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ICS Core Courses

ICS 195: Comparative Approaches to Global Issues

Whether or not they major in ICS, students are expected to complete Comparative Approaches to Global Issues in the fall or spring term of their first or second year. Course enrollment is capped at 49 students. 

Students who plan to be ICS majors are expected to complete the course before a study-away semester.

The course uses interdisciplinary and disciplinary approaches to introduce students to critical transnational studies.

Course content:

  • examines “from below” capitalism and neo-liberal globalization (through culture, politics, economics, and other social forms and outcomes);

  • considers the workings and meanings of such terms as globalism, transnationalism, nation and state;

  • explains and challenges linear and Western-centric thinking about progress, modernity, development and humanitarianism;

  • focuses a historical lens on a range of political discourses, institutions, and projects (nationalist, statist, colonialist, imperialist, anti-colonialist, fundamentalist, and so on) in order to understand them contextually;

  • demonstrates how cultures and identities are dynamically constituted in interaction with historical, material, political, and situational factors;

  • considers how different kinds of inequality and contestation inflect most social formations and dynamics.

In addition to the lead professor, the course includes four to five faculty visitors from different disciplinary and interdisciplinary homes who teach week-long modules on their areas of expertise.

ICS 195 meets M/W/F for 1 hour (rather than 50 minute) sessions. This allows for smaller weekly discussion groups that are 30 minutes in length. These discussion groups are led by the instructor or a TA, in a rotating fashion.

Assignments are designed to improve reading, writing, research, analysis, and information-literacy skills.

T-Reqs: ICS 195 fulfills the CCI, CZ, and SS modes of inquiry. Beginning Spring 2013, the course also fulfills the W mode of inquiry.


ICS 489S: Capstone Seminar in Global Studies

The Capstone Seminar in Global Studies is required of all majors in their senior year.

The seminar uses scholarship, literature and film to revisit in depth key concepts and themes introduced in the ICS gateway course, with an integration and pace appropriate to a senior experience.

Discussion and assignments require individual reflection on classroom, study away, and work experiences.

Students will be encouraged to articulate and express their positioning in the world and in relation to the core themes of the major.

Unifying themes and topics may be selected from the following:

  • neo-liberal globalization and its consequences;

  • inequality, power, and social justice;

  • cultural and discursive formations;

  • colonialism and postcolonialism;

  • obstacles to and limits of constituting transnational or global communities in an interconnected world;

  • interactions between identities and institutions on various scales;

  • law, human rights, and memory projects.

The seminar is writing-intensive, with assignments of varying length designed to advance writing, analytical, and library research skills.

There is a significant individual final research project that requires work in multiple stages of creation, presentation, feedback, and revision.

Seminar research projects of the highest quality will be nominated for the ICS Capstone Research Prize. Winners will receive a book prize, be announced in the Duke Commencement Program, and be recognized at the ICS Diploma Ceremony.

In order to engage seniors in the university’s lively intellectual and creative environment, the seminar incorporates at least one scheduled campus event during the semester and requires a related assignment designed by the faculty member.

T-Reqs: ICS 489S fulfills the W, R, CCI, CZ, and SS modes of inquiry.

ICS 195 is a prerequisite for the ICS capstone seminar.

Students who successfully complete the fall term of the ICS distinction/honors thesis sequence are considered to have completed the ICS capstone seminar requirement.

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