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Globalization and the Future of Politics

Course Overview:

The series of processes commonly referred of “globalization” have been heralded as the future of politics for the past quarter century.  Globalization has been said to bring in prosperity, connectivity, inequality, and despair.   This course will take a critical view of how globalization has affected world politics and uses this as a baseline to look forward into the future.  It will be split up into two sections.  First we will look at the nature of the state and the way in which the processes that comprise globalization affect the nation-state, the dominant order of modern international relations.  Second, we will spend some time using these theories as a springboard to imagine the future and its effect on the present.  This course will culminate in students writing a 15-20 page paper that imagines a future based on course theories.  This is not a course designed to give students a series of fact about globalization but instead to ask them critical questions and allow them to come to their own answers on this topic.

Some of these questions will be:
•    What is the state? How important is it to politics in the early 21st century?
•    What is Globalization? Does globalization threaten the state? How?
•    What might this mean for politics in the 21st century and beyond?
•    How do/should we think about the future?
•    How important is the future in acting in the present?
•    Is “globalization” a useful way to imagine the future?

The major goals of this course are:

1.    Construct, recognize, and evaluate arguments about aspects of globalization and the future and form your own viewpoints on critical issues.
2.    Display a basic literacy in the conceptual and theoretical language used by those who study and deal with these issues, especially by linking specific arguments to broader traditions of thought.
3.    Engage opposing points of view in a rigorous but respectful way, which means disagreeing about matters of substance rather than matters of taste, looking for commonly-held facts and principles, and acknowledging the limits of argument alone to resolve all significant differences.

The course will be split up into two sections.  The first will be the “Substantive” part of this course.  Here we will look briefly at the state and then at a series of different processes that are a part of what might be called globalization and how they affect the state.  In the second part of the course we will look at some visions of the future from prognosticators and policy wonks as well as fictional representations.  Here we will concentrate on these visions as a “playground” not only for evaluating visions of the future but also for testing out the theories we discussion in the first section of the course.

Some knowledge of history, current events, and digital technology is necessary to do well; however, this course is not about science, policy, or current events, but instead about politics. The purpose is both to use the future as a way to examine and wrestle with thorny questions that will help us to get a better handle on our current situation.


Plagiarism is a serious offense at UMD, and can be ground for dismissal from the university. Plagiarism constitutes knowingly misrepresenting someone else’s work as your own. This does not just apply to things like buying a paper off the internet; knowingly appropriating another author’s quotes or ideas can also qualify as plagiarism. The University’s plagiarism policy can be found on the web site of the Office of Student Conduct at: http://www.inform.umd.edu/jpo/ . Please familiarize yourself with this policy, and ask any questions you may have in advance of submitting your work. Professors are required to bring all cases of suspected plagiarism to the attention of the OSC. Penalties include automatic course failure and an explanatory note on the student’s transcript indicating that he or she has violated the rules of academic integrity.


The grade breakdown is as follows:
25% Discussion Platforms
25% Classroom Participation
20% Midterm Essays
30% Research Paper

Discussion Platforms: 25%

You will be setting up an online platform with 5 other students (ideally) on which you will be posting relevant newspaper articles, blogs posts, studies, government press releases or documents, pictures, paintings, books (fiction and non), movies, etc. that relate to what has been discussed in class.  You will be rotating with members of your blog so that you should be doing a post roughly every two weeks as assigned for a total of 5 posts. Recommended platforms for this assignment include blogger, wordpress, and weebly.  Please do not choose a platform in which you (or I) are required to becoming ‘friends’ with each other (i.e. no Facebook please).

Each post should include a link (you may have a picture act as a link if so desired) to the article/book/picture of choice.  Please summarize succinctly and then place in the larger context of class (1-2 paragraphs tops).  You are encouraged to be creative here.  You may mention something from another course or topic entirely so long as it relates in some way to that week’s material.  Think of “relation” in the broadest sense.  Items may relate to course material in the following ways: similar topic, similar concept/different topic, aesthetically, pop culture representation of course material, theoretical discussion, and many more.  If you have questions, feel free to ask.

You are also expected to comment on other’s posts and respond to comments on your own posts. The minimum is to comment on each post on your blog. Your grade will be determined by the quality of your posts as well as your comments.  After everyone’s third post, you will receive a ‘progress grade’, at the end of the course you will receive a final grade.

Please find the posting schedule below:

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