Global Citizens

The Global Citizens stream considers questions such as:

  • What does it mean to be a citizen? How have forces of globalization changed the meanings and practices of citizenship?
  • How are we shaped by and identified with our local, ethnic and national communities?
  • What are our responsibilities and obligations as citizens, on both a local and global scale, in thinking about and representing others and ourselves?
  • Which stories and memories are heard in particular places and times, and which others are silenced?

The increasingly interconnected nature of the world today requires us to re-imagine ourselves both as individuals and as participants in a global community. This stream considers issues of globalization and associated forms of modernization, as well as the personal, social, and ethical opportunities and responsibilities that come with those processes. You will be introduced to the different intellectual perspectives associated with the disciplines of Geography, Political Science, Sociology, and English – and you will be challenged to draw connections across and within these academic approaches.

Issues and themes associated with Global Citizenship include identity, citizenship, social responsibility, political participation, environment stewardship, memory, trauma, and urban life. The way in which we perceive the world around us is often informed by a Western viewpoint, and the courses in this stream seek to illuminate and challenge this standpoint.

This stream may be of particular interest to students who plan on majoring in English, Political Science, International Relations, Geography, or Sociology.

Term One Courses

All course descriptions and information are subject to change.

ASTU100A Arts Studies Seminar

(6 credits/2 terms) – First Year CAP Seminar: Focuses on writing and reading, including both literature and introduction to academic scholarship. This course provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic writing and related research communicative practices within an interactive learning environment. Topics for each section vary by according to faculty. Students will choose one out of four different sections, based on their scheduling needs and academic interests.

  • ASTU 100A Section G01 -  “Soft Weapons”: The Global and Local Work of Contemporary Life Narratives
    Tues & Thurs 9:30 – 11
    Dr. Laurie McNeill

This section of ASTU 100 will take up the concerns of “Global Citizens” by looking at the ways contemporary people represent lives: their own, and others, individually and collectively. We will study life narratives in a variety of genres and media, including digital lives (social networks, blogs, websites), memoirs, comics, documentaries, and archives. In reading these texts, we will think about the work that life narratives can do in the world, as they travel across cultures, experiences, and readerships. Throughout the course, we will consider how the study of life narrative engages the concerns of “Global Citizens,” such as ethics, adopting a global perspective, and questioning traditional power structures and social norms. We will use our focus on life narratives to shape our understanding of how we as scholars work: how we do research, join scholarly conversations, and create new knowledge. Alongside our life narratives, we will therefore read academic writing by others, and produce our own scholarship in different forms, including blogs, research essays, collaborative projects, and conference papers. By the end of the course, students will be able to produce their own analyses of literary and cultural texts that contribute to public and scholarly knowledge.

  • ASTU 100A Sections G02, G03, G04 - (Re)Writing National Memory
    Tues & Thurs 9:30 – 11/ 11 - 12.30/ 2 - 3.30
    Dr. Moberley Luger

This course combines the study of literature and culture with the study of methods of academic research and writing. We will explore the relationships among literature, history, the self, the nation, and the world as we encounter poetry, novels, non-fiction, and comic books that produce and question the memories of the events they record. We will read texts that explore personal experiences and public representations of various historical events including the Iran/Iraq War, the Bosnian Genocide, World War Two, and the contemporary “War on Terror.” We will question who “owns” histories and memories. What happens when stories are told across racial or national identifications? Should we only speak for ourselves, or must we also speak for others? Do people or nations have rights to the stories they tell and/or obligations to the national identities those stories produce?

The course has a two-fold goal: to focus on the creation and disruption of global and national memory in literary texts, and to help students learn practices of knowledge-making and writing in the social sciences and humanities. Along with a textbook about academic writing and a selection of scholarly essays, our literary readings will likely include the following: Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde, Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Phil Klay’s Redeployment and Juliana Spahr’s
 This Connection of Everyone with Lungs.

