We hear the word “globalization” all the time, but understand it in many different ways. Sometimes used as a shorthand for economic changes since the 1970s, “globalization” also refers to much longer histories of connectivity across national borders. Which aspects of globalization are really new, and which are old? How is globalization experienced differently across the world, considering global North and South; urban and rural areas; and systems as diverse as migration, ecology, tourism, food distribution, and the organ trade? And how is globalization represented? What genres, forms, and techniques do authors and filmmakers deploy to help us understand this seemingly all-encompassing phenomenon?
We will investigate these questions through acclaimed and controversial literature and film from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the US. The course is divided into four units, called Histories, Migrations, Bodies, and Cultures. However, texts speak across these units to shared concerns with gender, race, ecology, nations, and economies. Texts may include the following works of fiction and drama: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous, Harvest by Manjula Padmanabhan, The Whale Caller by Zakes Mda, Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo, The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki. Films may include: Tambien La Lluvia (Even The Rain) by Icíar Bollaín, Babel by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Sleep Dealer by Alex Rivera, Bamako by Abderrahmane Sissako, Dirty Pretty Things by Stephen Frears, and Caché (Hidden) by Michael Haneke.