Approved Thematic Concentrations
This theme examines the role that art—in all its conceivable manifestations—plays in the human experience. Students are encouraged to explore the various ways in which art is used in different cultural environments as a form of human expression and/or communication; how are the arts—be they musical, cinematic, literary, dance, visual, or otherwise—conceived of in different societies around the world? Students choosing this thematic may wish to explore if and/or how art serves to bridge spatial and temporal chasms between societies as it migrates with diasporic populations and evolves.
This thematic concentration calls on students to examine key aspects of the environment as a quintessential transregional/global issue. Students will explore issues such as climate change (replete with its Global North/South inequities), population growth, resource depletion and the sustainability of the planet under the prevailing socio-economic system, which defines 21st-century global relations.
This theme calls on students to consider the concept of identity and community in its many forms, be it ethnic, indigenous, racial, ethnolinguistic, nation-state, or diasporic. In doing so, students are encouraged to consider the various benefits and challenges to the nature of identity in an interconnected and globalizing environment.
This theme broadly examines the role of international institutions as intergovernmental bodies that serve to regulate efforts toward global, regional, or transregional governance. This theme, then, leans heavily toward organizations such as the United Nations, ASEAN, African Union, European Union. Alternatively, students may opt to focus on intergovernmental institutions that focus on economic, trade or financial markets., or economic entities such as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank or the World Economic Forum. This theme allows students to explore evolving trends in intergovernmental judicial, social or cultural integration, or economic changes such as the emergence of digital, or cryptocurrencies.
CPAD represents an opportunity for students to explore a broad range of topics related to intra- and international conflict, including the changing nature of both war and peace as well as the evolving diplomatic methods for war/conflict-avoidance and peace maintenance. Students may, for example, examine peace from the perspective of the United Nations’ peacekeeping mandate or the growing role of regional organizations, to oversee peace-making and -keeping duties. CPAD students are encouraged to consider the roots of conflict as it is defined by violence, in its multiplicity of forms.
This theme approaches the concept of religion from an interdisciplinary perspective, encouraging students to broaden their personal conception of the term rituals—be they religious ceremonies, trade transactions, or more mundane daily hygiene routines—in order to better understand these dynamic
processes, which help to shape and define human identity and culture.
Students with a thematic concentration in Women and Gender will focus their academic efforts toward any of a variety of issues confronting the Women’s and/or LGBTQ+ movements. Emphasis is placed on gender issues that are of concern outside of the United States. What strategies, for example, do women in parts of Africa or the Middle East use to confront gender equity or patriarchy? Furthermore, what are the issues of concern for transgender populations in places such as Russia, Uganda or other conservative societies? Why, for example, do these attitudes differ between Brazil or the Netherlands?
Approved Area Studies Concentration
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