INTST 202 Cultural Encounters & Tensions • 5 Cr.
Deals with the contemporary world from a cultural standpoint. Students examine problems of intercultural relations with particular emphasis on divergent "world views."
After completing this class, students should be able to:
- A number of strategies for studying other cultures. They will learn to see the difference between "explaining" and "understanding." They will learn how explanations of social phenomena can be functional, historical, cultural materialist, or reductionist.
- The contrast between society scientific and hermeneutic approaches to cultural realities. They will learn to reflect on what an interpretation involves and what "thick description" is.
- The contributions of Karl Marx and Max Weber to international studies and how various theoretical models inform all research. They will become aware of how these models can help them to comprehend the major historical transformations in technology, social organization, and world view.
- The major events that shaped the modern world--how geographic, political, economic, religious developments produced the situation in Europe in 1500 that initiated modernity.
- The major historical events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that form the background for the current world intercultural situation.
- The "world system" approach to explicate the political and economic situation of interdependence and tension among modern nations.
- The anthropological perspective of viewing other cultures as systems of meaning, social organization, and modes of survival.
- Some concrete examples of the dynamics of class, race, and ethnicity in complex societies.
- The nature of intercultural encounter as seen in the context of current African and Latin American case studies.
- The complex interaction between Islam and the West. They will come to understand the historical roots of Islam, its expansion, the Crusades, the Ottoman Empire, the eras of European expansion into the Middle East and the current situation mutual cultural misperceptions.