General Studies 110-R

The Global Experience

Fall 2002


Professor:            Dr. Tom Henricks


Office:                  Sociology and Anthropology House 202

                            309 E. Haggard Avenue

Office:Phone:       278-6446





Course Description


        This seminar, which is required for all first-year students, examines personal responsibility in a global context.  The course explores cultural and natural diversity across the world as well as the possibilities for human communication and cooperation within this diversity.  In addition, the course emphasizes student and faculty creativity through active and collaborative leaning.  Like all GST 110’s, this class is both  reading and writing intensive.                                                  


                                                                                            Course Goals


This course shares with all GST 110s the following objectives.   The topics and activities of the course will be related to these six themes.


·         The importance of individual responsibility

·         The relationship of humans to the natural world

·         Globalization and reculturalization as powerful global forces

·         The impact of imperialism and colonialism

·         The nature of culture

·         The plight of disempowered groups  


This course is one important part of Elon’s General Studies program, a range of courses and experiences that help people become widely educated and thoughtful about all dimensions of their lives.  This wider set of courses attempts to develop a) Leadership habits; b) Abilities - like reading, writing, listening, and speaking - that are fundamental; c) Unity in diversity, i.e., a recognition that all humans are bound together in complicated ways, d) Numeracy, the ability to work with quantitative problem-solving,  e) Critical, connected and creative thinking;  and f) Holistic living, an awareness of the connections between mind-body-spirit in our lives.  These five themes are symbolized by the acronym, LAUNCH, expressing their significance to a person’s entire life course.




                                                                                 Required Texts/Readings


                This class will use a wide variety of resources including speakers, films, Internet sites, and short articles distributed as handouts in class.  In addition, students are required to purchase the following materials:


T. Arcaro and D. McClearn, eds. Understanding the Global Experience. , 2nd ed.  Elon College: Carpe Viam Press (CD-Rom) 2002.  Note: this is a CD, not a book.


C. Turnbull, The Forest People.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962.


K. Bales, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global EconomyBerkeley: University of California Press, 2000.


W. LaFeber, Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism.  New York: Norton, 1999.




Selected Course Topics


As currently planned, the course will move through the following topics:


I.              Why Global Studies?

II.            Studying Culture

III.           Societies in Cross-Cultural Perspective

IV.           Globalization

V.            Global Citizenship


However, the pattern and pace of the course will be adjusted as we go along.



Description of Course Activities


                As indicated in the course description provided above, this seminar will emphasize the inquiries and interpretations of students related to a variety of materials - including books, newspapers, films, public documents, outside speakers, and student presentations.  These experiences and understandings will be shared in a variety of ways.  For his part, the professor will do little traditional lecturing or summarizing of course materials but will introduce issues and materials, help frame discussions, and otherwise guide student work.


                There are many different activities and elements in this class.  Some of these are described below:



                1) Written Responses to Readings, Films, and Speakers.  All GST 110 sections are defined as both reading and writing intensive.  Success in college - and later in life - is greatly facilitated by good reading and writing skills.  These abilities are honed by practice.  In this class, you will be asked to read a wide variety of material  (newspaper stories, novels, public documents, essays, social science articles, etc.).  In addition, you will be asked to “read” a smaller number of films and public speakers.  Our class discussions will explore not only the issues and ideas that these materials and people raise but also the limitations of these ways of presenting information themselves.


                In addition, you will be instructed to write numerous short (1-3 page)  papers or other written assignments.  A few of these may be done as in-class reactions to discussions or assignments.  Most will be assigned in class and turned in the following class day.  A few will require longer periods of study or reflection (e.g., individual research observations or studies).  Papers completed outside of the class are to be typed, double-spaced.  These papers are due on the days assigned.   Late entries will be accepted only at the discretion of the professor and will receive no more than half credit.  


                Some papers will not receive a traditional grade but will  be marked as completed with a check", "check plus", or "check minus”.  Others may receive a 1, 2, 3, 4 or  A,B,C,D,F ranking.  The professor will keep a listing of the total papers completed and a grade will be based on the quality and total of the overall number turned in.


                These papers are assigned to help you read and observe more actively and to help you gather your reflections on course issues.   Furthermore, they will become a focus for our conversations in class.  That is why they need to be completed on the days assigned.



2) Lessons for America: The Comparative Institutions Project.  Each global experience course chooses a special project that allows students to study global issues in depth, to learn research skills, and to present ideas in a public setting.   For our class, we will be studying a variety of countries in depth to understand how their patterns and practices compare with those in the United States.


                We in the United States tend to believe that our ways are superior and that our cultural practices will become spread across the world.  Often this belief in our own superiority is based in profound ignorance of other countries’ patterns.  Furthermore, we commonly think that we will be the “givers” rather than the “receivers” of cultural ideas, values, customs, and products.  We talk and expect others have to listen.


                To help correct these misunderstandings, our class will study the cultural patterns and practices of 6-7 countries.  To do this, we will divide ourselves into teams of  about 4 persons each.  Each team will learn about and describe the practices of their chosen country.  At the end of this study process, we will analyze not only what seem to be basic problems and tensions of those countries  but also what lessons those countries provide for America (as a way of addressing some of our own social tensions and problems).


                Specific institutions or issues that we will address include:

1)     Economy – i.e., how societies provide goods and services for themselves and others

2)     Social Stratification – how societies regulate access of groups to valued resources including wealth, prestige, power, and knowledge

3)     Politics/Law – the creation and enforcement of law

4)     Military – the protection of societies from external threats

5)     Religion – the understanding of ultimate meanings              

6)     Education – the development of skills and knowledge in the young

7)     Family life – how men and women organize themselves for joint living and rearing of children

8)     Health care – the development of ideas of wellness and care of the injured and ill



To address these issues each team will work collectively on and submit four formal papers.  As part of that process, each team will also be prepared to present or otherwise discuss before the class its findings.  The themes of the four papers are as follows:


1) Country Paper with Annotated Bibliography (Tentative due date: Friday, October 25)


This paper will be composed of two parts:  The first part will take  the form of an “annotated bibliography” in which each group will present a range of library and internet sources that are especially useful for the study of your country.  The paper will include description of the kinds and relative usefulness of the information found.  The second part will feature a overview of the  essential characteristics and themes of your country. 


