Social Justice and Social Action

Our contemporary historical moment is marked by social, environmental, geopolitical, and economic crises that have intensified inequalities across the globe. This poses new challenges to both cultural analysis and social action. Addressing inequalities based on class, racial, sexual, digital, and geographical divides, scholars and activists face the challenge of defining the parameters for social justice across different scales (local, regional, national, global) and spheres (cultural, environmental, technological, economic). What are new, effective pathways for generating equal access to socio-political participation and public resources for diverse communities across the globe? Research and teaching at GSL addresses these questions of social justice from international and interdisciplinary perspectives. GSL Faculty have developed innovative approaches to exploring the role of language, (digital) media, popular culture, policy, science and technology for creating alternative practices that are able to address more equitable and inclusive solutions to today’s complex problems. 

Digital Humanities and Creative Pedagogies

Digital Humanities is an emergent area of scholarly inquiry and creative pedagogy. New research methods and techniques are enabled by computational techniques and innovative tools that expand all areas of humanistic scholarship and explore novel uses of humanities sources. Techniques such as data visualization, spatial mapping, text mining, close and distant reading approaches not only have the potential to advance scholarship in the humanities but also engage students in humanities content as “novice scholars”. GSL has a long tradition of developing and using digital approaches for creative pedagogies that foster the shared and collaborative investigation of global issues and diverse cultures. How can digital technologies enable students to make sense of the wealth of digital cultural content and experience languages in their diversity while learning to become better communicators and cultural experts? The combination of Digital Humanities approaches and creative pedagogical methods offers new forms of learning and scholarship. 

Migration and Diaspora

Migration is one of the touchtone issues of our time. Proponents of globalization argue that open migration produces economic benefits for both sending and host countries, whereas opponents view migrants as a threat to jobs and a burden on public services. In addition to the economic and political impacts, the cultural effects of migration are equally hot button issues. As a key driver of cultural globalization, the movement of peoples – migrants, refugees, travelers, sojourners, international students, and others – is a core focus of this interdisciplinary research group in Global Studies and Languages. We examine diverse aspects of cross-cultural interaction, hybridization and new cultural phenomena produced by global migration and diasporas. Our group further seeks to understand border-crossing and diaspora community formation in historical and comparative perspectives, in order to learn how concepts of identity, citizenship, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality have evolved over time and continue to shape our globalizing world today.

Critical Studies of Globalization

Globalization refers to the flow of people, goods, media, technologies, and capital across the planet. Transformations in social identities, the sense of belonging, cultural practices and media representations both propel and respond to this mobility. Confronted with planet-wide issues like economic inequality, climate change, and the transnational production and circulation of information and ideas, it is the very notion of culture which is being questioned. What parts of the world, and which categories of people, have participated in these diverse dimensions of “the global?" What is the impact of this participation on the way individuals conceive of themselves? What are the social and political consequences such a participation entails? In response to these pressing issues, we inquire into the scholarly methods appropriate to research at multiple scales, and across borders. We strive to deconstruct the intellectual legacies of empire, colonialism, and cosmopolitanism, to explore both cultures of globalization and the globalization of cultures.