University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Global and Regional Studies Program


Jonah Steinberg
Director of Global Studies
Professor of Anthropology
Williams Hall, Room 510
Tel: 656-2988

Global Studies

Global Studies is an emergent and critically-important field that engages transboundary processes, flows, and structures that no existing discipline has the tools fully to address. It is among the best-integrated transdisciplinary fields of study; we look at a very well-defined, highly-visible set of phenomena that transect culture, nation-state, and place, and that are at the forefront of current developments and news. Our subject matter is critically important and pressingly urgent to study. Employers seek the kind of knowledge Global Studies graduates bring away from college—and the world needs it.

Global Studies is also stellar—and fun—while you’re doing it. We start majors off with a hard-hitting gateway course, our Introduction to Global Studies. At the other end of your college career, we top it off with a specialized, intensive “Advanced Topics” capstone seminar, surrounding a single theme, where upper-level students share knowledge, experience, and information within their cohort on next steps: jobs, projects, graduate schools, and long-term plans. In the middle, we offer you a very wide range of multidisciplinary possibilities; Global Studies integrates study abroad programs exceptionally well. Indeed we are very active in creating and launching them.

As a field, global studies is different because it focuses on connections which cross borders and boundaries of every sort, but above all, as more and more of the world becomes denationalized and deterritorialized, of countries. We take as a foundational principle the idea that other structures besides states are players in large-scale processes and that, in the process, once-disparate regions and localities are newly connected, often in unprecedented ways. These phenomena might be economic, environmental, sociocultural, epidemiological, historical, technological, or political. In a Global Studies course we might consider Zika or Ebola or HIV-AIDS, Indian or Armenian diasporas, hip-hop in indigenous Australia or pentecostalism in New Guinea, global narcotics and arms trades, transnational fundamentalisms, the rise of the Islamic State and interventions in Syria, global climate change and its local discourses, the internet, refugees, new cultures of Hawaiian connection to Samoa and New Zealand, and countless other examples of complex global formation. At the same time, we emphasize that globalization need not be far away: it is right here, in our college town and in students’ hometowns, in their family histories, in the clothes on our bodies and the computers we use to do our readings.

In Global Studies we don’t just settle for a textbook: we ask students to conduct original, hands-on research on aspects of globalization. The course encourages students to consider applied, practical, and activist approaches to global phenomena in addition to analytic ones. Such approaches could be, for instance, medical or legal, and can be part of a discussion of global careers. We ask our students to examine their own connection to and embeddedness in processes of globalization and we look at globalization’s deep history, from imperialism and its slave trades to spice trades and the birth of industry.

Our students are amazing—they have gone on in numbers to pursue Fulbright Scholarships and top graduate programs, cutting-edge positions in business or intense humanitarian jobs. Among our graduates we have filmmakers and diplomats working on solutions for Syria. Our professors too: from political scientists specializing in the Middle East or Central Asia to anthropologists working on Yoruba religion or bicycles in Colombia, Global Studies faculty are excited about the questions they get to explore and the students they have the privilege to teach.

What fields can I go into with a Global Studies major?

Students who major in Global Studies learn to see complex connections through systemic and holistic thinking. They also master interdisicplinary research skills and a foreign language.

All of these skills are useful in these careers:

  • Foreign Service/State Department;
  • International business, including working for a domestic American corporation in their international operations, or working for a corporation abroad;
  • Entrepreneurialism;
  • International law;
  • International development and sustainable development;
  • International non-profit work or activism on environment, human rights, social justice, etc.;
  • Journalism and other communications media;
  • Education, especially teaching and administration at the high school level and above.