Global Issues

""Courses in Global Issues

One of CSULB’s Institutional Learning Outcomes is that graduates will be critically and ethically engaged in global issues as well as knowledgeable about and respectful of a diversity of cultures. To this end, the courses featured below expose students to cultural and social topics and issues beyond the US.

Featured Courses – September 2019

Africana Studies

AFRS 415: International Africana Children’s Literature – Dr. Natalie Sartin
This course offers an in-depth analysis and discussion of the wealth and variety of literature written for and about Black children by Black authors from Africa, the United States, the Caribbean, and the rest of the Diaspora. Particularly useful to those teaching or preparing to teach elementary and secondary schools, this course will expose students to all forms of Black children’s literature, e.g., traditional literature, historical literature, science fiction, biographies, informational books, drama, picture books, poetry, etc.  Armed with this culturally relevant material, those teaching or preparing to teach will be in a better position to build self-esteem in those children who historically have been relegated to a position of marginality because they could not see positive reflections of themselves in children’s books. 

This course contends that Black children’s literature is a valuable tool in motivating Black children to study because it demonstrates to them the relevance of the academic tradition of books. Respectively, all children need to be exposed to Black children’s literature, as this type of literature offers non-Black children an opportunity to understand, enjoy, and respect the values embedded in the literature of a culture other than their own. Such exposure may serve as a bridge for cross-cultural understanding and may lead toward greater acceptance of cultural differences. 

AFRS 498: Ancient Egyptian Ethical Thought – Dr. Maulana Karenga
A critical study of ancient Egyptian ethical thought with focus on Maat, its moral ideal, and its core concepts of social justice, including: the dignity and rights of the human person; the right to life and the necessities of life; the respect and care for the poor, vulnerable and the different; human equality and the right to equal treatment; moral and spiritual consciousness and the right to freedom of conscience. Also examines how these and allied ethical concepts relate to current issues of human rights, distribution of wealth, power and status, oppression, exploitation and injustice based on race, class, sex, religion, sexuality, age, ability, and other systems of hierarchy and domination. 

Maat, as a world-encompassing concept of justice and good, includes not only concern for the quality of social relations among humans, but also humans’ relations with the environment and thus interrelated concepts of environmental justice. This brings into focus the Maatian ethical imperative of serudj ta, i.e., to repair, renew and transform the world, and leads to discussions of social advocacy, social activism and social change.

The course stresses the Maatian concept and practice of djaer – deep thinking, i.e., critical, creative and ethical reasoning. Finally, a central purpose of the course is to demonstrate ways in which this ancient African ethical tradition informed the dawn of human moral reflection and offers concepts and modes of thought useful and fruitful for modern moral discourse and reflection on critical current and enduring issues of justice and shared good in the world.

Asian and Asian American Studies

AAAS 100: Asian Eats – Dr. Teri Yamada

In this survey course on Asian foodways, we will explore the politics, economics, religious, social and cultural dimensions of food in Asia and its globalization.  This exploration will focus on specific foods, such as rice and curry, in the context of ethnic and national identities.


CLSC 101: Greek Mythology – Dr. Elaine Wida

Although the myths treated in this course are specifically Greek, students also learn that those very ancient stories have clear precedents in the even more ancient societies of Mesopotamia, emphasizing their transcendence of culture and time. Students learn that these myths have universal application in many ways, expressing man’s struggle with mortality, competition within families, psychological struggles with life’s transitions (from child to adolescent, from adolescent to adulthood, from single to married or for a girl, from the free life of girlhood to the role of married woman and mother, from adulthood to old age).   Students are asked to consider how these myths also reveal the Greeks’ attitudes toward outsiders, their struggle with and perceptions of the divine, their struggle with questions of right action and justice in moral and human crises. Finally, students learn how myth and story-telling can be a vehicle for expressing these struggles and resolving the problems they present.

CLSC 300: Pagan Culture – Dr. Elaine Wida

Within this course students learn much about the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome and the precedents they have handed down for many aspects of our own culture. Students  learn how the Romans of the Imperial Period were presented with the conflicts, struggles, realities, and challenges of change presented by becoming part of a much larger community and one that transcended any particular culture.  The Romans were in many ways like us! Students also examine questions such as those arising when religious difference is encountered; students explore societies based on a hierarchy of class and the effects of such political structures as democracy, oligarchy, and plutocracy. Students learn to consider other more universally human questions such as, for example, how the Romans acquired and trafficked slaves, as well as their attitudes toward slaves, and are asked to consider further how this system affects the humanity of both the slave-owner and the slave, as well as to explore the methods the slave-owning class uses to ensure the subordination of the humans that they own. Finally students can also explore throughout the course how such observations can be applied to modern realities.

Environmental Science & Policy

ESP/GEOG 101: The Global Environment – Dr. Monica Argandoña

Environmental issues are the most challenging and important issues that face us today as they encompass and impact everything from health, inequality, conflict, sustainability, and security. Everything we produce, eat, and depend on for our survival comes from this planet. The Global Environment course is an introduction to the earth’s principle human-environmental relationships and biogeographic processes with a focus on how human actions impact the geography of living things from the local to global scale. We look at how everyday decisions and actions in one place can impact other environments and species thousands of miles away. We will address questions such as: What is sustainability, how will climate change affect each and every one of us, what happens when our ecosystems fail, what are the consequences of losing biodiversity, and what strategies can we use to repair the damage? It is intended to impart basic knowledge of the principles and facts, which form the foundation of living and non-living systems, and to think analytically about the future of this planet.

International Studies

I/ST 320 Migration and Modernity – Dr. Caitlin Fouratt

Human migration is as old as humanity itself; the nation-state system of borders and passports is only a few centuries old. Political movements, media reports, and changing conceptions of race, ethnicity, and citizenship testify to the ways international migration challenges one of the basic elements of the modern world: a rationalized system of nation-states, able to exercise sovereign control over identities, economies, and territories.

This course takes the perspective that migration shapes and is shaped by economics, politics, policies, identities, and cultures throughout the world. Readings, lectures, and in-class activities span a variety of disciplines and examine different types of sources, including academic books and articles in history and the social sciences, first-person migration narratives, literature, photography, and film.

The course begins by building a framework to understand migration – from why people migrate, to the importance of the nation-state and the roles of race, class, and gender in migrant experiences of reception. We then turn to immigration policies around the world to understand the impacts of policies on migrants, their families, and host and home communities. The course examines several case studies, including the US immigration system, the global refugee “crisis,” and the challenges faced by undocumented youth. Students have the opportunity to apply course concepts and ideas to a project of their choosing, creating multimedia projects that communicate their analyses to a wide audience. This course one of the core courses for the interdisciplinary Global Migration Studies minor.

A full list of Fall 2019 Global Issues courses can be found at: