Spring 2025 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

IE 200 Global Studies

Overview of Course

The field of Global Studies explores transnational patterns of human experience across time and space, drawing on multiple disciplines and ways of knowing. Its aim is to better understand important global forces that structure our lives, shape the future, and demand our attention as we seek a better world.

Our Global Studies course is the common and unifying academic experience for the shipboard community. It is the place where we draw meaning from our time on the water, our varied cultural encounters, our explorations in port, and our inevitable conversations about obligations and opportunities as global citizens. The course provides a connective narrative for the voyage, that will help us weave together multidisciplinary and multicultural themes and experiences. Our collective narrative will be Migration – the movement of species (humans, animals and other organisms) from one habitat to another. Migration is an essential component of all ecosystems. Migration is core to the human experience, and a constant feature of human history. It has been the driver of evolution and adaptation of many species, including humans. Yet migration may also conjure feelings of displacement and can foment conflict. As we ourselves migrate around the world this semester, we will investigate the experiences of migration on the countries and cultures we visit, and the oceans and environments we will travel through. The course is organized into three components with associated learning outcomes:

1. Port Country Discovery. Our port cities, some of the great human settlements of the globe, have served as points of migratory embarkation and disembarkation for centuries. They will be the ‘laboratories’ within which we observe global forces (social and natural) in action, and where we develop skills for comparative thinking and serendipitous insight. Essential information about the geographies, cultures, histories, and current social issues of the places we visit will be covered. Our theme of migration will allow us to explore persistent Afro-Asian migrations, in particular, that date back a millennia. Moving beyond 20th century constructions of nation-states we will use the theme of migration to study Africa in Asia and vice versa.

2. The Blue World. As half of our time on the voyage will be spent sailing the world’s oceans it is essential that we understand what it is that lies “beneath our feet.” Oceans dominate the planet and affect weather and climate, the water cycle, human navigation, and most of the basic resources that support human life on earth. Oceans are changing rapidly and globally, and with sea temperatures recently reaching the highest levels in history and continuing to rise humans face a multitude of serious challenges. As we traverse three oceans and several seas on our voyage together, we will learn about global oceanic properties and processes, and in connection to our Global Studies theme of migration, we will study the local and global movement of species as a basic survival strategy for sustaining life in the ocean.

3. Intercultural Competence. Interaction among people embedded within a wide variety of cultural norms is rapidly increasing as a result of migration and mobility of people around the world. Our class sessions, port encounters and post-port reflections will serve as opportunities to hone personally valuable and professionally transferable skills of intercultural observation, communication and interaction. Each port will pose a way or ways in which intercultural interaction may be approached, influenced by its unique patterns of migration. By the voyage’s end, we will be able to generalize across these ways to better understand the fundamentals of intercultural connection, both positive and negative, within increasingly globalized societies significantly shaped by patterns of migration.