Global Studies at UC Berkeley


A new interdisciplinary major Global Studies is planned as part of a major restructuring of the International and Areas Studies Teaching Programs (IASTP) at UC Berkeley. In Fall 2015, Social Science Matrix is funding a prospecting seminar dedicated to bringing together faculty and graduate students from a wide range of departments and professional schools to address the intellectual and pedagogical challenges and opportunities in designing this important new major.

Housed within the Social Science Division of the College of Letters and Sciences, Global Studies will incorporate five existing IASTP majors—Development Studies, Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, and Peace and Conflict Studies—and will also include courses and topics about other world regions (e.g., Africa, Europe), as well as from other units across campus (e.g., the Goldman School of Public Policy, the School of Public Health, the College of Natural Resources).

The Matrix seminar, organized by Nathan Sayre, Associate Professor and Department Chair in the UC Berkeley Department of Geography, will consider questions such as: how should the Global Studies major understand the classification of nations into regions? What unique strengths can UC Berkeley bring to a Global Studies major? And how should themes such as migration, environment, political economy, health, conflict, and poverty be conceptualized in relation to Berkeley’s diverse intellectual landscape and resources?

“It will not be a curriculum planning effort; rather, we will focus on the intellectual identity and pedagogical mission of the major, in order to guide and inform subsequent programmatic planning,” the organizers explain in their proposal. “More generally, we seek to foster dialogue across all the disciplines and campus units pertaining to Global Studies.”