November 16, 2009

SIUC to offer Peace Studies, Global Studies minors

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Liberal Arts is adding two new options to its list of minors, and both will be available to students beginning with the summer 2010 semester.

Students will be able to minor in Peace Studies or in Global Studies.

Peace Studies is an interdisciplinary minor that involves cooperation not only among departments but also colleges, as the minor incorporates courses both in the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.

Robbie Lieberman, professor of history and chair of the department, said she is excited to see the establishment of a minor. After all, Peace Studies has been a major focus for her throughout her academic career.

“This will give students a chance to see how a variety of disciplines have thought about and studied peace -- and violence,” she said.

The minor will include courses in cinema and photography, journalism, philosophy, history, political science, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, Black American studies, women’s studies and speech communication. The minor will also require an internship. Liebermann said she is working now to create a list from which students can choose.

“More and more universities are offering Peace Studies,” she said. “This minor will support a major for some students, and for others it will give them a chance to explore in-depth an area that might be new to them.”

The Global Studies minor is also interdisciplinary in nature, with course offerings pulled from many departments across the University. Most of the courses will be in the College of Liberal Arts, but the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts will offer a course in world media, for example, and the College of Applied Sciences and Arts will offer world architecture.

“I think students from any major will find Global Studies valuable,” Alan Vaux, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said. “Just about any student will find his or her interests enriched and career prospects enhanced by having learned to take a global perspective.”

Vaux admitted to a special interest in the Global Studies program. He said it is vital for American citizens to understand the world beyond our borders.

“Events overseas routinely influence what happens in our country,” he said. “Yet, many people don’t know very much about how people in other parts of the world live -- what they believe or value; how healthy, wealthy or well-educated they are, what resources and options people have; what rituals, literature, or entertainment they have; what their history has been; or what relations --positive or negative -- they have had with other cultures or nations. Increasingly, people will operate in a world where parochialism will not be an option, and those unfamiliar with other cultures will seem profoundly ignorant.”

Accordingly, all of those areas and more may fall under Global Studies, making the minor versatile and easy to tailor to a student’s major.

Vaux said Global Studies isn’t necessarily a new trend in academia, but taking a truly global look at issues is certainly becoming more popular with students who take a broad look at issues.

“I’ve already had students ask about this minor and the courses they’ve already taken,” Lieberman said of the Peace Studies minor. “I think there is going to be considerable interest in both these new minors.”