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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
March 31, 2015
Canadian Excellence

Welcome Message from the Chair of Global Studies

Even though we all now speak the language of globalization, we continue to search for better answers to many of the big questions raised by the realities of living in a globalizing world. What responsibilities (if any) do those of us who live in privileged corners of the global community have towards others who live in places blighted by war or extreme poverty? How do we square, on a global level, the imperatives of economic development and growth with increasingly urgent issues of environmental sustainability? How should we reconcile the promotion of universal rights and values with the recognition, even celebration, of diversity and difference? And how, finally, can we put into practice the familiar adage to ‘think globally, act locally’?

These are the sorts of questions that students and faculty in the Department of Global Studies grapple with on a daily basis. As one of the pioneers in this interdisciplinary field, Global Studies at Laurier has grown over the past decade into one of Laurier’s most dynamic intellectual communities, combining real-world activism and engagement with critical thinking about both the challenges and opportunities of globalization. We offer a four-year honours undergraduate degree, structured around three main streams – comparative development, globalization and culture, and peace and conflict – while allowing plenty of space for dialogue and debate across streams and across disciplines. For the coming academic year, our course offerings – with titles as diverse as “The Global Lives of Natural Resources”, “Ethical Encounters”, and “Global Humanitarianism” – provide a sense of the wide range of interests and expertise contained within the department.

Global Studies also combines award-winning classroom teaching and innovative pedagogy with a recognition that a great deal of what students learn at university happens outside the classroom. Through our Global Studies Experience (GSE) program, for example, students are encouraged to ‘learn by doing’ through international volunteer placements; in recent years, GSE students have worked cross-culturally in places as diverse as Ecuador, South Africa, and Nepal. Closer to home, during this coming academic year GS students will share classroom space with local prison inmates to explore understandings and narratives of violence as part of the innovative Inside-Out program. Also in 2013-14, Global Studies will co-host the annual conference of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, a major international event expected to bring several hundred scholars, activists and students to Laurier in mid-October.

As Chair of the Global Studies Department, I invite you to explore what Global Studies has to offer, either through our webpages or by visiting us in Waterloo, a vibrant and thriving city one hour from Toronto.

Timothy Donais
Department Chair

GS 101: Introduction to Global Studies
"Finding Hope for the Planet"

Some people argue that living in a connected world brings us together in ways that promote human prosperity, harmony and social innovation. Others suggest that the processes of globalization have led to wars, pandemics and environmental threats. What do you think? In this course, we study the processes of globalization from the perspectives of economics, politics, health, culture and the environment. Using contemporary case studies, you will learn about the forces and actors that shape our modern world and the challenges for global citizenship. How should humans respond to the many challenges facing our planet? Join us in GS101 and find out where you stand.

Why not visit the Global Studies @ Laurier Youtube channel? Discover videos from faculty and students, and information about curriculum and the Global Studies Program in general.

Watch faculty members describe their ideal Global Studies graduate.

Watch Global Studies students talk about their learning experiences, both inside and outside the classroom.

Watch our video
on Global Studies!

Departmental Contacts:

GS Chair Timothy Donais

GS Academic Advisor
Tanya Richardson

GSE Coordinator
Sara Matthews

Administrative Assistant
Nancy Forde


Art and Memory at the Borders
(Headline - Mar 06)
Neoliberal Capitalism in the 21st Century: An Economist's View
(Headline - Mar 06)
Watch a video on Global Studies to learn more about us!
(Headline - Oct 09)
Global Studies Department Now on Twitter
(Headline - Oct 03)
   More Headlines  

People at Laurier

Dr. Sara Matthews, Global Studies Sara Matthews studies how visual culture enables individuals and communities to encounter histories of social conflict and war. Her previous research considered how contemporary artists in South Africa symbolize the difficulties of witnessing and responding to testimonies of Apartheid violence. She is currently engaged in a project that explores how contemporary Canadian war artists are responding to Canada's mission in Afghanistan. Matthews’s new research investigates how digital narratives can forge links between civilian and military cultures.

Dr. Sara Matthews
Assistant Professor,
Global Studies