Global Social Studies Attempts to Think Globally and Act Locally Essay

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In the broadest sense, a Global Studies department seeks to study cultural, political, economic and social relationships in the world with special attention to cultural and political processes, the impacts of globalization and the nature of development. According to their web site, the Global Studies department at Wilfred Laurier University seeks to discuss the responsibilities privileged society has in a world stricken by war and poverty. It seeks to answer how; if possible, it is to ‘think globally’ and ‘act locally’ (Donais, n.d.). In my research I delve into the truth of these statements by exploring the question; how does the Global Studies curriculum at Wilfrid Laurier University reproduce colonial discourses?
This subject is important to investigate as our own socio-economic and academic backgrounds may influence how one teaches a Global Studies course and inadvertently reproduce colonial attitudes on knowledge. To properly understand and study the world and its relationships we must be aware of how colonial discourses are reproduced in education. I will use the post-colonial concept of ‘the other’ presented by Edmund Said and post structuralist investigations of power relations discussed by Francois Foucault in my research.
My first goal is to assess the prevalence of white privilege in the literature and theory taught within the Global Studies department. I will seek to deconstruct the cultural legacies within the curriculum and investigate the different ways the subject matter is being viewed through a cultural perspective. Secondly I wish to explore the narrative of interculturality within the curriculum. I will focus on how the ethnic other and ethnic self are created within the materials and its potential impacts on...

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...refor the colonial narrative. As the Global Studies department in their mandate seeks to discuss cultural relations, rather than differences, interculturality should be a key feature of the curriculum.
Most of the research done on post colonialism in education has been case studies of individual institutions and usually from former colonial subjects. However, few have studied either the post-secondary level or from the within privileged western society as a former colonizer. By taking the Global Studies department at Wilfrid Laurier University as a case study we can investigate the perpetuation of colonial discourses from the from within a former colonial power. Looking at different aspect of post-colonialism and post structuralism in this context, I hope to add to the existing knowledge and dialog around education involving the reproduction of colonial discourses.

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