Global History, Culture, and Ideology
GLOBAL 1 Global History, Culture, and Ideology:Summer Session A, 2020
Research Paper Instructions
This paper requires you to use some of the key historical, theoretical, and conceptual insights you
have gained from this course to analyze a contemporary global issue. This issue can be ripped
straight from the headlines, though you are more than welcome to study an issue that has received
less attention if you think it is interesting and merits more attention. This issue can be primarily
social, political, economic, ecological, or cultural in nature, though it will most likely cut across these
various domains. A few examples of issues or subjects you could analyze include:
● The COVID-19 pandemic and its global impacts upon work, housing, incarceration, policing, or
state power (but not necessarily all at the same time).
● The ongoing national and international uprisings against police violence sparked by the murder
of George Floyd, in terms of their diversified goals and achievements, their wide-ranging tactics
and strategies, or their framing by the mainstream media and their own messaging.
● The deforestation and burning of the Amazon rain forest, in relation to the impacts of these
processes on Amazonian Indigenous peoples and their responses in turn, the administration of
President Jair Bolsonaro and transnational agribusiness interests as drivers of these processes,
or the potential for these processes to spread diseases including COVID-19.
● The controversy sparked by the release of Disney’s remake of Aladdin in 2019, in terms of the
Orientalism inherent in the story of Aladdin, Disney’s ever-growing power as a media
corporation, and the contentious cultural politics surrounding diversity and representation.
This list of issues is by no means exhaustive, and you are encouraged to identify others to examine.
Having picked an issue to study, consider it in light of the following questions:
● What exactly are the global dimensions of this issue? How have various global forces converged
within the space in which this issue is situated and/or extended its consequences and its
significance beyond that space?
● What are the historical dimensions of this issue? How are current developments concerning this
issue building upon or departing from the legacies of the past, not least of all pertinent legacies
of colonialism and imperialism? Why is historicizing the issue at hand necessary for fully
understanding it in the present?
● How is culture pertinent to the issue at hand? Is the issue grounded in culture in any way, and
has it impacted culture in any way? Have the cultural dimensions of this issue transcended or
transgressed borders and boundaries? (Be wary of naturalizing culture – that is, by describing
certain cultural traits as innate, permanent features of certain people or places – as you address
these questions. In this sense, your cultural analysis must also be historically grounded.)
● Are any particular ideologies pertinent to your issue of choice? Have these ideologies implicitly
or explicitly shaped the issue at hand, and, if so, how? What historical and cultural factors
account for the influence of the ideologies in question? What theoretical perspectives from our
course could help you better understand these ideologies and their roles in the issues under
GLOBAL 1 Global History, Culture, and Ideology:
Summer Session A, 2020
Do not attempt to answer the questions above in a mechanical fashion for your paper: that is, your
paper should not read like a disjointed list of answers to these questions. Rather, use them as
starting points for coming up with an original, coherent, and compelling thesis that ties together the
various dimensions of your chosen issue.
Naturally, some dimensions will be more relevant to certain issues than others: you don’t have to
strike a perfect balance between history, culture, and ideology in your analysis, as long as you have
carefully considered how all three might be relevant to your issue.
Find at least three scholarly sources of information about your chosen issue, although you may well
have to find more to be able to provide a substantial overview of it. These sources should be
scholarly articles or books, newspaper articles and commentaries, and documentaries or films,
although you can include less conventional sources – such as podcasts, social media platforms, and
blog posts – if you are tracking an issue involving marginalized actors whose voices are not
receiving adequate or accurate coverage. Do not treat any source of information you use as gospel
truth: corroborate and cross-reference its account of your issue.
In addition, use at least three course texts to carry out your analysis. Do not simply mention these
texts and their arguments in passing after you summarize your issue of choice: engage with them in
depth and at length, applying, extending, and critiquing their interventions to shape your thesis.
The technical specifications for your paper are as follows:
● It should be 6-8 double-spaced pages (or 1,500 – 2,000 words) in length, excluding citations.
● You should use 12 point size Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins.
● You can use any citation style you want (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.), provided you use it accurately
and consistently. Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab contains detailed guides to all the
major citation styles, as well as a host of other writing tips; I strongly encourage you to consult
it as you work on your paper.
● This should be original scholarly work done by you alone, so please make sure you adhere to UCSB’s Academic Integrity policy.
A research paper is admittedly just one way to intellectually engage contemporary issues and our
course texts and ideas. Some students might feel motivated to produce works of art, podcasts,
audiovisual / multimedia presentations, or other creative projects instead of research papers. If you
are interested in working on a creative project of some sort, please inform your instructor and
teaching assistant as soon as possible so that they can ensure that your project is adequately
rigorous. Your creative project, whatever it may be, will still have to engage at least three scholarly
sources of information and at least three course texts, and you may well have to integrate a written
component to demonstrate this engagement.
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