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Concentrations and Specializations

Concentrations

Peace and Conflict Studies

From refugee flows, to ‘reverse development,’ to outright state failure, the consequences of contemporary armed conflict are profound and far-reaching. As an emerging interdisciplinary field, peace and conflict studies seeks to understand the complex and interconnected nature of contemporary conflict. It also seeks to find ways to prevent armed violence, mitigate its worst manifestations, and rebuild in its aftermath. 

As one of three distinct concentrations within Global Studies, peace and conflict studies is embedded within wider debates around the dynamics of globalization. Acknowledging that both peace and conflict are profoundly impacted by complex cultural practices and understandings, and by uneven levels of socio-economic development, our course offerings – from “Peacebuilding in the Shadow of War,” to “Disarming Conflicts,” to “War, Memory, and Popular Culture” (among others) – aim to provide you with a deeper understanding of contemporary armed conflict and what can be done about it.

Global Studies is also the current institutional home of the Peace and Conflict Studies Association of Canada (PACS-Can), a national association of students, scholars and practitioners committed to the promotion of just and non-violent solutions to contemporary conflict.

International Development

What are the causes and responses to global inequality and poverty? The Global Studies development concentration answers this question by examining the history, theories, policies, and practices of development, especially with regard to the relatively vulnerable Global South. For many decades, countries and international organizations in the Global North were the main drivers of global development, but in the last few years, actors in the Global South have also been emerging as key drivers. Our interdisciplinary concentration will give you a greater understanding of the complex relations among the world’s powerful countries, multilateral organizations, actors in the Global South, and the world most vulnerable populations. Equipped with multiple perspectives, this program balances theory will practical country-case studies. It will be an ideal training ground if you wish to work with government, national or international NGOs, journalism, or policy development.

Globalization and Culture

How do we, as humans, come to know ourselves as social and cultural beings? The Globalization and Culture concentration examines this question from a variety of analytical perspectives. Culture is not simply an “add-on” to an individual’s identity but is as vital as politics and economics to who and what we are. Culture shapes the kind of beings that we become and the social and political institutions that govern the world we inhabit.

The Globalization and Culture concentration explores not only what is common to human beings across the world, but also how communities differ from one another. However, each of us is embedded in many cultural communities. Indeed, our experiences are intersected by race, class, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and citizenship.

What happens when communities’ visions of the world diverge and conflict? The propagation of global ideals such as secularism, democracy, free markets, and the liberal conception of human rights makes this question particularly important because not all communities subscribe to these ideals, or subscribe to them in the same way. The Globalization and Culture concentration encourages students to locate themselves personally and intellectually when engaging with these debates. This means analyzing how culture is intimately shaped by relations of power – relations that are embedded in our governmental institutions and in everyday life. For example, what does it mean to live in the contemporary moment in the shadow of imperialism and colonialism? 

The Globalization and Culture concentration cultivates the reflexivity necessary to address these pressing questions. This includes developing the intellectual skills through which to become aware of one’s taken-for-granted assumptions about the world. In this way students can learn to be open to other worldviews while find meaning in their own, and articulating hopeful visions of a more just world.

Global Studies Research Specialization

If you like research, and are thinking of graduate school, then the Research Specialization may be right for you.

The Research Specialization focuses on engaged learning to improve your research skills. It is open to fourth-year honours Global Studies students who have already completed a minimum of 1.0 credit of 300-level Global Studies courses, and have earned at least a B average (8.0 GPA) in all their Global Studies courses.

The Research Specialization emphasizes and builds upon key elements of the Global Studies program: rigorous academic work, volunteer and study experiences outside the country, and language study that allows for significant, respectful interactions with people whose working language is not English.

To complete the specialization, you must maintain a minimum B average, complete 2.0 credits of 400-level Global Studies courses (including GS400, worth 1.5 credits) and fulfill at least one of the following additional requirements:

  • Complete the Global Studies Experience (GSE); or
  • Earn 1.0 senior-level language credit; or
  • Study abroad for one semester; or
  • Complete GS410 (Senior Field Course in Global Studies).

Participation in the GS400 research seminar, combined with the other requirements, will prepare you more fully for advanced study and work opportunities in Canada and abroad. When you complete the Research Specialization, that designation appears on your transcript and degree.

Contact Us:

Nancy Forde, Administrative Assistant

E: nancyforde@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x3968
Office Location: DAWB 5-120

Alex Latta, Chair

E: alatta@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x3115
Office Location: DAWB 5-120A

To book an advising appointment or contact the GS Advisor, Dr. Sara, Matthews, please e-mail gsadvisor@wlu.ca.

Need to contact the GSE Coordinator, Dr. John Ejobowah? Please e-mail gsecoord@wlu.ca.