Project Abstract

My project is the development of a course in the Sewanee First Year Program (FYP) that is entitled “The Local Place and the Forces of Globalization.” To be offered in fall semester 2018, this is a new course for me. Preparation will require significant coordination, reading, and time. The course’s goal is to situate the southern Appalachia area in a global context. It will use readings, speakers, and field trips to explore how the forces of globalization such as trade and migration shape the complexities of Southern Appalachia. The course will impact at least 15 first-year students at Sewanee, as well as faculty with whom I teach in the FYP program. Assessment of the impact will be completed through journals, presentations, a final research/creative project, and classroom participation.

The course will explore elements of globalization such as trade, international migration, global health issues, environmental pressures, global human rights norms, and the rise of populism. It will question how global factors shape the complex identities, economic opportunities, notions of power, and ideas of representation within the local place. We will incorporate field trips to multinational corporations (e.g., Nissan in Decherd), NGOs working with refugees (e.g., Catholic Charities in Murfreesboro), and organizations that address health issues (e.g., Chattanooga Cares AIDS Organization). Speakers whose global experiences have shaped the local community (e.g., international faculty members or local health-care providers from other countries) will be included. By exposing students to the intersections of global and local forces, the course will expand their understanding of place. It will help them to recognize how geographic and political borders are relatively fluid and the identities of people within those places are shaped by complex forces.

Project Alignment with the Collaborative for Southern Appalachian Studies

The FYP section aligns with specific goals of the academic program in southern Appalachian Studies. First, it promotes interdisciplinary learning through the use of research from the fields of political science, economics, sociology, public health, biology, and anthropology. Second, it supports partnerships with local organizations such as Chattanooga Cares or Legal Aid whose activities are shaped by global forces. Third, the course applies and tests theories of globalization in the local context, a process that will deepen learning. For example, how do theories of economic trade actually play out in the local community? What does it mean to say that a health issue is “global” (such as AIDS) in a local context? Finally, the course recognizes that for students to be equipped to address social, ethical and scientific challenges found in a specific place, they must understand the rich identities and multi-leveled factors that shape those challenges. For example, to address rural unemployment, one must better understand the ways that global markets and manufacturing processes have changed over time.

Project Impact

The goals for the course are:

1) To analyze the ways that the forces of globalization such as trade and migration affect the southern Appalachia region;
2) To explore how local identities are influenced by global forces;
3) To recognize the contributions of individuals from other countries to the local community;
3) To investigate the fluidity of geographic and political borders;
4) To challenge assumptions that the southern Appalachia region is isolated from global forces and that its population is homogeneous;
5) To learn about some major issues in globalization, such as trade, migration, and global health issues;
6) To develop skills of interdisciplinary analysis so as to be better equipped to address social, scientific, and ethical challenges in today’s world.

The course will enroll approximately 15 students. I anticipate that I will also delivery a plenary lecture for all sections of FYP on globalization and southern Appalachia. Thus, an additional ~150 individuals will be exposed to ideas about how global forces affect the region. Finally, I will be part of a planning group of 8-10 faculty members who are teaching in FYP. Through these discussions and planning meetings, other faculty will learn from my experiences teaching the course.

The course will first be offered during the FYP 2018 term.