Global Studies (GLST) 651

Critical Approaches to Global Change (Revision 1)

**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


Global Studies 651: Critical Approaches to Global Change will introduce you to the key theoretical debates surrounding global change and "globalization."

Course Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to

  1. critically assess the various and competing definitions, and analyze and separate the contradictory and ideological claims about globalization made by academic and popular authors.
  2. engage critical perspectives on global change ranging from liberal, social democrat, radical, and feminist, to ethnic, minority, and indigenous views.
  3. develop a position on the relative "newness" of the globalization phenomenon, whether globalization is consistent with past trends of global change and international integration, whether it represents something radically new and different, or whether truth lies somewhere in the middle.
  4. explore disciplinary and interdisciplinary analyses of contemporary global change and the globalization processes–economic and political, socio-cultural, racial and gendered, environmental, social justice, and anti-globalization.
  5. critically consider how some authors attempt to integrate many of these dimensions in their research and writing.
  6. gain an appreciation for the dynamic roles of structure and agency in global change and globalization processes–that is, how the globalization processes (structure) both shape and limit human choices and actions, yet are themselves altered by various peoples' resistance and political action (human agency).

Course Outline

  • Part I: Concepts and Methods of Globalization
  • Part II: Themes and Dimensions of Globalization
  • Part III: Selected Topics in Globalization

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Course Activity Weighting
Critical Reflections and Questions 50%
Research Paper Proposal 10%
Research Paper 40%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The course materials for Global Studies 651: Critical Approaches to Global Change include the items listed below. If you find that any of these items are missing from your course materials package, please contact Course Materials Production of Athabasca University at (780) 675-6366, or 1-800-788-9041, ext. 6366 (toll-free from anywhere within Canada and the United States). You may also write to Course Materials Production, Tim Byrne Centre, 4001 Hwy 2 South, Athabasca AB T9S 1A4; or direct your e-mail to


  • Kiely, Ray. 2007. The New Political Economy of Development: Globalization, Imperialism, Hegemony. London: Palgrave.
  • Pieterse, Jan Nederveen. 2009 (2nd Edition). Globalization and Culture: Global Mélange. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Webster, Edward, Rob Lambert, and Andries Beziudenhout. 2008. Grounding Globalization: Labour in the Age of Insecurity. Malden, Oxford and Victoria: Blackwell Publishing Company.
  • Baiocchi, Gianpaolo. 2005. Militants and Citizens: The Politics of Participatory Democracy in Porto Alegre. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, September 1, 2013.