Spring 2025 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

POLS 462 Globalization, Sustainability, and Justice

Overview of Course

The term “globalization” in political science terms commonly refers to the formation of a neo-liberal international economy. Expectations that globalization would harmonize regulations and bring democratic norms worldwide have been significantly tested and challenged. Examples include child labor laws, occupational health and safety regulations, anti-discrimination laws, and some environmental regulations. Additionally, the logic of neoliberal capitalism, absent interventions, is to concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands, thus exacerbating inequalities rooted in a history of stratification and marginalization based on colonialism, ethnicity, race, class, and gender.

This course will critically analyze the relationship between globalization, sustainability, and justice. We will focus our analysis on the growing disparity between those who have access to clean and safe resources versus those who increasingly do not, and the disproportionate burden of pollution and the impacts of climate change and associated health problems disadvantaged populations bear. In doing so we will analyze the role of the West, and Western multinational corporations, in exacerbating the challenges faced in the so-called Global South. We will look at how these impacts have affected the countries we visit during our Spring 2025 SAS voyage and what these countries have (or have not) done to address these impacts.