Bader International Study Centre


at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.



at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

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INTS 221-001/3.0 Global Issues in the 21st Century: Commodities, Globalization, and Migration in Comparative Perspectives

Instructor: Dr. Eugene Michail (co-ordinator)

Course Description

This course will enable students to communicate in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) using four key skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course is designed for beginners with little or no knowledge of the language. 

The movements of Commodities and Migration have always been the main drivers of Globalisation. This course explores commodity chains and migration networks in successive frontier eras of globalization and conflict. Through case studies such as the long journey of the coffee crop from Ethiopia to Latin America and from there to the cafés of Paris, or the streams of refugees trying to reach Europe, it studies the making of the complex, transnational world we live in today. 

The course is team-taught, drawing on the tutors’ expertise in different fields and regions. The first part introduces the key concepts of Commodities, Globalisation and Migration. The second part looks on two Crossroad themes, the Mediterranean Local Diet and the Sex Trafficking industry in the Balkans, issues which open up for the exploration of the links between the course’s themes, and how they affect everyday lives. In the last part the course focuses on the current Global Crisis, its roots and effects. 

Expected Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will have a good knowledge of: 

  • all key contemporary and academic debates on globalization, migration and the international movement of commodities 
  • the way the courses’ main themes affect all aspects of modern life
  • the causes and effects of the global economic crisis 

Students will also have developed their skills in: 

  • conducting their primary and secondary research projects
  • critically evaluating secondary and primary sources, including field study trips
  • developing and structuring an original research paper
  • identifying debates and producing their own arguments within wider discussions on topics of contemporary relevance
Field Studies

There are two field trips for the course. Among the destinations we have visited in the past are:

  • the Museum of London Docklands, with special focus on London, Sugar and Slavery examining London’s involvement in transatlantic slavery, where local and global history meet. 
  • the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, founded in 1980 by 18 Arab countries with France to research and disseminate information about the Arab world and its cultural and spiritual values.
Primary Research Expectations

Students will be in constant engagement with different types of primary sources, through:

  • the field trips: students are instructed on how to transform from passive observers to critical thinkers, evaluating and analysing the sites and material they are presented with. 
  • documentary sources: all seminar sessions use primary sources (newspapers, songs, TV programmes) that students are asked to engage critically with.
  • interviews: students will be asked to interview their peer group on the question of Family Histories of Migration  and to analyse their findings.

Because of the small size of our teaching groups, attendance and participation counts for at least 20% of the final mark. The rest of the assessment will take place through a combination of the following:

  • two essays
  • one research project 
  • short reports (max 500 words) on primary research (eg archives and interviews) and other research tasks (eg terminologies and definitions, reflections on class discussions) 

There are no exams at the end.