2) Political Economy Paper (Tentative due date: Monday, November 4)


                The second paper will focus on the first four issue-areas listed above – i.e., economics, social stratification, politics/law and the military.  This paper will discuss the ways in which these issues are organized in your chosen country.  In addition, the paper will a) discuss apparent tensions or problems in these practices and b) compare these practices to practices in the US.


3) Social Life and Culture  Paper (Tentative due date: Wednesday, November 13)


                The third paper will discuss the next four institutions – i.e., religion, education, family life, and health care.  As before the paper will describe the patterns, contrast them to patterns in the US, and discuss basic tensions or problems.




4) Lessons for America/Lessons from America Paper (Tentative due date: Monday, November 25)


                The fourth and final paper will describe in more general terms the strengths and weaknesses of your country as perceived by your team.  As part of that process, each team will select and defend four of these strengths of their country as “Lessons for America”.  In addition, they will select and defend their choice of four tensions or difficulties where US ideas or practices might be helpful.


**Note:  Final due dates and more specific descriptions for these papers will be provided as we go along. 


**Also Note: Although teams will receive common grades for the four papers/presentations, the professor will provide ways for students to evaluate one another within this process as well.  That information may be used to raise or lower a student’s grade for this portion of the course.



                3) Exams.  There will be two major exams for the class.  The first will occur about a week before Mid-semester grades are due (test tentatively scheduled for Friday, October 4)the second will be during the final exam period (scheduled date is Monday, December 9 from 8-11AM).  Tests will be based on all shared activities of the class, including materials from class discussions, assigned readings, and any films or collateral material introduced in the class.  The exams will be primarily “essay” and  “identification” in format.   Attendance at both tests is mandatory and may be made-up only at the discretion of the professor and (for final exams) the department chair.  Contact me well in advance regarding any serious schedule conflict in this regard.



                4) Attendance/Class Participation.  The success of this class depends on each individual’s commitment and participation.  This means not only attendance at the various activities and discussions but also active support for the questions and concerns that we will raise.  In addition, you will need to be there to support the work of your conference team and to submit your reaction papers/written responses.  Your level of support for the class will thus receive a grade based on your attendance and my perception of your commitment to what we do.   While you should try to attend every class session, missing more than three times will be considered unacceptable and will severely hurt this portion of your grade.





                Within the context of the information provided above, the final grade for the course will be determined as follows:


                Short topical papers/written reactions             30%

“Lessons for America” project                          20%

                Class participation/attendance                          10%

                First exam                                                              20%

                Final exam                                                              20%



                The grading scale for the course will be as follows:


                93-100 = A             90-92  = A-             87-89  = B+

                83-86  = B               80-82  = B-             77-79=C+

                73-76  = C               70-72  = C-             67-69  = D+

                63-66  = D              60-62  = D-             59 or below = F




Useful GST Resources


                GST Website.  The General Studies program at Elon has created an impressive website that displays important information about various international organizations and countries as well as numerous links to further sources of information.  The URL (address) for that site is:

Once you are there, you need to click on “links” to access the resources pages.


                The Elon University Writing Center.  Writing is a difficult craft and all of us struggle to improve.  At Elon,

the university writing center – located on the first floor of Belk library – offers assistance of all types from trained professionals and  from fellow students for those who wish  to improve their writing.


Pod Lectures and Films


                GST 110 is a “core” course.  That means that each class shares various resources with other sections of the courses and addresses similar themes.  One of the resources that we share is a series of lectures that bring the different sections together.  These lectures occur at three different times – at 8:00AM on Tuesday or Thursday, at 9:20 on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday; and at 1:20 on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.  Space at a Pod lecture has been reserved for our class; however, if you should happen to miss, you may be able to attend at one of the other times.  Times and places for these will be announced.


Academic Citizenship


Elon College is committed to high standards of academic citizenship.  Essentially this means that members of the academic community should conduct themselves in ways that exemplify personal honesty and respect for the rights of others.  Like other forms of academic inquiry, college classes should illustrate the characteristics of open and courteous discourse.  A person must take responsibility for their own work and, when using the work of others, should indicate the nature of that relationship.  If you find that you are unsure what the Elon Honor Code entails, please consult that portion of the Elon College Student Handbook (on-line this year at or look at that portion of the CD-Rom (“Destination Elon”) that was sent to all first-year students.



Important Course Dates



Sept. 1 (Sun.)                        Film: “Mister Johnson” (McCrary Theatre, 3:00)

Sept. 11                                  9/11 Remembrance (class schedule altered)

Sept. 17-19                             Globalization Symposium (Cannon Centre for International Studies)

Oct. 4 (Fri.)                            First Exam

Oct. 7 (Mon.)                        Yorum Lubling (pod lecture)

October 14-15                       Fall Break (no classes)

Oct. 25 (Fri.)                          Country Paper #1 Due

Nov. 4 (Mon.)                       Country Paper #2 Due

Nov. 13 (Wed.)                     Country Paper #3 Due

Nov. 18 (Mon.)                     Anthony Weston (pod lecture)

Nov. 25 (Mon.                      Country paper #4 Due – “Lessons for America”

Nov. 27-29                             Thanksgiving Break (no classes)

Dec. 9 (Mon.)                        Final Exam (8-11 AM )