Global Studies at St. Lawrence
The first day of the second semester of my first year, I sat in Richardson Hall awaiting my professor to teach Global Studies 101: Global Political Economy. Little did I know this class would change my academic path for the better at SLU. Before taking Global Studies 101, I had never considered being a global studies major; I had taken the class to fulfill one of my distribution requirements. But after meeting the professor who taught the class, Dr. John Collins, and learning of the complexities of the global world around me, I knew that this class was right for me. I enjoyed my time in the class so much that I ended up declaring global studies as my major a whole year before students are expected to.
The global studies major at St. Lawrence is an interdisciplinary major. The courses teach the students to explore their social locations and question the world around them. With professors in the department from backgrounds in anthropology, economics, and government, global studies is one of the most rewarding and challenging areas of study.
Dr. Sandhya Ganapathy, visiting assistant professor of Global Studies, said, “My favorite thing about being a global studies faculty member at St. Lawrence is first and foremost my students, followed closely by the breadth, depth and dynamism of our class discussions. As an interdisciplinary department, we work collaboratively with students and faculty to explore and answer pressing questions of both personal and societal significance. Topics include things like current debates over migration, competing and cross-cultural definitions of mental illness, the globalization of fashion forms and hidden costs of our fashion industry, as well as confronting the ways race, gender, class and sexuality shape individual students’ experiences on campus. These discussions can be challenging and are sometimes difficult to facilitate, but they are so rewarding and frankly the best part of my job.”
Hana Bushara ’21 says, “As a global studies major, one of the most useful things I learned in my 101 class: Political Economy, was understanding that global studies is largely the study of who gets what, when, where, why and how. This opened my eyes to the concept of “positionality” which is something that is drilled into our heads within several disciplines, but very pertinently within the global studies department. Positionality, or at least how I’ve interpreted it, is recognizing how we are socially situated, and how this affects our ability to navigate within certain socio-economic and political spaces. I am eternally grateful for all that I’ve learned in my global studies classes thus far, and many discussions, theories and debates have challenged me, and transcend content that I digest in a classroom setting. Being a global studies major has made me reflect upon my life, and what I wish to contribute to the world now, and in the future.”
Declaring as a global studies major was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. The ever understanding and inspiring department has opened many doors for me to explore my academic path at SLU in ways that I never knew I was capable of. If a person had told me a year ago that I would be prepping to leave for Shanghai, China, for a semester to study abroad, I would not have believed it. I plan to do just that next semester because of the impact of what I learned in the global studies department. I am beyond excited to apply aspects of what the professors have taught me in a different continent and way of life. I cannot thank the global studies department enough for the life lessons and experiences that I have been privileged to be a part of. I hope to bring back with me when I return new aspects to contribute to the department and help it grow to touch others the same way it had for me all those months ago.