenous, and minority rights, child slavery, and mineral rights we will discuss international entities including the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and various country foci. Conducting either a case study or service learning team project will provide students with a means for understanding the dynamics of these processes. Again, student teams from multiple countries will participate in each of these projects, allowing students to determine and access these relationships among and across societies, institutions, and systems. A critical component of this course on Globalization, Social Justice and Human Rights requires students to explore how societies and their institutions interact within reciprocal social systems. For example, students will explore how different national views regarding human rights and social justice directly affect their responses to immigration and labor, minorities and women, children and families. Specifically, one of the major projects that students may choose to participate in would be either a Case Study or a Service Learning Project.
d. Identify and analyze the origins and influences of global forces. At its core this course provides students an opportunity to identify, analyze and understand the origins and influences of global forces. Specifically, through class readings and discussions, students will explore how globalization, human rights and social justice are manifested locally, nationally and nationally. Alternatively, weekly blogs, service learning projects and/or case studies provide both contextual and experiential basis to evaluate these global forces. Students will also have access not only to a variety of material and peers from around the globe and to lectures from faculty from such places as Moscow, Russia, Milan, Italy, Mexico, and Lisbon. Globalization, Social Justice and Human rights, viewed from the multiple lenses, will allow students an opportunity to reflect and learn from multiple perspectives the various processes, systems and structures which serve to create and maintain, transform or distort global forces. The assignments have been designed to maximize interaction, reflection, critical thinking and responsible action on the part of all students. The course is designed to maximize participation, enhance learning, and permit scholarly exchanges between peers from multiple perspectives, groups, nations, cultures, classes, and regions. This course global in structure, takes social justice and human rights perspectives to investigate issues such as rights of women and children, indigenous peoples and migrants, and environmental and mineral rights.
e. Describe the development and construction of differences and similarities among contemporary groups and regions. Three major sets of activities have been designed to help students understand how identities are constructed and develop across different groups, regions and nations. These activities are: 1) Facebook, 2) blogs, 3) service learning, and case studies team projects. The Facebook activities include opportunities for students across all of the Partner Universities to interact, communicate, and relate regarding the course content. This set of activities is non-graded and intended to provide a vehicle for students to get to know each other in a non-curricular environment. It will operate much like the standard Facebook in this regard to provide a social network. The Blogs are a structured set of writings produced by students weekly. These writing projects are intended to allow students to critically reflect upon each specific set of readings. The reflections are not offered in a vacuum. These blog reflections are posted on the common blog space for all students. The first 3 sets of blogs require students to respond to, reflect upon, and demonstrate a fluency in the concepts, theories and experiential components of globalization, social justice and human rights. From this point on, students will write a blog which will require them to continue this process across the weekly readings. The other component of the blog experience is that students are required to respond to the blogs of at least 2 other students. The important things about these response blogs is that students must choose blogs to respond to from peers from a different country. Also, their response must be informed. Thus, if students at Miami University choose to respond to a student from Russia on the issue of human rights, they must read the material provided from the Human Rights Watch for the country of Russia. Consequently, the responses are intended to allow for critical reflection on the differences between what is happening in the U.S. and conditions in Russia. This dialogue will serve enhance intercultural understanding, competencies, and awareness. The final set of activities, the team projects, serve to build upon these two sets of activities by encouraging students to work on a common set of projects across national lines. Students will choose either to do a case study or a service learning project. Briefly, the service learning team project is a set of activities where students will collaborate on a project which will actively combine academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service within select communities. For this class, the communities that the service learning will take place in will be geographically separate, while the activities will be identical. Thus, teams of students at Miami University and those in Lisbon, Portugal who may be interested in child welfare may decide to develop a book drive at their respective universities. Such an activity would include a series of consciousness raising events across the campus. These books might be textbooks that are then bundled and sent to a specific third world country or a local community in the host country. Alternatively, the students choosing to do a case study will utilize the lens of globalization, social justice and human rights to critically explore how these issues impact upon a selected community. Therefore, teams of students at Miami University and those in Lisbon, Portugal who may be interested in children may choose to investigate child welfare to see how these issues differ across nations. For both team projects students will be paired with counterparts from outside of their own country. Specifically, for both team projects, no more than 3 members will come from the host institution while the remaining members will come from a partner institution from a different National Institution. This final set of activities maximizes the accomplishment of the goals identified above.
f. Articulate sophisticated definitions of core concepts of the course such as globalization, human rights, social justice, and sustainability. Specifically, students will articulate a human rights framework for a world changed by corporate globalization, with special attention to indigenous peoples’ conceptualizations of collective rights.
g. Describe how globalization has changed the dynamics of social justice within and between societies.
h. Name and describe concrete examples of globalization, social justice and human rights as they impact specific groups of women, children, immigrants, minorities, and nations.
i. Critically evaluate the role of economic, social, political and cultural institutions in the creation, perpetuation, and alteration of globalization, social justice and human rights for specific identities, including women, children, immigrants, minorities and national identities.
j. Describe various aspects of sustainability as they pertain to human rights issues. Specifically, examine Case Studies or Service Learning as it relates to sustainability.