Sociology (SOCI) 100

(6 credits/2 terms)
M, W, F 12:00 - 1:00
Kerry Greer (

How do sociologists look at the social worlds we all inhabit? In this course we'll learn that sociologists have a unique point of view–the sociological perspective. Through this lens we'll look at everyday rituals of deference and domination, solidarity and boundary-marking, conformity and resistance. The sociological perspective can help us to understand connections between self and society, private troubles and public issues, deviance and normality, order and conflict, and continuity and change. We can use the sociological perspective to become aware of how our culture, institutions, families and friends shaped our lives and to explore what our responsibility is to change society for the better.

Students enrolled in this course will have the option of participating in community-based service learning as a means of meeting course requirements (that are otherwise met through the discussion section meetings). Enrolled students will be contacted in August and asked to submit information for a background check. Those who are or might be interested in participating in this opportunity should make sure they follow up on this request.

Political Science (POLI) 100

(3 credits/ 1 term) – Introduction to Politics: what is power? What is justice? What does it mean to be free? What is the role of violence in politics? How do I make sense of politics? These are powerful questions that influence the ways in which we think about and shape politics. This class will introduce students to the themes and dilemmas of politics. Together, we will learn how all of us as citizens can create change in the world through seeing problems, critical reflection, and informed action. We will examine different understandings of democratic citizenship in historical perspective, as well as identify problems in global citizenship and analyze how effective citizen action can occur both at home and on a global level. We will critique and respond to works by: Plato, Aristophanes, Alexis de Tocqueville, Mary Wollstonecraft, Hannah Arendt, Will Kymlicka, Frantz Fanon, Mike Davis, and more. Students will be expected to apply their learning as they identify traits and actions of good citizens in their college courses, in their residence halls, in their homes, in their communities, in organizations, and in our shared world. Planned course activities will challenge students to identify ways that they, either acting in groups or as individuals can change and improve our world. Together, we will embrace practices of engaged citizenship.

Term Two Courses

ASTU 100A Arts Studies Seminar

(6 credits/2 terms)

Sociology (SOCI) 100

(6 credits/2 terms)

Geography (GEOG) 122

(3 credits/1 term)
M, W, F 1:00-2:00
Trevor Barnes ( and David Ley (

Geography 122 is an introduction to human geography and to the character of our modern, globalising, interdependent world. The course deals with the emerging human geography of the period from 1945 to the present. The broad aims of the course are twofold. The first is substantive which is to examine how the world has changed geographically over the last seventy years. We examine the full range of spatial scales to interpret geographically the themes of modernisation and globalisation, their consequences, their changing expressions, and the reactions against them. The second is to introduce a particular disciplinary approach to understanding the world, the geographical, which is synthetic, case-based, pitched at a mid- level of abstraction, and integrative. Each of the substantive topics of the course are presented through the lens of a given geographical idea. You will learn both geography and how geographers think. The course is divided into seven units. The first is geopolitics where among other topics the Cold War, oil and the arms trade are presented. The second is about the global economy and which incorporates discussion of transnational corporations, commodity chains, and transportation and communication systems The third is about global culture and is concerned with such topics as tourism, sport and immigration. The fourth is about global urbanization, both in the North and the South, as well as global population changes. The fifth is about human-environmental relations and tackles such issues as global climate change, natural disasters, and food security. The sixth is about the distinctive regional transformations that have followed the recent globalization and modernization and includes examinations of Western Europe, China, Russia, and India. The last unit considers reactions against modernity and globalisation by focussing on a series of social movements and alternative urban landscapes.


Archival Project

Working with materials in the UBC Rare Books and Special Collections, including letters, photographs, comics, and newspapers, students will write an essay considering issues of representation and cultural memory in archives. This assignment helps students develop skills in undertaking primary research, and creating and pursuing research questions about such materials.

Literature Review Presentation

As students prepare to write a typical scholarly research assignment—the literature review—they will also have the opportunity to begin their research and discuss it in a group setting. For this project, students work in small groups to locate how scholars debate and discuss an important course concept (for example “national memory”). Students then present their findings to the class as everyone helps each other build useful bibliographies that will support their research all term.

Please note that students will only register in one ASTU 100A section, and one SOCI 100 and POLI 100 discussion section. This timetable is subject to change.