Global Studies (GLST) 651

Critical Approaches to Global Change (Revision 2)

GLST 651 Course Cover
**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 is built around two main textbooks introducing global studies and globalization theory. To demonstrate how different disciplines approach global issues, we will explore a number of book-length studies. Topics include:

  • hybridity and global culture
  • borders, frontiers, and migration
  • slavery, precarity, and labour struggles in the Global South
  • gendered inequalities
  • the international trade in human body parts
  • capitalism and global ecological collapse
  • language and the media society
  • southern perspectives on global studies
  • Asia and the emergence of multi-polar globalization

Each textbook introduces new disciplinary and interdisciplinary empirical methods and theories and offers empirically rich approaches to global studies.

Students write weekly discussion papers, participate in peer discussions each week, support and comment on each others essay proposals, and undertake a research essay on a topic of their choice.

Course Materials

These texts are provided via postal mail in a course package and should be in your hands before the course starts. If any of these items are missing from your course package, please contact the AU Course Materials department as soon as possible.


  • Steger, M. and A. Wahlrab. (2017). What is Global Studies? Theory and Practice. Routledge.
    This is a major text and introduction to the field of global studies. You are assigned to read the whole book the first week, so please start reading as soon as you can.
  • Patel, R., and J. W. Moore. (2017). A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet. University of California Press.
  • Pieterse, J. N. (2015). Globalization and culture: Global mélange. Rowman & Littlefield. (2015)
  • Nanton, P. (2017). Frontiers of the Caribbean. Series title: Theory for a Global Age. Manchester University Press.
  • Ness, Immanuel. (2018). Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class. Pluto.
  • Seager, Joni. The Women’s Atlas. 5th Edition Penguin Random House. October 2018.


These e-texts are available from the AU Library via the links provided in the course.

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%.

In this course you will be evaluated on your ability to engage critically with the material presented. The readings vary in their degree of difficulty; some introduce aspects of globalization and global change, while others challenge you with greater subtlety and abstraction.

Critical engagement with the course material will be hard work. You will be required to integrate and express a theoretical knowledge of globalization and global change with analysis of social problems (e.g. poverty reduction, racism and injustice, environmental policy and the management of ecological degradation, human rights and labour rights, respect for local cultures and lived knowledge, and more) in your assigned work. This includes your weekly critical reflections and questions (CRQs), your research proposal, and your final paper.

Evaluation will be broken down as follows:

Assignment Weight Due Date
Critical Reflections and Questions (1 page). Overall 10 CRQs 50% End of every week
Scholarly Reception Paper 10% End of Week 8
Research Paper Proposal 10% End of Week 10
Research Paper (25-30 pages) 30% End of Week 14
Total 100%

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 2, August 28, 2018.

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