International Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Issues

International Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Issues

International Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Issues

International Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Issues

Excerpt

Why do international studies? Why take an interdisciplinary approach to global issues? The answers are found in the increasing interdependence of people, nations, and institutions at all levels of human society. This increasing interdependence is usually called globalization, an “intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa” (Giddens 1990, 64). Never before has it been so important to understand global problems, and never have these complex issues been harder to grasp. An interdisciplinary approach is essential to fully understand the historical, geographical, political, cultural, and economic dimensions of these global challenges.

Five hundred years ago Europeans explored the Western Hemisphere and broadened their commercial contacts with Africa and Asia, beginning this gradual globalization process of bringing regions of the world together. The Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century and the high-tech revolution in the twentieth century have brought many of us to the point today where a phone call is possible between someone riding a train in Peru and a climber standing atop Mount Everest. An Indian doctor can read an X-ray for a patient sitting in a physician’s office in Topeka. A Russian can buy a car built in South Korea, Germany, Italy, Japan, or the United States. Although most people in the world could not locate Bangladesh on a map, the cap they wear might have been made there.

Never before has the world been so integrated. Politics, markets, culture, the media, and information are no longer local but global. The ripple effect of local events on wider regions has grown exponentially in the last century; a century ago events in one part of the world often went unnoticed . . .

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